Transferring Technology – Avionics Grade Wire and Cable

Doing more with less is the catchword of wires and cables that are one of the most important component in the electrical electronic components market. While many of us will argue that it is the wireless connection that is truly in vogue, but the fact remains that wires and cables have managed to remain indispensable to the efficient functioning of many electronic products - connecting them to a power source, a network or other devices. Of recent their potential have been further acknowledged in the aviation industry. The bandwidth capability of these wires and cables are best suited for airlines and corporate operators to load their in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems with more movies, more music, more games and more connectivity. Their advantages include smaller gauge wires and cables, better capacity and less weight. When used with different materials like Teflon types, the weight can be reduced further.

With the focus industry being shifted from consumer electronics to aviation, the applications of these electrical components expands to putting multiple types of input down the same cable. The challenge however, lies in matching that with speed, increased memory capacity and the desire to have a smaller pipe with lower weight and greater capacity.

The manufacturers and suppliers of these electrical wires and cables industry are of the opinion that desire to push more and more data down the pipeline will eventually lead to more widespread use of fiber optic cable instead of copper. The big companies like Time Warner are leading the way in the transition from coax to fiber, and many customers in places like New York are seeing fiber come right to their houses. However, to reach the aviation industry, such advancements will take some significant time.

The desire to reduce weight is the most important concern that has gripped the wire and cable industry. With companies like Emteq recently introducing new, lighter weight coaxial cables that save weight compared to conventional RG and Mil-C-17 cables, the competition is getting tougher. Another challenge for the wire and cable of electrical industry, is the realignment in OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) priorities that has led to a shift away from designing for functionality to designing for expediency. The aviation industry is taking great care to avoid the cluster of wires and cables that keeps sneaking out of the electronic flight bags.

The growing acceptance of these electronic flight bags have created a new market for the wire and cable industry where these EFB's are installed into a fixed mount. The coiled cord aids in the maintenance of the integrity of the wire within. The wire and cable companies can enjoy the benefit of this service by getting involved in standards-setting organizations like ARINC, which can assist them in taking account of things like cable installation and survivability when new standards for avionics are being promulgated.

The main challenge for the wire and cable industry is to get into the front end of the design and to use the knowledge that can prevent problems from occurring in the first place. However, the avionics engineers are sure to overcome these technical issues with time and precision.


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