flat-cablesAs it well known that a cable is a set of wires, or wires assembly that is used to transmit electricity and telecommunication signals. Flat cables are also a type of cables that are evolved version of ribbon cables, these cables are flat in shape to provide better connectivity with reduction of physical volume of cables. In 1956 the ribbon cables flat design was engineered to replace large awkward and inflexible round cables in computer systems. Firstly they were used in simple machines like punching machines but later in 1960 NASA utilize the ribbon cables in aerospace applications like lunar landing. Ribbon cables are classified by the number of conductors called “ways” and the spacing between them known as “pitch” whereas the most common pitch is 0.050 inches. Flat cables are designed to provide substitution for round cables to make an effortless cable management.                  

Flat cables manifest more versatility, it has three types;

  • Extruded Flexx-Sil
  • Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)
  • Molded flat cables

Extruded Flexx-Sil:

Flat cables possesses a jacketing of exclusive material, that are preferably suited to high flex, high performance cable applications are customarily known as “extruded flex-sil”.  It serves following objectives:

  • High temperature operability from -65 to +260 oCflat-cables-02
  • Higher class of flexibility because of silicon, even more than PTFE insulation
  • Very low outgassing, as molecular bond is very strong

It is water resistant as well as chemical resistant to some extent 


Another type of flat cable is the one that uses polytetrafluoroethylene as jacketing material. It’s like conductors are sandwiched in between two half shells of sintered PTFE.  They exhibit following properties;

  • Low friction
  • Can be utilize over elongated period rather to be used for repeated flex cycles
  • Once broken, cannot be repaired, the PTFE  has to be replaced otherwise

Molded Flat Cables:

These are the third type of flat cables, designed by a different way, i.e. stretching two wires between pins in a mold and then pour some liquid silicon or polyurethane. These pours are done, to obtain the required thickness for this particular type.  It also offers following benefits;

  • High flexibilityflat-cables-03
  • Occupy less area i.e. thin
  • Compact design
  • Potential to meet electrical and environmental requirements         

By referring to its versatility, these cables offers several advantages as well;

  • Reliability
  • Weight reduction
  • Flexibility
  • Substantial strength
  • Potential current carrying ability
  • Ease of handling etc.

In short, if we say that flat cables are more versatile as per ribbon cables, there is nothing erroneous in it.

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