Tag Archives: Braided Cables

Cable solutions revive the ailing TV

New cable solutions are breathing new life into the ‘first screen’ of home entertainment, according to industry analyst Nielsen. For decades, the television wasn’t just the ‘first screen’ – it was the only screen households saw on a daily basis.

Since the 1980s, home computers have introduced a second screen to the home entertainment mix, while mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones are now adding a third screen to the line-up. And while many critics have claimed this sounds the death knell for television as the dominant format, Nielsen disagrees – and cable solutions are the answer to the problem. This is thanks to Internet Protocol Television, or IPTV, which allows on-demand content to be streamed directly to a TV set via a broadband internet connection.

Pat McDonough, Nielsen’s senior vice-president of insights, analysis and policy, says: “IPTV has grown dramatically over the course of the last year. “People talk about ‘the TV is dead’, or that it’s dying, but it doesn’t look like it yet.” As technologies such as IPTV emerge, UK cable manufacturers will be on hand to produce the custom cable solutions required to enable connectivity, and to ensure home entertainment is able to develop throughout the 21st century.

Cable shielding can cut out interference

We all know cable shielding is important to ensure a good quality of signal reaches its destination, but it’s worth taking a fresh look at some of the potential sources of interference in a common home entertainment set-up. F

or instance, if you’ve ever held an unshielded speaker close to a CRT computer monitor, you’ll know how strong the magnetic field that they produce can be (and it’s not recommended to expose your monitor to that kind of abuse…!).

But when a magnetic field and an electrical cable intersect, you get an induced current – and this is where interference can come from. Likewise, an electrical current passing along a cable can create a magnetic field of its own, which can in turn cause interference in neighbouring wires.

Cable shielding thus protects the carried signals not only against any nearby physical magnets, but also against electromagnetic induction from power cables, data connections, and even the mains loop inside any nearby walls – not to mention wireless signals that might cause interference too. If you can’t predict the exact circumstances in which your cable will be used, it’s wise to invest in some shielding, to compensate for all of these environmental effects once it’s connected and transferring power or data.

Braided cables may help keep green data centres connected

Braided Cables


As the green data centre market grows, and new technologies like virtualisation continue to achieve greater uptake, custom braided cables may offer one way to support the need for more and more inter-connection between servers.

Virtualisation is a means of spreading a single application across several servers, effectively pooling the processing power of them all into a single, more powerful virtual machine. However, it requires fast and reliable connections to be in place between the servers, so that the different parts of the virtualised application can communicate with one another at the desired speed.

This is where custom braided cables can help, offering a robust and reliable direct cable connection between different pieces of hardware, and ensuring that bandwidth does not become the limiting factor in virtualised server environments.

According to Pike Research, virtualisation is just one of a number of green data centre trends driving the market for eco-conscious installations onwards. By 2016, the worldwide market for green data centres will be worth an estimated $45 billion (£28 billion), a compound annual growth rate of 28% between now and then.

With virtualisation named alongside cloud computing as the two “powerful trends” in IT at the moment, choosing the right cable solutions could become more important than ever over the course of the coming years.

How Custom Cables Power Commercial Aircraft

Commercial aviation is one of the great wonders of modern society, with thousands of us jetting off to far-flung corners of the globe every year. It’s a luxury that many of us take for granted and many people don’t really care how an aircraft works, so long as it gets them to their chosen holiday destination on time and in one piece!

This ignorance surrounding the workings of the average commercial aircraft betrays what is truly masterful engineering. cable-designIt is widely accepted that the development of the internal combustion engine accelerated the progress of commercial aircraft, along with the pioneering work of various engineers across the course of the 20th century.

One aspect of aircraft design that doesn’t get as much credit, yet is just as important as the engine itself – especially on modern aircraft – are custom cables. The modern commercial aeroplane is far more than just a bus with wings; it relies on stable data and communication connections with the world below, as well as featuring in-flight entertainment and lighting. It’s essentially a computer in the sky.

Why Custom Cables?

The highly varied functions and unique operating conditions of an aircraft make producing the cables to keep a plane working as it should a challenge. Reliability is one of the key aspects of aviation cable design, with a reliable connection between air traffic control and planes in the sky essential. Reliable custom cable design is also required to keep the cockpit ticking over.

Data cables are also required to provide in flight entertainment for passengers, as well for connections to the fuselage for cargo monitoring systems. Stable power connections for in-flight lighting and electronics are also imperative. With so many functions to cover, it’s easy to see how the amount of cables fitted in an aircraft could pile up. Unfortunately, the space afforded to cables in aircraft design is minimal, meaning all of the functions of the various cables need to be optimised into a small space. In addition to this, cables fitted on an aircraft need to be able to stand up to high operating temperatures and have fire resistant qualities in order to ensure passenger and crew safety.

The Solution

So how do cables manufacturers go about addressing all of these issues? Multicore cables are widely used on commercial aircraft as they can combine multiple coaxial cables into a single sheathed cable, saving on space without compromising on quality. Retractable cables offer a flexible and powerful data transmission solution for in-flight entertainment systems. In the past, Custom Designed Cables have worked with a local aircraft servicing company to provide retractable telephone cables for a major commercial airline. We have also provided cables for the refurbishment of in-flight systems.

