How many cycles can a custom coil cord handle? How long will it last?
When designing a custom coil cord, we get asked questions like this all the time. Of course it depends on the coil cord and the operating environment, but we can assure you the answer is between one and a few million.
All kidding aside, we’ve put together a short guide to let you know where in that range your coil cord might fall.
Single-Cycle Custom Coil Cords
Let’s take the low end of the range first. You would think a coil cord that could only handle one cycle would be useless, but there is actually a good case for creating a single-cycle product. Let’s say you have a piece of equipment that comes in different sizes or configurations. The same power/control system is used on each unit, but the cables needed to connect everything need to vary by length. If you don’t want to wire everything yourself you need to buy a cable assembly for each different configuration, or you can buy one coil cord that can stretch to fit all the configurations. Now this coil cord doesn’t need to retract so it can be made with entirely different materials, which helps keep costs down without sacrificing electrical performance.
The high side of the range is over a million cycles. At Meridian, we have several different machines we use to test the cycling capability of the custom coil cords we design and manufacture. We have tested several different designs to over one million cycles, with the highest being 1,087,213 cycles. Interestingly enough, when we recorded that number, the test was stopped not because the coil cord failed, but because we had to test other coil cords and couldn’t leave it on the machine any longer.
Designing the Right Custom Coil Cord
What makes a custom coil cord last a long time? Design, fabrication, and environment. The higher the cycle count requirement, the more the design must differ— especially when it comes to materials. For low-cycle coil cords, the stranding diameter can be larger and the plastics can have a lower elasticity, which generally means a lower cost product. For high-cycle coil cords, the stranding needs to be very small and the plastics highly elastic. Also, the fabrication becomes very important. Not only is the custom coil cord extending and retracting, but all the components are twisting and untwisting. When cable is extruded, everything from the individual strands to the conductor bundle is twisted. How all this twisting is done has a big impact on how the coil cord performs.
Put simply, the team at Meridian Cable can design a custom coil cord that is capable of cycling as many times as you need it to. By clearly defining the needs of your equipment and environment and performing appropriate testing, we can make sure the finished product is designed to be durable. Contact us when you are ready to discuss your next custom coil cord project.