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Wire and Cable Blog



Category: Welding Cable

Top 3 Safety Tips for Welding Wire and Other Materials

Anyone familiar with welding knows that welding accidents aren’t pretty and should be avoided at all costs. As the practice of using heat and flux to fuse together two pieces of metal, welding is a dangerous activity, even for seasoned pros. MIG welding in particular is susceptible to accidental injuries and damage around the workplace. But how can you prevent accidents from happening? That is what we’ll be discussing in this article.

  • Protect Yourself

Welding produces sparks and high intensities of both light and heat. One of the first lessons that every welder learns is that they should wear a full face mask when using an arc welder in order to prevent the corneas of their eyes from getting damaged.

With MIG welding, however, there is an additional danger to the welder that needs to be addressed. MIG welding produces light that contains strong UV rays. These rays can burn and blister the skin unless the welder wears gloves and covers as much of their body as possible with clothing. This precaution also helps prevent burns from flying molten metals that are produced during welding wire together.

  • Protect Your Work Area

It’s important to fireproof an area as much as possible when MIG welding. Keeping the area free of plastic, paper, sawdust, and other highly flammable workshop materials is essential to the safety of all workers and welders that are using the space. Additionally, keeping a fire extinguisher nearby is always a smart move while welding.

  • Protect Others

When it comes to MIG welding, it’s important to focus on the safety of everyone involved. Welding wire gives off ozone and some alloys can even release fumes that lead to severe metal poisoning. Whether you’re working alone or with others, it’s essential to have a well-ventilated space in order to work.

Even though these tips might seem fairly obvious, it’s easy to overlook simple things because of impatience. Always make sure that someone who is familiar with the process is there and that the project is thoroughly planned out before welding in order to avoid common safety hazards.

 

Compare and Contrast: 6 AWG Welding Cable and THHN Electrical Wire

Many people get confused about the differences between THHN electrical wire and 6 AWG welding cable. Although these two products are created out of similar products, copper wire and insulation, there are very important differences concerning usage, flexibility, and durability.

 

  • Usage

THHN wire is typically snaked through interior walls and is never used outside. It’s one of the most common wires of its type and is often used quickly and effectively by contractors for permanent electrical work. 6 AWG is much more versatile, however. This form of cable is usually hooked up to a welding machine or a portable power cable. Cable like 6 AWG can be used inside or outside and is often used for projects where versatility is valued and the environment is difficult for normal kinds of cable.

  • Flexibility

Two factors affect wire and cable flexibility, namely insulation and copper strands. THHN wire has tightly bunched copper strands that give it a rigid and inflexible quality. Adding to this effect is a nylon coating which helps to prevent outside environs, like gasses and liquids, from corroding the wire as well as thick insulation to keep the wire protected.

6 AWG welding cable is made with thinner copper strands and rubber insulation. The rubber not only protects the cable from harsh environments, but also lends a flexible and bouncy quality to the cable. One of the main reasons that this type of cable has this quality is not only because of the many places 6 AWG is used but also because welders have to coil and uncoil the same roll of cable multiple times throughout a project.

  • Durability

THHN cable is highly durable for what’s it’s used for. This type of wire is meant to only be installed once and the same traits that make this wire inflexible is also one of the reasons it’s the most durable type of wire in its class. However, when looking at overall durability, the ability of 6 AWG cable to withstand a variety of environmental conditions and possible damage makes it the most durable cable between the two.

3 Welding Cable Options in Order by Price

3 Welding Cable OptionsGenerally all welding cables are used for very similar applications. However not all welding cables have the UL or CSA approvals on them. Now that does not make these cables unsafe. It just means that as a consumer you need to make sure you trust the manufacturer. This way you’ll know you are getting a safe and quality product. The three main variations of welding cable are the Class K, the Class M and the Super Vu-Tron.

Class K

The Class K welding cable is made from 30 AWG copper strands. This is also known as the standard welding cable. It is not UL or CSA approved like some of the other classes of welding cables you can find. The cables come in black and red. Although there are other colors available upon customer request. Because of the copper stranded conductor as well at the rubber insulation of the cable they have good flexibility. They are used mainly for secondary voltage resistance welding leads as well as for power supply applications that do not exceed 600 volts.

