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Cables and wires

In all variations for every requirement

LAPP cables can perform a range of basic tasks and are suitable for thousands of applications. You can also find the perfect power cable for power supply, control cables for extremely reliable signal transmission and data cables for absolutely uninterruptible data transmissions. Enjoy the considerable variety of our ÖLFLEX®, UNITRONIC®, ETHERLINE® and HITRONIC® product brands.

The history of LAPP begins in 1957 with the invention of the first cables with different color-coded conductors. LAPP was initially a manufacturer of cables and wires.
Find answers to your most important questions related to the topic of cables and wires HERE AND NOW.

  • What is a cable?
  • What is the difference between an electrical and a power cable?
  • What types of cables are available and where are they used? 

Power and control cables

Power and control cables are usually characterized by larger conductor cross-sections and thicker conductor insulation than data cables. Thanks to the thicker insulation, power and control cables can be used for higher voltages. Power cables ensure the power supply to electrically driven machines and devices; control cables are used to transmit control signals to control units such as machine tools or conveyor belts. 

Data cables

Data cables, on the other hand, tend to have small conductor cross-sections and thin conductor insulation. With data cables, electromagnetic compatibility plays a much more significant role than with power and control cables, as data transmissions are particularly susceptible to interference. A data cable should not cause or be disrupted by electromagnetic interference. 

What is a cable?

A cable is an electrical conductor sheathed with insulating materials. During cable production, several insulated conductors are usually stranded together and provided with additional protective layers (e.g. inner jacket, electrical shielding, outer jacket).

What is a cable made of?

The design of a cable can be simplified as follows:

A conductor is a cable that is covered with insulation and carries an electrical current.

  • Conductor:   Primarily copper, more rarely aluminum or nickel.    
  • Conductor insulation:    Various plastics are used as insulation material including PVC, PUR, PE, TPE, PTFE, FPE, and rubber.

Possible protective layers

  • Inner jacket: Various plastics are used as the jacketing, see outer jacket.  
  • Electrical shielding: Braided shield and foil shields.  
  • Outer jacket: Various plastics are used as jacketing, see typical outer jacketing.

Note: This does not apply to fiber optic cables. Fiber optic cables are a category of data cables, but have a fundamentally different structure to the ones shown above. In addition, data is not transferred electrically using energy, but rather optically with the aid of light. Are you interested in fiber optic cables and want to learn about this transmission media as an alternative to copper?

Delve into the exciting world of fiber optic cables here!

The first ÖLFLEX® control cables

In 1957 Oskar Lapp invented the first cable with different color-coded conductors
 – the first ÖLFLEX® control cables were born. In our guide for power and control cables, you can find out what the name ÖLFLEX® actually means.

Electrical and power cables: conceptual differences

The layman in the private sector will usually refer to power cables and LAN cables. Electrical companies, on the other hand, want to lay electrical cables from the domestic junction box to the counter cabinet while telecommunications companies, in turn, work with telephone power cables and fiber glass fiber cables. However, when it comes to extending the power grid, people hear about overhead power cables and cables for direct burial.

But what is the difference between electrical and power cables? Is there a difference, and if yes, are we currently using the two designations correctly?

In specialist circles, it is important that power cables conduct electrical current or electrical signals. 
Electrical cables can be referred to as a sub-type of cables. They are generally hidden and fixed underground (cables for direct burial, telephone cables) or under the sea floor (sea cables). They are characterized by additional mechanical protection under the outer jacket and are resistant to environmental influences. Most electrical cables are also characterized by their much larger diameters and higher weight than power cables. 

Power cables, on the other hand, are laid above ground, but are often hidden in cable ducts, shafts or machines. They are also suitable for occasional flexing as they are made of flexible stranded conductors. However, power cables can also be installed in fixed installations, for example under plaster or as overhead lines between power poles. Additional mechanical protection is not required in these cases because the plaster or the open air take on this function. 

Power and electrical cables are not actually synonymous, but are used synonymously in everyday speech. 

It is particularly common in data technology to speak of electrical cables when power cables are often meant!

Different cable types, different tasks

But what tasks do electrical and power cables have?

Electrical and power cables serve

  • to supply power to machines, devices and components,
  •  to transmit signals,
  • to transmit data.

The function that a cable assumes depends heavily on the type of cable. Some types of cables, known as hybrid cables, can combine several tasks, e.g. primarily transmit data and additionally supply the receiver with power, or primarily supply a device with power and also transmit signals. 

Looking for ready-to-use cable assemblies with connectors?

Note: The product segments of power and control cables as well as data cables only contain cables sold by length, i.e. unassembled cables and wires. 

Here you can find our plug & play cable assemblies

Choosing the right cable

Cables and wires must be selected such that they are suitable for the relevant operating conditions (e.g. voltage, current, protection against electric shock, bundling of cables and wires) and external influences (e.g. ambient temperature, presence of water or corrosive materials, mechanical stress, incl. stress during installation, fire risks).

LAPP offers countless cables and wires available for almost every application. 

1. First, specify the type of cable you need: power cable, control cable or data cable.

2. In which geographical region do you want to use the cable? Do you need special certifications for export to other countries?

3. What influences will the cable be exposed to?

  • Electromagnetic interference (EMI): Shielded cables
  • Chemical substances: Cables with ROBUST outer jacket
  • Extremely high or low temperatures: Cables with HEAT materials
  • Mechanical strain: Cables with PUR outer jacket
  • Outdoors: UV-resistant cables

4.    Do you use the cable in a particular application?

  • Rail transport: TRAIN cable
  • Commercial vehicles. TRUCK cable
  • Robots: ROBOT cable
  • Photovoltaics: SOLAR cable
  • Cranes: CRANE cable

5.    Will the cable be fixed or movable?
Choose FD or CHAIN cables for use in cable chains.

Typical outer jacket materials

A cable jacket protects the inside of the cable against mechanical stresses, mixed chemical substances and temperature influences. There are a variety of materials that can be used to protect the cable from damage. 

The following materials are often used for jacketing LAPP cables. In principle, however, flame retardants or other additives must be added to these materials to enable increased heat resistance, for example. These mixed jacket materials are known as compounds.

Common materials

In the case of heavily stressed cable jackets that have to withstand high mechanical loads such as abrasion and lateral pressure, you should ideally use the plastic polyurethane (PUR). You need a material that is especially resistant, durable and cut-resistant, particularly when the cable is constantly in motion, e.g. in cable chain or torsion applications. PUR is usually the top choice here. 
If increased chemical resistance is warranted because the cable is exposed to organic solvents and other chemically aggressive substances, a polyvinylchloride (PVC) jacketing is suitable. PVC cables are also highly flame-retardant. 
The jacket material frequently used for cables for direct burial is polyethylene (PE). Even with permanent installation in water or outdoor applications, PE is an optimal material that is highly mechanically resistant. 
The protection of people is particularly important in public buildings and transportation. Here, it must be ensured that the components used are both highly flame retardant and emit few toxic fumes in the event of a fire. This is why halogen-free cables are used. HFFR stands for halogen free flame retardant. The designations FRNC for flame retardant non corrosive and LSZH for low smoke zero halogens are also common. Please review technical table T15 for additional information and property descriptions for the materials mentioned. 
Download T15 here.