WesBell Electronics
Wire and Cable Blog

Posts tagged: pvc cables

Difference Between PVC and PTFE Cables

When our customers and website visitors ask for pricing on a PVC cable to compare it to a PTFE cable they’re completely shocked when they hear the difference in price, so we’re going to let you know the differences in order to justify the pricing. Once you understand the engineering, materials and commodities it will be easier to understand the price difference between the two.

PVC cables are manufactured at a much lower cost because they don’t have to meet the high temperature rating that PTFE cables do. PVC stands for Polyvinyl Chloride which is a compound engineered to be used in electronics and other indoor applications.

PVC electronic cables meet a 105°C temperature rating in 300 or 600 volts. They’re manufactured with flexible copper strands and PVC insulation on the inner conductors. They sometimes come with an aluminum overall foil shield and a tinned copper drain wire.

Now that you know the construction of a PVC cable you’ll probably understand why a PTFE cable is much more expensive. PTFE compound is used to manufacture a 200°C temperature material to cover the copper conductors. The engineering involved in creating a 200°C cable is much more involved than the process of creating a 105°C cable.

The inner conductors of PTFE cables also have a PTFE insulation called Type E or M16878/4 that also meet the high temperature of 200°C. They’re manufactured with silver plated copper strands which means the cost of high copper and high silver must be included in the pricing on PTFE cables.

The final reason for higher prices on PTFE cables is the fact that the earthquake in Japan affected an entire manufacturer of PTFE compound that was sending the compound to PTFE wire manufacturers. That created a huge shortage of PTFE wire in the market which drove up the pricing as well.

I wouldn’t want to say that a PVC cable is easy to manufacture, but when comparing it to a PTFE cable it seems like a walk in the park. Both cables have a UL and CSA approval along with RoHS compliance, but PTFE cables can be used outdoors, at higher temperatures and they resist water, gases, oils, solvents and much more. Just make sure you’re sitting down when you hear the pricing!

Please call if you have any questions or comments about our wire, cable tubing, blog or website! We enjoy all feeback!

WesBell Electronics Inc
(800) 334-8400

Multi Conductor Cables Shielded and Unshielded

There are many different types of multi conductor cables that have been engineered by wire and cable manufacturers over the years to protect the conductors from weather, sunlight, oils, gases, solvents and much more. Each cable is made with the standard gauge sizes and numbers of conductors to fit all types of applications.

The most basic type of shielded or unshielded multi conductor cable would be the PVC / PVC which would be the least expensive because it has the least amount of approvals needed. A PVC / PVC cable is used indoors for wire and cable harnesses to replace multiple single hook up wires in a neater way. When wire and cable is used indoors there obviously isn’t as much that can affect or harm it which means it costs less to engineer and manufacture.

A second type of indoor multi conductor cable is a high temperature cable. A PVC cable can only handle 105°C compared to a high temperature STJ cable that can handle temperatures of 200°C. They’re manufactured with PTFE insulated conductors and a FEP jacket. These cables also come shielded and unshielded but are mostly dedicated to temperature applications and protection from solder iron heat. PVC insulation melts as solder irons attempt to connect the wire to the application so PTFE wire or STJ cables are a good alternitive for those situations.

Outdoor multi conductor cables have added protection for weather and other things that might damage or puncture a cable which could short the connection. Electrical cables include UFB cable, MC cable and tray cable that can be used outdoors, underground or in conduit. MC cable can be used outdoors but not directly in the ground while tray cable can be duried in the ground without a problem. Each cable that has more approvals and options will cost more money.

Electronic cables used outdoors are also called power cables. SOOW, Type W, Type G and rubber tray cables are used in portable power applications. These multi conductor cables are manufctured with a rubber outer jacket so that they can be dragged on the ground, ran over on job sites and flexible enough to coil back up for another time.

Early developement construction sites use these cables to run power a long way for their machines and tools that need power before there’s any electricity on the site. As time passed cables were getting ruined very quickly because they were being run over by heavy machinery and dragged over concrete and rocky areas. That made manufactures develope the tough rubber jackets for a much longer life of the cable.

The common denominator in all of these cables is the copper. Each of them is manufactured with either stiff or flexible copper strands. Electrial cables need to be stiff to push through conduit easily while power cables need to be flexible so that it’s easier to use the tools, bend around corners and coil up on a spool for next time.

Even though copper is very expensive there are many other things to take into consideration for the cost of each cable. Nevermind the type of cable, a cable manufacturer has to buy the copper, engineer the cable, make it, store it, spool it and ship it before you can even get a price.

Talk to us about how and where you’re using your cable before buying it. We can help you figure out the most cost effective type of wire and cable for your application because we have a knowledgeable sales staff available to assist you.

WesBell Electronics Inc
(800) 334-8400