Class M

A Class M welding cable has 34 AWG copper strands. This is to make the cable more flexible. The Class M cables are both UL and CSA approved. This kind of welding cable also comes in the same colors as the Class K welding cable. This variation of welding cable just like the Class K cable is very flexible. The Class M cable however is more flexible because it is made with even smaller copper strands. The cables have very similar temperature ratings as well as the exact same voltage ratings. What makes this cable more expensive is the fact that the copper strands are smaller making it more flexible. And the fact that this cable is both UL and CSA approved, while the Class K cables are not.

Super Vu-Tron

The super vu-tron welding cable is a Class M cable. It is a slightly different version made of the same 34 AWG copper strands. The super vu-tron has an orange colored jacket for safety. The orange color is a trademark of General Cable. The welding cable has a good abrasion resistance and is also weather and ozone resistant because of the special jacket that the cable has. The cable comes in sizes ranging from a 6 AWG all the way up to a size 4/0. The super vu-tron cables also have a temperature range of -50°C up to 90°C.

The welding cables are listed in order of price. The Class K welding cables are the cheapest and then working your way up the Super Vu-Tron cables are the most expensive. That leaves the Class M cables in the middle. Each cable is slightly different even though they are all intended to be used for generally the same thing.

Written by: WesBell Electronics Inc

Welding Cable Pricing Structure

Welding cable is designed with copper strands and rubber insulation. The strands are very flexible and the rubber insulation is protective and flexible as well. Pricing for welding cable is determined mostly from the daily copper price on the NYSE. Copper, similar to gold, is traded daily which means it can be worth more or less today than it was yesterday.

The pricing on our website is the typical variance that you would see from AWG to AWG. Welding cable 6 AWG has less copper in it than Welding Cable 2 AWG which means it will always be cheaper. A 2 AWG cable is used for more powerful equipment. If the price of copper goes up 5% today, then all of the pricing on our website will also go up about 5%.

Keep an eye on copper when you’re about to place a large order. Also make sure that you are using the smallest gauge allowable to pass inspection or else you’ll pay far too much for your application.

Welding Cable Pricing >>

Written by: Chris Bell
www.wesbellwireandcable.com

Shipping Welding Cable to Chesapeake VA

WesBell Electronics is located in Merrimack NH however we have the ability to ship products, not only across the USA, but also across the world. We have customers in Canada, China and Japan that buy from us on a regular basis with shipping rates that aren’t quite as bad as you’d think.

If you’re buying welding cable in Chesapeake VA we can supply that material to you in a few different ways. We can cut and ship it quickly from our NH location which will arrive in 3 business days via UPS or we can have it cut and shipped directly from the largest manufacturer in the United States, South Wire Company in York PA. South Wire manufactures portable cord products such as welding cable, SOOW, SJOOW and industrial power cables.

If you’re purchasing hook up wire in Norfolk VA we would still be able to get it to your door in 3 days via UPS. Our hook up wire is stocked in Merrimack in increments of 100’, 250’, 500’, 1000’ and bulk spools. We can sell directly to the end user and we can also supply resellers and distributors with bulk spools at quantity discount pricing.

If you buy wire and cable in high quantities please talk to us about setting up a blanket order so that we have exactly what you need at all times. A “blanket order” is simply an order for a large quantity in which a portion of it ships monthly rather than all at once. The payment is due for each shipment after it ships which means you do not pay for anything until it has shipped out the door.

Written by: Chris Bell
(800) 334-8400

Carolprene® Welding Cable – General Cable Brand

General Cable engineers and manufactures their brand of Carolprene® welding cable. Carolprene® is their special version of a rubber Neoprene insulation that has been slightly enhanced by the engineers as General Cable.

Standard welding cable used in garages and small shops don’t require all of the special approvals that industrial job sites require such as UL, CSA and MSHA. Well, without those approvals there isn’t any third party source approving, or disapproving, the way that the welding cable is manufactured. That’s one of the reasons General Cable wants to brand their product with a Carolprene® trade mark to prove its quality.

How Do You Know If You Are Getting Quality Welding Cable?

