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“Robustness and flexibility play the main role”

Industrial-grade USB cables for digital image processing

In digital camera technology, the USB interface has emerged as one of the leading standard interfaces. Responsible for transmitting large amounts of data without interference, it must stand up to mechanical stresses and the industry's high EMC requirements under all circumstances. For a clean signal transfer, one camera manufacturer recommends its customers use industrial-grade USB cables, which in the meantime can be used up to a length of 33 ft.

“It’s so easy!”, according to the company philosophy at IDS Imaging Development Systems GmbH, Obersulm. “Our compact cameras are aimed at the key customer benefit of easy installation and simple use in practice,” adds Marketing Manager, Thomas Schmidgall. “We pay attention to ultimate quality in this respect. That starts back in the development stage and ends with accessories!” For cameras that are used in tough, industrial image processing, IDS offers its customers USB cables from igus® as accessories, which are specially developed for the high demands on data transfer. For the dynamic movements in measuring and testing or for use in robots, the industrial-grade 'chainflex® CFBUS.065' and 'CFBUS.066' are recommended. “Their robustness and signal quality impressed us from the very start,” says the Marketing Manager looking back. “From a length of 5 m upwards, we only specify the industrial-grade cables from igus® for faultless data transmission. Conventional cables do not withstand the mechanical or electrical stresses over the long term. ” “For a very long time we looked for ways of implementing a transfer length of 10 m for industrial use, in order not to have to resort to any more interference-prone components. Before we came across the chainflex® cables, we tested a number of cables from a wide variety of suppliers. They did not stand up to any of the requirements of interference-free signal transmission. The USB connection itself was not the problem, but the mechanical and electrical stresses repeatedly caused failures.

On the search for the right cable

“The trigger to now offer an industrial-grade USB cable came from the company IDS. Due to the fact that USB has established itself as a standard interface in the IT world, this form of technology is gaining in importance in automation. It places particularly high mechanical and electrical demands on the cable, however. We took on this challenge and now offer two USB cables for highly dynamic applications. ” Whereas the 'CFBUS.065' shows its strengths for signal transfer purposes up to 5 m, the 'CFBUS.066' is used up to 10 m. On the first cable, the core cross-sections of the bus elements are reduced to a minimum. That gives you an overall outer diameter that is small enough for a standard USB connector. If you want to go over 5 m, the cross-sections of the bus elements have to be increased and the design of the shield varied due to the damping properties and the differences in operating time – with the drawback that the overall diameter of the cable increases and therefore will not fit into any housing for a standard USB connector. “This is where we get the appropriate help with the IDS M8 connector” says Rainer Rössel.

USB cable in industrial sector Robust chainflex® cables transfer data up to 33 ft. The camera manufacturer recommends the igus® cables for industrial use.

The demands on the functioning transfer of the data are particularly high in visualization. “The signal quality is very good with the USB cables used. We did a variety of comparison tests beforehand; after a long search the igus® cables were the right solution; their quality impressed us,” says Thomas Schmidgall in closing.

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