■Interview with engineer in charge
What are the difficulties in manufacturing the Thunderbolt Cables?
Today, 10 Gbps high-speed data transmission systems are widely used in data centers and other technical buildings for business purposes. However, their drawback is that the cables are thick and stiff. The cables for connecting household PC equipment should be soft/flexible and easy to use. To meet these requirements, we optimized the structure of the conductors and their arrangement in the cable. When developing the optical Thunderbolt cable that enables long-distance data transmission, we made efforts to realize a cable that will not break even when pinched, tangled or knotted, and therefore the user can handle it without particular concern that it is an optical cable.
What features of the Thunderbolt cables are well regarded by customers?
Regarding the metal Thunderbolt cable, the customers appreciate the rich lineup of 0.5 m to 3.0 m long cables because they can select a cable of optimal length for a specific usage environment. For the optical Thunderbolt cable, Sumitomo Electric received the world’s first certification from Intel Corporation. In the field of audiovisual production/editing where noise from PC, HDD, and other devices must be kept to a minimum, users highly evaluate the performance of this cable when connecting remote editing rooms and computer server rooms.
What is a new product you have recently developed?
We have developed a thinner metal Thunderbolt Cable that is easier to handle than the conventional cable. It is commonly believed that reducing cable size will deform the waveform of high-speed signals, hence the data transmission performance of the cable deteriorates. However, we could develop a thinner cable having the same performance as the conventional metal Thunderbolt cable by effectively employing our unique electric wire technology and a newly developed connector internal circuit. This new cable will go on the market in the near future.