No chance for interference currents:

LAPP as an EMC technology partner

In the smart factory, high electrical power and an increasing amount of data are transferred in a tight space. This increases the risk of electromagnetic interference – even one poorly screened connector can paralyse an entire production process. So it's no wonder that the industry for electromagnetically compatible solutions is on the rise – currently at seven percent per year worldwide. Optimum electromagnetic compatibility (EMC for short) requires a good understanding of the system and the selection of the right components. Users get both from LAPP.

How does EMC work?

An electromagnetic interference always originates from an interference source. This can be an item of equipment that carries a high current, such as a frequency controlled motor or a cable.

The source of interference corresponds to a disrupted piece of equipment, known as the interference sink. The interference sink can be a sensor or data network cable, for example.

The coupling mechanism in between causes the interference. This can be divided into four different types of coupling:

  1. Galvanic coupling: The interference source and interference sink are linked with one another, for example by means of a common grounding conductor. An interference current via the common grounding conductor causes electromagnetic interference.
  2. Capacitive coupling: The interference source and interference sink are close to one another, but not physically connected. With capacitive coupling, the electromagnetic interference (EMI) is produced by the electric field.
  3. Inductive coupling: With inductive coupling, the interference source and interference sink are also close to each other, but are not connected to one another. However, the interference is caused by the magnetic field.
  4. Radiation coupling: Radiation coupling generally occurs when the interference source and interference sink are far apart and the conductors ultimately act as antennae and cause the interference from electromagnetic radiation.

In practice, this is usually a mixture of these 4 coupling mechanisms, which must be eliminated, for example by using shielded cables.

Whitepaper EMC

In this whitepaper, the LAPP experts answer the most important questions on the topic of EMC:

  • How does electromagnetic interference occur and where are the neuralgic points?
  • How can you protect yourself against such interference?
  • Which wires and connectors are suitable for this?
  • What must be taken into account during installation?
  • What are the benefits of zeroCM® technology?
  • How does LAPP support its customers in optimising their EMC?
EMC check with the LAPP Health Check Service

What is the EMC directive?

In EMC Directive 2014/30/EU, Article 3, electromagnetic compatibility is defined as:

“[…] the ability of a piece of equipment to operate satisfactorily in its electromagnetic environment without causing electromagnetic interference, which would be unacceptable for other equipment in this environment.”

According to this definition, EMC has two main aspects:

  • The equipment must not cause electromagnetic interference.
  • The equipment must not be electromagnetically disrupted by its surroundings.

The PNO emc guideline

For an EMC-compliant design of your data communication we recommend the EMC directive of the PNO.
To the guideline

How to ensure good EMC

Energy-carrying cables can have different types of screening: 
  • Tin-plated copper braiding between the cores and the sheath. The degree of coverage and the angle of braiding influence the effectiveness of the barrier. Example: ÖLFLEX® SERVO 719 CY.
  • Copper wire wrapping. Especially for moving cables in robotics that need to withstand torsion. Example: ÖLFLEX® ROBOT 900 DP.
  • Aluminium-laminated plastic foil, which is wrapped around individual or all cores. Often in combination with braided screening.

These are usually screened. It is common to strand as a twisted pair, which removes field effects in the core pairs. In addition, these cables have foil screening over the cores and a braided screen on top of that. LAPP experts will advise you on the selection process. 
EPIC® EMC connectors feature 360-degree screening and vibration-proof screening connection. Cable glands from the SKINTOP® BRUSH series ensure easy assembly and maximum EMC.
LAPP connector systems have the advantage of using all the aforementioned screening connection concepts. Very often, EMC cable glands are already integrated into the connector, offer the option of connecting a protective conduit and enable the cable screening to be contacted with the working or PE contact of the connector system. Rectangular connectors have an integrated SKINTOP® MS-M BRUSH cable gland. The EPIC® ULTRA H-A3 and the EPIC® ULTRA H-B6-24 are therefore easy to assemble and designed for a wide cable clamping range in screened cables. If you need a space-saving design, for example for use in servo drives, actuators and sensors, we recommend the POWER and SIGNAL circular connectors from LAPP. These are equipped with a specially coordinated EMC cable gland for servo and data cables.
It is important to have high-quality components for industrial communication from a single source, such as patch cables and switches. LAPP offers a health check service that tests cabling in a factory or individual systems, paying particular attention to EMC.
Good earthing is fundamental for EMC, otherwise the screening will have no effect. Data cables should always be connected to the earthing at both ends.

