- Sales began in September 2016
Welding cable using high-strength aluminum conductor
Sumitomo Electric became the first manufacturer in Japan to develop welding cables using high-strength aluminum as conductor instead of the conventional copper. This product is intended to be used in arc welding,* in which workers have to repeatedly transport arc welders and cables in factories where assemblies for large structures such as ships and bridges are produced. The need to frequently carry welding cables to different locations in the workplace is a heavy burden to workers and the reduction of cable weight is desperately needed. Aiming to contribute to the reduction of this burden on workers and the improvement of work efficiency of welding in general, Sumitomo Electric has developed this product.
What are the features of the welding cable?
By adopting high-strength aluminum as the conductor, the weight of the cable can be substantially reduced while retaining sufficiently high tensile strength to withstand rough handling of cables. Aluminum has higher electrical resistance than copper, and thus generates higher temperature if the same electric current is conducted. Therefore, the jacket (sheath) of an aluminum conductor must have more resistance to high temperature. By using its unique compound technology, Sumitomo Electric has developed a more heat-resistant sheath than conventional products, successfully creating cables of similar diameters without increasing its conductor size.
What response have you had from customers?
The first comment from most of our customers is on its lightness, compared with the conventional welding cable that uses a copper conductor. Our customers have to move around in their workplaces, carrying heavy welding cables up and down. Lighter cables are strongly desired, particularly by middle-aged and older workers who suffer back pain. Our customers appreciate the cable because it can dramatically improve their workplace environment.
Tell us about the future direction.
Welding work is needed in construction of all kinds of steel structures, not only in production of ships or bridges, but also in building reconstruction after earthquake disasters and for new construction in advance of the Tokyo Olympic Games. Machines such as drilling and shielding equipment used in tunnel construction also need welding work. As previously mentioned, welding work is essential in urban development and infrastructure development. However, most of the welding cables used in such work are still heavy because of the use of copper conductor. Sumitomo Electric would like to expand the use of this cable to improve the welding work environment.