Small Component, Big Impact

How grounding straps improve the electromagnetic compatibility of machines and systems.

Copper Earthing Strap

Grounding straps are an important part of the grounding concept to improve the electromagnetic compatibility of machinery and equipment.

Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) is becoming increasingly important across all industries and can be found in many applications from control cabinets in machine and plant engineering to industrial robots and other automated technology. There are multiple reasons: electrical machines are being built to be more and more compact, they are working in closer proximity to each other and finally, they are performing increasingly complex tasks. As a result, the amount and speed of data being transmitted via the cabling is increasing as well as the required frequencies. This produces magnetic fields that cause interference currents and voltages – so-called EMC interference. The consequences of EMC interference range from error messages to problems with data transmission, and even machine failures in some cases.

To prevent this, designers of machines and plants develop customized grounding concepts. The discharge of unwanted currents and voltages is intended to minimize magnetic fields and ensure a failure-free operation. One small, inconspicuous component is particularly important for this: the grounding strap. It consists of a copper wire braid that connects the machine and/or system parts where magnetic fields can arise to a reference potential. This allows currents and voltages to flow away easily without affecting the EMC of the installation.

A ground strap must meet the following requirements:

  • High current carrying capacity
  • Low resistance and low impedance
  • Mechanical strength
  • Flexibility
Copper Earthing Strap

Due to their shape, the flat ground straps in many cases are more suitable than round conductors. They are flexible, which makes them easy to install in tight machine housings, and are resistant to tension, torsion and vibration. Ground straps are also used in the automotive industry as well as aerospace wherein 2008, for example, the launch of an Ariane rocket was postponed by one day specifically to check the ground straps inside the space shuttle. This demonstrates just how important these small components are.

HELUKABEL offers a wide range of ground straps from stock for EMC applications. These are equipped with rounded contacts made of seamless pressed sleeves and are available in various lengths and cross sections with different stud hole diameters, making them suitable for a wide range of applications.

Read more about electromagnetic compatibility in our white paper "The Concept of Grounding/Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) in Industrial Plant Design".