Marine Cables: Growth in Value and Purpose

Cables in different colours

Cables in different coloursMarine cabling is an essential part of any marine-based engineering or telecommunication project. Most boats and ships rely on marine cables to carry current needed in building structures and connecting machines between and among boats and marine infrastructures. The telecommunications industry also depends highly on undersea cables to connect telecom or Internet facilities. Connecting ships, machines, and the world is what a marine cable is made for. Given the profound need to communicate using current telecommunication technologies and transport electricity on an industrial scale, such cables will only grow in value and purpose.

Value: Increasing Global Demand

Growth in the use of marine cables is two-pronged. The marine engineering industry needs cables to transfer electric current, while the telecommunications industry needs cables to power the Internet. The massive use of electrical cables in marine construction is obvious as ocean structures, from oil rigs to research stations, must be powered to achieve production and scientific objectives. The demand for marine cables in these sectors is only natural. But what made such cables more valuable is their growing use in the telecommunications industry.

With the advent of the Internet, cables need to be joined from coast to coast, from Malaysia to South Africa or Australia to the United States. The need for high capacity pipes to transport data from one corner of the world to another is purely a business objective. Yes, people need to be wired so as to communicate in real time, but this is a platform to globally reach consumers and market goods and services in the most efficient way.

Purpose: Material Physics and Durability

Electronic wire stationMarine cables come in many forms depending on use, such as electricity and telecommunications. But whatever their purpose, they are made to withstand the environment that they are deployed into: the sea. The marine environment is rife with multiple factors that lead to destruction or breakage of many undersea materials and structures. Cables can break due to a passing ship. They may also be destroyed by marine creatures such as sharks. Causing the most damage are geological processes such as undersea earthquakes.

The uncertainties in the seas led to better cables that are not only resistant to indirect external factors but also to the direct impact of water on cabling systems. The material physics of undersea cables must be perfected. Now, marine cables are made of tinned copper, which is perfect for corrosion resistance. Bare copper easily corrodes via oxidation. By tinning copper, oxidation is significantly lessened. Marine cables are larger than most cables in order to transport current better. Cables now are typically covered with insulating PVC jackets, which are durable and flexible.

Even with the arrival of modern batteries and wireless communication, cables persist. They are so useful, especially marine cables, that there seems to be no other way to connect any two objects or structures in the most logical way. Marine cables, as other cables used terrestrially, will remain valuable and purposeful the more businesses and people find ways to communicate.