Carolprene Welding CableThe copper stranding and insulation are the two biggest parts to look at when buying welding cable. Buying a Carolprene® product will assure you of the quality because they have a brand name to uphold. Otherwise, make sure it’s Class K stranding which uses 30 AWG copper strands as a flexibility enhancer. Second, make sure it has rubber EPDM, or Neoprene, insulation instead of Thermoplastic. Thermoplastic insulation is exactly what it sounds like, plastic. It’s cheaper and it can be used as an alternative if your application can handle the lower quality but it’s not recommended for most welding applications.

Upgrade From Carolprene® to Super Vu-Tron®

Super Vu-Tron® is also a brand name owned by General Cable. It’s an upgrade to Carolprene® because it has Class M 34 AWG stranding for added flexibility and a stronger insulation for industrial applications that withstands a lot more impact each day. Super Vu-Tron welding cables are only manufactured in orange and they’re supplied with UL, CSA and MSHA markings on the insulation. Due to the upgraded insulation these can also handle more AMPS per gauge size. A 6 AWG welding cable is rated for 75 AMPS and a Super Vu-Tron 6 AWG cable is rated for 100 AMPS.

There are plenty of manufacturers that will make a great cable with similar materials as the Carolprene® product. However, buying the Carolprene® name will assure you of the quality and leave all questioning aside. Buying a basic welding cable without a top manufacturer’s name attached to it could be the reason your cable isn’t handling well against the daily conditions it’s exposed to.

Written by: Chris Bell
chris@wesbellinc.com
ISO 9001 Certified

Continuous Flexible Electronic Cables

The phrase “flexible cable” is sometimes misunderstood because there are different levels of flexibility depending on your application. Some cable catagories are more flexible than others (Electronic VS Electrical), but the individual cable may still be a less flexible option when compared to similar cables in its family.

Flexible Cables

Flexible Welding CableWelding cable is much more flexible than THHN electrical wire because they are used in completely different applications. However, standard welding cable is actually a less flexible option in the single conductor portable cord family. There is Class K and Class M stranding for welding cable which are “standard” and “extra flexible”. Class K stranding uses 30 AWG copper strands and Class M stranding uses, many more, 34 AWG copper strands to make a more flexible cable. Neither cable is a “continuous flexible cable” though. Click here to buy welding cable >>

Flexible Electronic Cables

Electronic cables are slightly different than the two types of cables mentioned above. Electronic cables are more commonly used indoors in machinery and equipment. These cables either send power to the equipment or they’re attached to the equipment sending power back and forth. A “flexible cable” can bend into place, circle around tight areas and remain still in the application. “Continuous flexible cables” will be moving back and forth while the machine is running.

Continuous Flexible Cables

Continuous Flexible CablesThe word “continuous” means that the cable, not only needs to be flexible, but also needs to be able to withstand the added damage of being twisted, bent and moved during the actual application. As the machine, or robot, is moving the cable will need to move as well. A typical electronic cable used in this application would be torn to shreds fairly quickly. These special continuous flexible cables are engineered to be able to move along with machine movements without having to be replaced in a year.

Flexibility

In terms of “bend ability” the amount of flexibility is determined by the size of copper strands used to manufacture the cable. As mentioned in the second paragraph, a welding cable with 34 AWG strands is more flexible than the welding cable with 30 AWG strands. A more dramatic difference to the naked eye would be the bend ability of a 20 AWG copper strand compared to an 8 AWG copper strand.

Obviously, the 20 AWG wire is easier to bend in your hand, so bundling multiple 20 AWG wires together to form the diameter of an 8 AWG wire would prove to be more flexible than the solid strand of 8 AWG. Remember, just because it’s more flexible doesn’t mean that it can be bent and twisted during the application. It simply means it can bend around corners better and easier than the less flexible option.

Written by: Chris Bell
chris@wesbellinc.com
www.wesbellwireandcable.com

What Is DLO Cable And What Is It Used For?

DLO - Diesel Locomotive CableDLO stands for Diesel Locomotive because it is most commonly used for diesel locomotive applications. However, as a very powerful single conductor cable, it can be used in multiple single phase applications such as oil and gas drilling rigs, cranes, ship yards, motor leads and mining applications. DLO cables are rated for 2000 volts and used in industrial applications more often than residential areas.

