Motion System Design

Silicone cables join the fight

When it comes to targeting pods, fuel control systems, and missile and gimbal guidance systems, Cicoil Corp., Valencia, Calif., a manufacturer of high performance silicone cable assemblies, knows its stuff. That's why Cicoil's silicone cables are regularly specified for use on fighter and other military aircraft. Most recently, the company's flexible flat cables were used in subsystems on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

According to Cicoil president Howard Lind, “Fighter aircraft have always created some of the most demanding environments for electrical circuitry, characterized by high vibration, shocks, and extreme temperatures.

“Each new generation of aircraft only increases the demands. Cicoil silicone cables address these issues with the industry's highest flexibility, the ability to be shaped to fit very tight spaces, low weight, and a very broad temperature range extending from -65° to 260° F. In addition, the extrusion process used to manufacture Cicoil cables produces a one-piece silicone encapsulation that will not delaminate or degrade due to vibration or exposure to oils or chemicals.”

The custom shaping alluded to by Lind allows for very precise cable routing without folding, kinking, or pinching. Custom shapes also contribute to the elimination of signal failures due to physical stress at the cable connector — critical for compact avionics and other modular electrical systems. Cicoil flat silicone cables are available with wire gauges from 4 to 44 AWG, in virtually any configuration required. The company's quality system is ISO 9001 certified, including the extremely strict AS 9100 Aerospace standard. Every cable is rigorously tested before leaving the factory, including 100% testing for electrical performance.

Cicoil's extrusion process allows multiple wires to be placed in a flat cable, precisely controlling the wire spacing, insulation thickness, and overall cable shape. Cables are available in continuous lengths, or as assemblies complete with connectors.

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