What is a UV-resistant cable?
Light helps us to see the world with our eyes - in colors, from red to blue. Beyond the visible blue light, unseen ultraviolet light also radiates. It’s invisible to our eyes, but it can be damaging if we lie on the beach for a day without protection. This is because it damages the upper layer of our skin and can cause skin cancer over time. Other diseases such as cataracts or macular degeneration in the eye can also be caused by too much UV light. Hence the recommendation: Anyone who spends time in the sun should apply sunscreen and wear sunglasses.
Anything that damages our health is also not good for cables – they can also get “sunburn”. Over time, the high energy of UV light will cause the jacket to disintegrate and eventually will damage the insulation of the conductors as well. This can lead to short circuits and machines stopping, with people being endangered in the worst-case scenario. You can often see the damage with the naked eye, because the plastic bleaches out and becomes brittle and fragile. If you rub it, bits of the damaged jacket may flake off. But its dangerous to do so, because the live conductor might already be exposed underneath it.
Cables with extra UV protection are available for areas where there is UV light. They are usually black because the plastic contains soot. Soot absorbs the high-energy UV rays on the surface and converts them into heat. This will cause the cable to warm up, so it must have a high enough temperature range to support this. The soot added to the jacket plastic does not have the same negative by-products emitted from smoke. This is because industrial soot is used, which is generated in an optimized combustion process. This process enables the size, porosity and overall surface of the soot particles to be adjusted and optimized for use as UV protection.
Where are UV-resistant cables used?
Primarily outdoors, where cables are exposed to direct sunlight, such as cabling for a satellite dish or for bringing power from photovoltaic modules into a building. Large industrial plants, such as hydroelectric, waste management, or chemical plants, are often located outdoors. Trucks, cranes and harvesting machines also need UV-resistant cables, as well as trains and the tracks they travel on.
Sometimes we aren't aware that strong UV light can also occur indoors. For example, this is the case in the pharmaceutical industry, where devices may be sterilized with UV light. It is necessary to use UV light to kill microorganisms in water, food or outflow air. UV-resistant cables are necessary in these types of systems.
Which UV-resistant cables are available from LAPP?
As a global market leader for integrated connection solutions, we have a wide portfolio of UV-resistant products. This includes cables for transmitting power, control signals and data, as well as the associated connectors and accessories such as cable glands and cable markings. Here are several LAPP cables:
The classic products in the LAPP portfolio include ÖLFLEX® cables. They are extremely robust and many are UV-resistant. ÖLFLEX® cables include ÖLFLEX® CLASSIC 400 P, ÖLFLEX® SERVO FD 798 CP or ÖLFLEX® FD 855 P. Data cables include ETHERLINE® SERVO DQ FD P Cat.5e for the open SIEMENS DRIVE-CLiQ® system interface or the HITRONIC® HQN 1500.
LAPP is a pioneer in cables for direct current applications and partner in the DC Industry2 research project. Our company has produced the first cable specifically for direct current. The range is constantly growing, with the ÖLFLEX® DC ROBOT 900 as the latest addition. Its torsional and bending capabilities make it suitable for moving applications in robots, cable chains or machine tools. The insulation of the conductors is made of TPE, while the jacket is PUR. This means that the cable is also halogen-free and suitable for areas where people are present, since in the event of a fire, no corrosive vapors will escape from the plastic. The material is also UV and weather-resistant, water-resistant and flexible at low temperatures.
SKINTOP ST-HF-M Black cable gland was specifically developed for high-UV radiation. It is often used in buildings and rail transport facilities.