Flexible and Protective

Rather than buying DLO cable for its high voltage rating, you might want to buy it for its flexibility or dually protective jacket. Diesel locomotive cables are manufactured with a layer of EPR insulation and a second layer of CPE insulation for industrial type protection. Imagine using a cable in an industrial setting compared to a residential setting to understand why the added protection is given to DLO cables.

Approvals

Unlike residential portable power cables, industrial power cables carry UL, CSA and MSHA approvals. These approvals are stamped on the jacket to prove that Underwriters Laboratories, Canadian Standard Association and Mine Safety and Health Administration have tested and approved the ratings given to DLO cable. Without those third party approvals it will be difficult for industrial applications to pass inspection. Those needing cables without UL, CSA and MSHA approvals would typically be home owners and small machine shops that don’t need to pass inspection.

Is There a Cheaper Alternative to DLO?

Welding CableThat depends on your requirements. If your application can get by with a 600 volt cable, less protection and a lower voltage rating than the answer is yes, welding cable. Welding cable does not carry the approvals and it’s only rated for 600 volts with a single layer of rubber insulation. It’s much cheaper and offered in similar AWG (American Wire Gauge) sizes as DLO. Welding cable is also offered in black, red and orange where DLO cable only comes with black insulation.

Learning about the power cable you’re looking to buy is a very good idea because you could be buying more or less than you actually need. Speaking with your supplier will help you understand each attribute the cable has to offer and which of them your application needs. Cutting out one attribute, such as switching from 2000 volts to 600 volts, will save you a lot of money.

Written by: Chris Bell
Chris@wesbellinc.com
www.wesbellwireandcable.com

Single Conductor Power Cable Types

As a wire and cable distributor we offer many single conductor power cables for different applications. There’s a range in temperature, voltage, AMPS and stranding depending on the type of electrical cable you need.

Welding cable is rated for 600 volts and offers flexible 30 awg copper strands at a maximum temperature of 90°C. It’s commonly used as a flexible version of THHN building wire because THHN is manufactured to be less flexible for ease of installation.

Super Vu-Tron Welding cable is rated for 600 volts and offers more flexible 34 awg copper strands at a maximum temperature of 105°C. It also has a more rugged and durable jacket than standard welding cable.

DLO cable, also known as Diesel Locomotive Cable, is rated for 2000 volts at 90°C with less flexible strands made up of 24 awg copper. Locomotive cables are very durable and used outdoors, in conduit and in raceways with a long life span.

Stage Lighting Cable, also known as entertainment cable, is rated for 600 volts with a maximum temperature of 90°C. It’s commonly used in the lighting industry to bring power to the lights on a stage or in a theater.

Type W cable has rubber insulation over the copper strands along with a second rubber jacket for added protection in more of an industrial setting. Imagine a large cable bringing power to a job site that needs to run a generator or large power tools. It’s rated for 2000 volts and offers high AMP rating than the other single conductor power cables.

WesBell Electronics Inc
ISO 9001 Certified
(800) 334-8400

WesBell Now Offers Burndy Lugs for Welding Cable

We’re now offering Burndy® Lugs that compliment our welding cable and electrical wire lines. Burndy® is a well known name in the industry manufacturing connectors, terminals and lugs.

Since we offer “cut to length” services for larger one conductor and multi conductor cables our customers have been requesting that we apply the lugs as well. Upon research we found that Burndy® has provided a superior product with all approvals needed to pass inspections in the field.

We are now offering to cut, strip and terminate lugs to both ends of welding cable and other electrical wire products. This fits right into our ISO 9001 certified value added services area of cutting, stripping, tin dipping and assembling hook up wire and electronic cable harnesses.

The lugs will be offered along side each of the cables on our website so that you know the lug will fit the cable you’re buying. When you visit 6 awg welding cable for instance, you’ll also find 4 lug options that might be 1 hole, 2 hole, short barrel or long barrel with different stud sizes.

If you have questions about the lugs we offer or want to buy them in bulk rather than having us manufacture them for you then you can call us for more support.

WesBell Electronics Inc
(800) 334-8400