During assembly, it is important to ensure that the shielding always covers the entire surface and is placed all around in a housing – at both ends of the cable. The Fast Connect system prevents errors during assembly and saves time.

It's even easier with ÖLFLEX® CONNECT: here, all cables are pre-assembled and have the right length, all you need to do is plug them in.

How are shielded power and control cables constructed?

There are four different shielding types for power and control cables. Three of these shielding types are particularly suited to use with EMC protection:


Tin-plated copper braiding

A common method of shielding cables is braided copper between the conductors and the jackets. With a degree of coverage of around 80 percent, the copper braiding forms an effective barrier against electromagnetic fields. These cables can be identified by the abbreviation "C" in the LAPP product designation, e.g. ÖLFLEX® Classic 110 CY  or ÖLFLEX® Servo 719 CY . Copper braiding can be done in different ways, with one of the crucial parameters being the angle of twist. In highly dynamic applications, such as the installation of the cable in a cable chain, the copper wire is routed around the conductors at a more obtuse angle, so that it creates a full 360-degree wind around the conductors over a shorter distance. In robot cables that need to withstand millions of torsions, braiding is not ideal because gaps occur over time.


Copper wire wrapping

For moving cables in robotics, where the shielding must withstand torsion, copper wire wrapping is often used. As the copper wires in a wrapping are all positioned parallel to each other, there is no problem with the cable torsion. However, the protection against electromagnetic interference from wrapped cables is often worse as the shield wires do not overlap. These cables can be identified by the abbreviation "D" in the LAPP product designation, e.g. ÖLFLEX® Robot 900 DP.


Aluminum-laminated plastic foil

Individual conductors or all conductors in the cable can be wrapped with aluminum-laminated plastic foil. The plastic foil shielding protects your cables and wires, especially at higher frequencies. Cables often also have several shielding types, e.g. the ÖLFLEX® SERVO 2XSLCH-J  with aluminum-laminated plastic foil and tin-plated copper braiding.


How are shielded data cables constructed?

Data cables have essentially the same shielding as power and control cables, but other abbreviations are common in product designations:

  • Tin-plated copper braiding: “S” (Shielded)
  • Aluminum-laminated plastic foil: “F” (Foiled)

There are also two special features for data cables in terms of their shielding rating for EMC protection:


Data transmissions are particularly susceptible to interference, which is why data cables are generally always shielded. For certain areas of application for signal transmission, there are unshielded data cables specially marked with the abbreviation "U" (unshielded), such as the Cat.6 network cableETHERLINE® LAN Cat.6 U/UTP 4x2xAWG24 LSZH , the Cat.5e Ethernet cable ETHERLINE LAN Cat.5e SF/UTP 4x2xAWG24  or our UNITRONIC® BUS ASI  cables for networking systems in the field.


Twisted pair

Another design for data cables is twisted pair cables. Individual data pairs are twisted here. The twisting ensures that field effects compensate each other. These cables can be identified by the abbreviation “TP” (Twisted Pair).
For instance, the ETHERLINE Cat 6a H 4x2xAWG22/1 SF/UTP cable is divided up as follows: ShieldedFoiled/UnshieldedTwistedPair. This network cable is shielded around all conductors with a wire braid and an aluminum-laminated plastic foil underneath (shielded/foiled). The conductor pairs are twisted in pairs and are not equipped with additional conductor pair shielding (UnshieldedTwistedPair).

Why are connectors important for EMC protection?

Every system is only as good as its weakest point. LAPP connector systems have the advantage of using all the aforementioned shielding connection concepts. Very often, EMC cable conduits are already integrated into the connector, offer the option of connecting a protective conduit and enable the cable shielding to be contacted with the working or PE contact of the connector system.

