Andreas Muckes | 23. March 2020
In addition to the shield, a cable is wrapped in an outer jacket, which serves to protect the cable’s interior. The various jacket materials provide protection from influences such as mechanical load, temperature and chemical substances.
What different jacket materials are there?
Cables are not all equal in all their components. So the cable industry offers various jacket materials that are produced from various material mixtures. These outer jackets have very different properties, depending on the material chosen. The right jacket material can be selected individually for various applications and external conditions.
PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is a very versatile thermoplastic material. Because of its chemical structure and low flammability, it is often used on production and assembly lines. But it is also used frequently in packaging and lighting equipment. PVC cables are popular for their high strength and good insulation properties. The material is resistant to constant moisture and salt water. If there is a fire, however, a PVC cable has ingredients such as chlorine (a halogen) that will be released and can pose a hazard to personnel because they react to water.
Polyvinyl chloride is also known as the material with the best price/performance ratio In the low voltage range (up to 1,000V). igus offers PVC cables made of non-oil resistant and oil-resistant compounds.
PUR, or polyurethane, is a halogen-free, self-extinguishing thermoplastic elastomer. This jacket material has become increasingly important for cables in recent years. Up to a certain temperature, PUR is very much like rubber, and this property unfortunately leads to greater abrasion in the chain than the other two materials do. PUR’s advantages are notch strength and cold flexibility. In addition, its chemical compatibility is better than that of other materials. For instance, PUR cables are oil-resistant and coolant-resistant. Because of their composition, they do not contain toxic halogens which could leak during a fire. PUR is a popular material for cables used in machine tools, plant construction, cement plants, the paint industry and the automotive industry. That is why igus has a wide range of products that use this material.
TPE stands for thermoplastic elastomers and is the generic term for numerous subcategories. TPE materials are used primarily in flexible, high-quality cables. The reason is that they can withstand mechanical loads very well and are quite resistant to external influences such as chemicals and extreme temperatures . TPE is generally suitable for a temperature range of -35 °C to +100 °C. Pure TPE is also halogen-free. By adding flame retardants, TPE can also be produced as a flame-retardant material and is therefore UL compliant. It is often used in energy chains, especially in harsh environmental conditions or applications involving continuous movement. TPE cables are the most abrasion-resistant material, and are often used in crane applications, material handling and low-temperature applications.
If the question of the right jacket material for your application has not yet been answered completely, you can perform a completely tailored price check to locate the right cable for your needs very quickly. Make an online appointment here.