FFC Coils

Big Cable in a Small Package

As its name implies, flat flex cable’s pliability enables data, video and power to be routed as design needs dictate. Its low profile conserves space and its durable construction enables cable movement, including repeated movement, as is the case with the cable attached to a laser printer head as it slides back and forth across the carriage. In this case, the cable bends and extends and the head slides and there is space for the excess cable to recoil (cable slop).

But what happens when such movement of longer cables is the design requirement or there is little room for the cable slop? Even when space isn’t at a premium, cable slop at longer cables lengths can present its own problems. As electronics and robotics get smaller and lighter weight, we’re getting more calls for cable movement and flexibility in tighter spaces.

This was the challenge presented by a major copier manufacturer. A unique solution was to create an FFC Coil, a clock spring-like device enabling both ends of a cable to be extended and retracted much like a tape measure. Retraction is automatic once tension is released. FFC Coil’s compact design allows for unusually tight designs. It can be provided with termination, bare conductors, connectors, gold fingers, and optional black color.

So it conserves space where room for cable slop doesn’t exist and eliminates problems associated with long cable slop. It both simplifies and adds flexibility to designs, from copy machines and scanners to medical dispensing drawers, robotics and electronics in mechanical items, like sliding glass windows with electronic tinting. Customers look for resources to help solve their most challenging design issues, and create products offering new design options.


Phil Heft – FFC Specialist, pheft@hotmail.com

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