The enclosure is powder-coated with a non-conductive seal between the housing parts, which insulates them from one another. EPIC® EMC connectors offer 360-degree shielding and vibration-proof shielded connection. The EMC connectors can be identified by their metallically conductive, usually nickel-plated surface. The seals are designed to ensure that the two housing parts pressed or screwed together are in low-resistance contact with metal on metal. The same principle applies to both cable conduits and the mounting wall.

Rectangular connectors have an integrated SKINTOP® MS-M BRUSH cable conduit .   The EPIC® ULTRA H-A3  and the EPIC® ULTRA  H-B6-24  are therefore easy to assemble and designed for a wide cable clamping range in shielded cables.

If you need a space-saving design, for example for use in servo drives, actuators and sensors, we recommend the POWER and SIGNAL circular connectors from LAPP. These are equipped with a specially coordinated EMC cable conduit for servo and data cables.

Milestone for EMC: zeroCM® technology from LAPP 

The zeroCM® technology from LAPP makes a key contribution to improved EMC in machines and systems. The new and patented cable design with a low-capacitance bundle construction with an opposite protective earth achieves one hundred percent electrical symmetry and improves electromagnetic compatibility. The first product is the ÖLFLEX® SERVO zeroCM.

The zeroCM technology represents a new, innovative EMC solution.

Always EMC protected with the service from LAPP 

Electromagnetic interference cannot be seen, which is what makes it so insidious. It takes a lot of experience to detect it, ideally before it causes damage. LAPP has a comprehensive range of products to support its customers:

  • 60 years of research and development on the topic of EMC
  • A wealth of specialist experts with EMC expertise
  • A portfolio of EMC-optimised cabling and connection solutions
  • zeroCM®: a milestone for EMC-optimised cables
  • Always in compliance with all current guidelines and standards, in all industries worldwide
  • The Health Check Service identifies and eliminates sources of electromagnetic interference

How you benefit as a customer

  • Prevent faults and failures
  • Get maximum efficiency and quality in production
  • Avoid time-consuming reworking, troubleshooting and repair costs
  • You do not have to worry about adapting to new regulations and standards

The LAPP portfolio

Applikations Guide

Product selection by application
Read more

How can unshielded cables be shielded afterwards?

If an unshielded cable is not possible in the system for various reasons, or if cables only need to be electromagnetically shielded in certain sections of the system, our SILVYN ® protective cable conduits   can also be equipped with copper braids  or wrapped in the 3M Scotch 1183 shielding tape.

To ensure that these systems can be reliably grounded, it is best to rely on our one-part or two-part SHIELD-KON® connector for connecting the copper braid to a grounded housing wall or other grounded connection points.

How can EMC protection be improved?

To ensure optimum shielding, cables can be fitted with double shielding or installed in a copper or steel pipe. From an EMC perspective, these shields are completely sealed. Our helically wound SILVYN® metal protective cable conduits with copper braiding, such as the EMC AS-CU  offer you complete EMC protection and, at the same time, outstanding flexibility compared to a pipe. It is suitable for particularly harsh environments with high electromagnetic requirements. Our SILVYN® MSK-M BRUSH  conduit connector with EMC protection and integrated strain relief will round off your EMC-shielded system.

Are there pre-assembled power, control and data cables with EMC shielding?

Poor EMC is often the cause of installation errors. For a long time, it was customary in industry to buy cables and connectors separately and only connect them when installing them in a machine or production plant, for example.

There are a few disadvantages to greater flexibility: processing quality often leaves a lot to be desired. For instance if the installer cuts too deep when stripping and damages the conductor insulation or only partially connects the shielding to the housing of the connector, causing EMC problems.

This is why the trend is towards ready-assembled cables, which we at LAPP sell under the name ÖLFLEX® CONNECT. The cable and connector are already connected ex works. Customers even receive cable chains fully equipped with cables and hoses, and LAPP also takes over the engineering work. Customers are therefore guaranteed to always receive optimal quality from a single source and can also concentrate on their own work, namely building machinery.