Jacket cracking, swelling and abrasion can compromise the electrical and mechanical performance of cables inside machines, so it’s important to understand why these failures happen and how you can prevent them. This article explains why each of those types of failures occur and offers a solution that’s guaranteed to last 36 months or 10 million cycles.

Jacket cracking

One of two things can cause jacket cracking: an improper bend radius or temperature range. If your cable’s bend radius is too low for its cable carrier, mechanical forces acting on its jacket material can force the outer jacket to break apart. The same issue can occur if your cables are operating in temperatures they can’t withstand.

Jacket swelling

Jacket swelling happens when your cables are exposed to different types of media like oils and chemicals they’re not resistant to. The cable’s outer jacket material absorbs that media and swells, which can then lead to other issues like jacket cracking.

Jacket abrasion

A cable’s outer jacket material can abrade against a cable carrier if the material is too soft or not suitable for use inside moving applications. The cable carrier can wear into your cable’s conductors, which can cause loss of continuity, and can also break the shielding, resulting in increased electromagnetic interference (EMI).

Find the right outer jacket material

igus® offers seven different types of outer jacket materials for its chainflex® cables to prevent jacket cracking and swelling. The outer jackets range from cost-effective PVC materials to high-mechanical quality TPE materials and are resistant to different types of media and temperatures based on your application requirements. All chainflex® cables are also rigorously tested inside cable carriers every year to avoid jacket abrasion. Below, you can find a list of our cable design features that help prevent cable failure and guarantee your cables for 36 months or 10 million cycles.

chainflex® cable design features:

  • Strain-relieving center element
  • Optimized conductor design
  • Optimized insulation material
  • Special bundle design
  • Gusset-filled extrusion
  • Shielding with optimized braid angle
  • Abrasion-resistant jacket materials
  • Torsionally-optimized insulation materials and mechanical damping elements
  • Shield structure optimized for torsion


  • Prevents conductor breakdown and short circuit
  • No corkscrewing
  • Minimized wear
  • For tough environments
  • Highest EMC protection
  • For torsional movements (on robots, for example)
  • Reliable data transmission CAT5, CAT5e, CAT6, CAT6A, CAT7.