Not all cable mouldings are the same. We have become used to our television or kettle being supplied with a three-pin plug moulded to the cable. It ensures that a manufacturer has produced the electrical termination, that a plug of the right specification is fitted and prevents tampering. This is a thermoset technology and serves our domestic use well.
Now what if we wanted that plug to connect under water, deliver 160 amps of power or for the electrics to control a weapons system; and this needed to work first time, every time for decades. Are we quite so comfortable?
SMI’s thermoplastic technology, on the face of it, looks very similar to a comparable thermoset approach but the science is quite different.
Thermoplastic is a material, usually a plastic polymer, which becomes softer when heated and hard when cooled. Thermoplastic materials can be cooled and heated several times without any change in their chemistry or mechanical properties. When thermoplastics are heated to their melting point, they melt to a liquid. Processes that originated with the need to join Transatlantic telephone cables across the Atlantic gave rise to high-pressure and high-pressure technologies used today.
This advanced engineering can deliver cable amalgamation, over moulding, splices and the addition of some advanced “plugs” to cable systems which eliminates leak paths and does not delaminate as a cable set moulding will. Thermoplastic mouldings provide extended lifetimes and unparalleled reliability in submerged or dirty environments.
Few have managed to master this art of polymer moulding, widely considered too difficult. SMI pride themselves in being the UK’s subject matter experts and continue to develop and improve the technology through the sponsorship of PhD studies.