Cable shielding is vital in aircraft cable design, providing protection against any potential interference and delivering the reliability and stability all aircraft manufacturers require. Cable shielding also negates potential environmental hazards, further solidifying the operational reliability of the cable as well as making the cable safe for use.

Of course, the very nature of custom cables means that no two aircraft designs will use exactly the same method of cabling. That’s why we work alongside aircraft servicing companies and airlines to design cables according to their exact specifications to ensure that all of our clients get the most out of their cabling solution.

For more information on aviation custom cables, get in touch with CDC Ltd on 01204 658 784 or via the Contact Us page.

Military Cables: Keeping the Army Connected

The British Army has troops deployed all over the world, from well-reported warzones such as Afghanistan to lesser-known locales in Africa. With so many troops deployed in so many locales, communication is as essential to the successful operation of the nation’s military as weaponry and transport. However, maintaining reliable and strong communication and data connections in areas with conditions as diverse (and adverse) as Afghanistan, Kenya and Canada is an extremely difficult task. Not too difficult, however, for the military’s secret crack squad of cable designers – including CDC!


Over the years, we’ve provided cables for a multitude of military purposes, all of which have required intensive research and some innovative thinking to bring to fruition. Here are some of the ways custom cables are keeping the military connected.

Communication between Bases and HQ

When deployed to nations as vast as Afghanistan, the military will set up numerous bases, some of which will be based in locations where you’ll be more likely to find a camel than a reliable phone signal.  However, reliable and clear communication between bases – and military HQ – is required for co-ordinating operations and relaying vital information.

This is where custom cables come in. Building cables incorporating data, power and cable shielding to withstand the rigours of a combat environment, cable designers ensure that the military have reliable connections across the world, regardless of the environment in which they are operating.

Communication between Troops

Of course, it isn’t just bases that need to communicate; ground troops need to be able to communicate with their superiors back at their base as well as each other when deployed in the field.

Headphone microphones are the principal method of doing this and custom cables play a big part in their design. Cables used in headphone mics need to be durable as well as providing crystal clear communication. Some mics make use of acoustic limiting devices, with the variable levels built into a down cable, in order to make sure that speech quality is as clear as possible while also offering protection from high signal levels for the user.

Reducing interference is also a crucial part of the design process; we have used the star quad formation in the past to minimise any potential interference hampering clear communication. Practical considerations also have to be made, such as the weight and durability of the cable.

Vehicle Interfaces and Data Transmission

Reconnaissance plays a big part in military operations and data recovered from reconnaissance missions needs to be transmitted in a secure and reliable manner.

Custom cables designed specifically to reduce interference and combine data, power and other aspects into as little cabling as possible – such as multicore cables and screened cables – are frequently used in military vehicles. These cables need to be able to stand up a vast range of operation conditions so durability is another key aspect to consider during the design process. For more information on military cables, get in touch with CDC via our contact us page or by calling 01204 658 784.

What Is Steel Wire Armoured Cable?

There are so many different kinds of custom cable that it can be hard to differentiate between them; while some are named after their particular purpose (subsea cables, for instance), others have quite generic names that give no real clue to their application. One such example are steel wire armoured cables, or SWA cables for short.

SWA cables are multicore cables with a layer of steel wire armour, which provides protection from mechanical damage. SWA cables are used as power cables and are usually employed in applications where the cable has to be buried underground and in power networks. Quite simple really!

How are SWA cables made?

The construction of SWA cables is quite simple too. Here are the main components of an SWA cable:

  • Conductor: this is usually plain stranded copper. Multiple cores are used.

  • Insulation: insulation is used to protect the conductors from any water damage – a particular issue if the cable is buried underground. It also provides a barrier between the conductors and other metal components, such as the armour.

  • Bedding: PVC bedding acts as a buffer between the inner ‘live’ parts of the cable and the outer components.

  • Steel Wire Armour: the armour itself is placed over the bedding, providing the cable protection from stress. Sometimes, the armour can be used as the ‘earth’ cable.

  • Cable sheathing: a sheath is used to protect the inner components of the cable and provides further protection from mechanical damage and stress.

Where Are SWA Cables Used?

Armoured cable can be used for a vast array of applications, but is commonly associated with ‘underground’ applications, such as sewers and underground transport networks. When deployed in public places, the cable also has to feature LSLH (low smoke, low halogen) sheathing. This sheathing emits low smoke and halogen in case of a fire, making it a far safer alternative to standard cable sheathing.

You’ll only find steel wiring used in multicore cables. This is because steel is magnetic; when a current passes through a single core, a magnetic field would be produced. This would lead to a current also passing through the steel wire, which could in turn lead to overheating and potentially fire. As this is the case, aluminium is generally preferred in single core cables. For more information on steel wire armoured cables, get in touch with Custom Designed Cables.