The History of Ribbon Cables
The Early Years
The Ribbon Cable was first discovered in 1956 by Cicoil Corporation. Its original design was to be flat to fit into computers. They were to replace the large and inflexible cables. Engineers were able to figure out a way to use liquid silicone rubber to mold a very thin flat cable. They also contain multiple conductors of the same size, controlling the spacing of each internal copper wire. The Flat Cable allowed companies like IBM, Sperry/Univac, Honeywell, GE and NCR to replace bulky, stiff round cables with sleek, flexible ribbon cables.
In addition, in the 1960’s NASA was in need of a mission-critical, lightweight cable. Cicoil’s Cables met all of the rigorous requirements for a Space Flight Cable. As a result, the cable harness helped America put a man on the Moon. As a result, the lightweight Ribbon cables were integral to the first American Orbit of the Earth, first Space Walk in 1965, and the Lunar Landing in 1969. In addition in 1998, a new extrusion process allowed manufacturers to continuously produce lengths of flat cable.
Today, Ribbon Cable comes in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. They are also in a huge range of applications. From high-speed computer connections with coaxial cable to rainbow cable. Many different methods and materials go into simplifying and reduce the cost of these cables. The standardizing of the design and spacing of the wires and the thickness of the insulation. They could also be easily terminated through the use of insulation displacement connectors. Finally, the simplicity of the cables, their low profile, and low cost due to standardization allows ribbon cables to be in computers, printers, and many electronic devices.
For more information on where to find these colorful cables and their uses, Check out next weeks blog!
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