How to protect cables from oil damageDecember 10, 2015 REDWIRE is news you can use from leading suppliers. Powered by FRASERS.
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When electrical cables are exposed to oil — which they often are in industrial environments — it can cause damage to the cable, decreasing its service life and affecting its performance. If this damage is ignored, it can result in cable failure, downtime and replacement costs.
The Lapp Group recently tackled this topic in a white paper, “Protecting cables from oil damage”, written by John Gavilanes, the cable manufacturer’s director of engineering. The white paper describes how oil degrades cables, and the steps to take to avoid damage.
What is the danger?
Oil can cause polymers, like those used for cable insulation and jacketing, to degrade and crack. If that happens, the cable can ultimately snap, presenting a danger to workers, as well as the industrial machinery the cable is connected to.
But oil is often not the only threat to cables, according to Gavilanes.
“It works in concert with other degradation mechanisms, including temperature,” he writes. “In general, the greater the intensity of the oil exposure and ambient temperatures, the faster oil will start the deterioration process.”
The white paper also discusses how to diagnose oil exposure problems.
The key to avoiding damage
Oil damage is not reversible, but Gavilanes writes that it can be prevented by selecting an oil-resistant cable, paying close attention to the cable’s UL tests. These tests help determine how a cable will react in the industrial oil environment, and passing is determined by the evaluation of mechanical properties and observations of physical damage caused by the oil exposure, he explains.
“The oil resistance of cables has now become a critical performance parameter when electrical contractors, engineers and installers specify cables. As time moves forward, superior oil-resistant cables will become standard, rather than the exception.”
Lapp’s line of OLFLEX cables are available in varying degrees of oil resistance. To find out which option is best for your application, contact Lapp Canada.
To read the white paper in its entirety, download it here.