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CABLES & CONNECTORS FEATURE Understanding cable colour coding


DESINA stands for Distributed Standardised Installation Technology and is a standardisation for components used on industrial machines, including drives, control systems and cabling. It is an idea with many benefits, but, where it relates to cable colour coding, the situation may be confusing. Andrew Fallows, managing director at Motor Technology, explains


T


he DESINA standard was created by members of the German Machine


Tool Builders’ Association (VDW), in conjunction with key automotive manufacturers and suppliers. The objectives are to reduce the variety of components, simplify design and avoid errors in assembly, but ambiguity when it comes to cable colour coding has recently led to some confusion. For example, one cable manufacturer, in an attempt to comply with DESINA, recently changed the colour of its cable for feedback on servo systems from orange to green, despite the new green cable being identical in terms of its specifications to the previous orange one. This demonstrates how misinterpretation is not uncommon with DESINA colour coding. In reality, the cable manufacturer was not entirely wrong in the first place.


According to DESINA orange cable is for servo systems, and so in this sense the manufacturer was correct to give these cables for servo an orange sheath. The thing is, DESINA also stipulates that all cable that is specifically for measuring and feedback functions should be green, so


really the cable manufacturer was, in fact, correct to make the change. DESINA stipulates the following colour


coding for cables used on industrial machinery, plants and equipment: Screened cable - Orange (RAL 2003) for servo applications; Green (RAL 6018) for measuring and feedback systems; and Violet (RAL 4001) for fieldbus and hybrid cables. Unscreened cables - Yellow, (RAL 1021) for sensors; Black (RAL 9005) for power; and Grey (RAL 7040) for 24V control. Being aware of what the colours are


meant to indicate is useful, but it should not be a substitute for being thoroughly aware of a cable’s exact specifications


and the use for which it was intended.


Motor Technology www.controlinmotion.com


/ DESIGNSOLUTIONS


DESIGN SOLUTIONS | JUNE 2017


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