When dealing with requests for custom manufactured custom assemblies, the question that often comes up is, “why should a jacketed cable be used in an assembly?” The answer to that question can be determined by looking at three key areas: environment, safety, and cosmetics.
The jacket which houses the cable is also referred to as an overall sheath or covering, serves as the first line of defense to protect the inner components of a cable. There are lots of materials that could be used as a cable jacket, such as an overall layer or covering of a cable, looms, shrinkable and non-shrinkable tubing, and wraps. For this discussion we will limit the materials to those applied through some form of extrusion process.
Another critical purpose a jacket serves is as a flame resistant. In any installation, whether the cable is installed within a wall cavity, run between floors in a wire chase, installed in a meeting area, or is used in an office/home environment, it is crucial that the jacket provide the correct level of flame suppression and safety protection required for the installation environment. A cable jacket offers additional safety by encompassing the inner components of a cable. If an assembly did not use a jacketed cable, the inner wires/pairs could easily be caught or pinched in nearby equipment causing early failure of the assembly. The jacket of the cable also protects the inner components of an assembly from fluids. These fluids could be cleaning fluids, chemicals, oils, and water, among others. Without a jacket designed to tolerate these fluids, the assembly and components attached to it would be exposed to outside effects that would cause failure, corrosion, or electrical shorts.