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The development of sensor technology is inseparable from sensor cables

Release date:2021-12-28Author source:KinghelmViews:451

As smart products or devices multiply, so does the need for specialized cables to connect multiple types of sensors. Cables are critical in product applications.

The cables connecting the sensors are for electrical signal and data transmission as well as to optimize performance. Sensors detect heat, light, sound, motion, gas, liquid or other physical properties and convert this information into electrical signals that send this data to a control device or instrument via specialized sensor cables. Sensors come in many types, including temperature sensors, infrared (IR) sensors, fluid/flow control sensors, ultrasonic sensors, piezoelectric accelerometers, pressure sensors, moisture/humidity sensors, photoelectric sensors, proximity sensors, vibration and touch sensors, and more.


Senix ToughSonic 14 Ultrasonic Sensor Cable Assembly.

Like many sensors, connectors and cables in the military and aerospace markets, sensors, connectors and cables operating in harsh environments must meet stringent performance requirements and quality standards. In these markets, small, lightweight connectivity products are needed to help reduce overall system bulk and payload, and materials must be carefully selected. Market applications such as industrial, transportation, automotive and medical also place additional requirements on sensors, sensor cables and connectors.

The sensor market, with total sales of $166 billion in 2019, is expected to reach $287 billion by 2026, with a CAGR of 9.5%. Many cable suppliers are now integrating sensors and connectors, offering specialized sensor cable assemblies, optimizing products to meet each market requirement. Sensor cable applications and environments vary widely, and proper cable size becomes a key design consideration.

Safe, efficient and environmentally friendly sensor cables

Sensor cables from SAB have been developed and are available from companies such as Digi-Key, Avnet and Newark, with a focus on materials and processes. These cables are used in industrial sectors such as electronic measurement, control and automation.

SAB Besilen sensor cables are usually wrapped in silicone, which can withstand temperatures from 180°C to 250°C, because the networked molecular structure remains unchanged even at high temperatures. These cables are halogen-free, heat-resistant, flame-retardant, self-extinguishing and highly flexible. Besile sensor cables are often used with sensors in low pressure carburizing processes, steel engineering, mills, foundries, furnaces, internal wiring of lamps, glass and ceramic production equipment, etc.

SAB also offers sensor cables covered in ETFE, FEP and PFA. These materials are insulating, allowing them to withstand extremely harsh environments and temperatures (from -90°C to 260°C). ETFE, FEP and PFA insulated cables are resistant to various chemical influences while maintaining high mechanical resistance, and are widely used in chemical production, furnace construction and telecommunication infrastructure.


SAB SABIX halogen-free cables are ideal for public buildings, rail vehicles, and other applications.


Belden sensor cables are highly flexible and durable in harsh environments.

Belden sensor cables are analog signal cables that connect automated sensor systems to equipment in industrial environments. These cables are used in food and beverage production, machine building, automotive, material handling, industrial robotics, automation and instrumentation. Belden has over 110 years of wiring experience with high levels of wire roundness, consistency, overcoat thickness and continues to increase its range of special sensor connection cables.

Minnesota Conductive Cable 40% stretch also maintains optimum electrical performance. iSTRETCH unshielded cables feature 26 gauge wire with six conductors and a polyurethane jacket. These cables can be used in medical, sports, military, defense, and aerospace applications, including vests that monitor body function, such as soldier-worn products.

Sensor cables for electric, hybrid and autonomous vehicles

Both automotive and non-automotive modes of transportation, such as motorcycles and e-bikes, rely on sensor technology to expand e-mobility features and capabilities, including advanced driver assistance and autonomous driving features, electrification, and V2V and V2X communications. All require a large number of sensors, including radar, laser, oxygen, proximity, pressure, ultrasonic, rain, temperature, current and speed sensor lights, to meet the functions of vehicle operation, fueling, parking, driving and other applications.

Amphenol offers signal splitters with six terminal inputs with many more combinations. Tru-Loc dispensers help reduce the number of connectors required in an application and are suitable for automotive and industrial sensor applications.


TE offers custom sensor cable designs for oily, high temperature vehicle environments. There are also a variety of options, including operating temperature, outer diameter, conductors, screen mesh, and overcoat materials.

Molex's HSAutoGig automotive Ethernet cable solution (pictured below) supports high-speed transmission, sensors, cameras, gateways, switches, and more in autonomous vehicles. Omnidirectional 360° shielding protects data from external noise, EMI/EMC or signal degradation.


Axon Cable offers high impedance cables (below) designed to withstand bending, twisting, abrasion, etc. in the automotive environment. These connectors and sensor cables feature special insulating materials that are chemically inert and resistant to engine fuel and high temperature effects. Axon's cables are also able to manufacture thermocouple cables for Rogowski sensors, integrate sensors with connectors, or produce sensor cables for mechanical systems.




Sensors enable medical devices to detect physical, chemical, and biological properties, among others, and provide a method for measuring and recording these properties. It can also be used to measure pressure, fluid levels, temperature, pulse, heart rate and other vital signs, as well as to detect and transmit information from X-rays, ultrasound and endoscopic images, etc. These types of sensors all rely on tiny cables that can be installed in small micro and portable devices.

Fujikura imaging sensor cables (shown here), which are only 0.9 mm in diameter when the cable is in place, integrate CMOS image sensors, which allows them to be used in many reusable and disposable medical devices such as endoscopes.

cables for agriculture

Leoni sensor cables enable real-time remote monitoring to ensure crop health. To meet this particular requirement, Leoni has developed a flexible, miniature, lightweight, shielded sensor cable with a diameter of 1.4mm, which is resistant to fertilizers and UV rays, and can withstand temperature fluctuations and moisture ingress.


Avnet's Newark supplies Banner Engineering with the MQDC1-506 sensor cable (top right). These cables are designed for use with mini-beam professional sensors and have a chrome-plated brass coupling nut that enables quick connection, disconnection or replacement of the sensor and safety device. It also supports DC-powered devices, and the waterproof level reaches IP67.


Phoenix offers passive field wiring solutions with M5 to M12 connectors (above) for use in harsh environments such as industry, food and beverage processing, construction, rail infrastructure, robotics, and outdoor equipment. Phoenix's M12 cables are used for signal, data, and power transmission and feature a variety of cable termination methods, including insulation displacement, crimp, screw, and push-in connections.


M12D Coded Cable Assemblies from Siemon Interconnect Solutions

Siemon Interconnect Solutions' M12D-coded cable assemblies for Industrial Ethernet and PROFINET networks provide compact, robust connections in harsh environment applications. Used in industrial automation equipment, switches, sensors and control systems, etc. The high-strength 26AWG cable consists of a specially designed polyurethane (PU R) cable jacket, all-round shielding and overmolded connectors. With IP67 waterproof rating and other protection, including EMI, chemicals, UV radiation, shock, vibration and other mechanical stress.

Renewable Energy Cable Solutions

Wind power continues to grow as global concerns about climate change grow. Wind power that converts kinetic energy into safe, efficient, reliable and renewable green energy uses many sensors. For example, Mouser Electronics offers eddy-current sensors (also known as Foucault currents) to detect changes in current. Displacement sensors that monitor structural integrity, accelerometers that measure changes in velocity, velocity, and vibration, ultrasonic wind sensors that use sound waves to measure distances to objects, and temperature sensors that use thin-film resistors as sensing elements to detect, among others. While the wind turbines are quite large, with rotors 79 meters long and towers 183 meters high, small sensors play a key role in these installations, which face constant stress, vibration, temperature fluctuations and other environmental challenges. The use of sensors and cables in renewable energy is increasingly critical.

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