What is a Shielded Cable?

Shielded Cable

With so many cable options unavailable, you may be wondering, “What is a shielded cable?” Shielded cables are electrical cables with insulating conductors that are surrounded by a conductive layer. Usually, the shield is covered with a jacket, while the shield itself can be made of braided copper strands, conducting polymer, or a spiraled and non-braided copper tape. Learn more about the importance of shielded cables and their functions below with Gateway Cable Company

Why Shielded Cables?

Shielded cables are incredibly valuable and offer a wide range of benefits. For one, they’re much thicker and more stoic than unshielded cables, which is why they’re favored in industrial applications. One of the reasons it’s best to use shielded cables in industrial environments is because they offer more protection against electromagnetic interference (EMI), which can be caused by other types of equipment in the facility. 

How to Use Shielded Cables

First, let’s talk more about EMI. It’s generated by an outside source and can disrupt an electrical circuit via electromagnetic induction, conduction, or an electrostatic coupling. Needless to say, EMI can cause a circuit to fail altogether. In an industrial setting where data is being shared, shielded cables help protect those data paths. EMI can lead to errors or data loss, however, the shielding on a shielded cable reduces the impact of electrical noise and helps protect signals and data transmission. 

Shielded cables are ideal for the following applications: 

  • Industrial environments 
  • Data centers 
  • Office settings 
  • Substations 
  • And more! 

What are the Most Common Types of Shielded Cables? 

The most commonly used types of shielded cables are foil (tape) and braided. Foil shielding utilizes a thin layer of copper or aluminum and is typically adhered to a polyester carrier to give the cable more durability. This type of cable is especially useful in situations where EMI is a concern; this cable protects the conductor wire completely and prevents EMI penetration. The foil makes the cable difficult to work with, however. 

Braided shielded cables are comprised of a copper wire mesh. These shields don’t provide as much coverage as foil shields, but are tougher. Braided shielded cables provide anywhere from 70% to 95% EMI protection. While they’re not as effective at reducing EMI as foil cables, they’re much more durable and are less likely to be damaged. This is why they tend to be more expensive than foil cables as well. 

Find Shielded Cables at Gateway Cable Company!

Gateway Cable Company offers a wide selection of heavy-duty, military-grade cable assemblies for application that require nothing less than the best. From shielded cables to twisted pair cables to slave cables, chances are we have what you need. If you have questions about our products, contact us today! Are you interested in a particular cable assembly? Request a quote online!