Industrial electrical cable: Selecting Your Suitable Cable

Industrial electrical cables are vital to the infrastructure of modern society; they form the essential elements of manufacturing, energy production, telecommunications, and transportation. Without industrial cables, commodity production, utility management, and service delivery would be severely affected. Want to know why? We invite you to join us in a comprehensive understanding of industrial electrical cables, covering their types and how they compare to domestic cables,  eventually comprehending their contribution to our daily lives and economic development.

Industrial cable wire: What are they?

Industrial cables are a class of cables specifically designed to meet the stringent requirements of industrial environments; commonly used to transmit power, signals, and data in manufacturing plants, power generation facilities, and automation systems, etc. Designed to withstand extreme conditions, industrial cables are equipped with robust construction to withstand high temperatures, mechanical stress, chemical and moisture to minimize electrical failures, fires, and other electrical hazards. Furthermore, the construction, materials, and specifications of industrial power cables can differ extensively based on their specific use; common industrial cable characteristics are:

industrial electrical cable

  • Materials: Typically PVC or XLPE-insulated copper or aluminum conductors. To prevent tear from severe conditions, industrial cables are often sheathed in flexible materials such as rubber, PVC, and CPE, and can be flat to fit into tight spaces.
  • Voltage Ratings: Industrial cable voltage rating varies from low voltage (up to 1 kV) for control and auxiliary circuits, through medium voltage (1 kV to 33 kV) for power distribution within industrial settings, to high voltage (above 33 kV) for main power feeds and connections to the external power grid.
  • Conductor  Structure: Could be single-core, multi-core, stranded, or solid; the most commonly used stranded structure is 7 × 7 or 7 × 19.
  • Armor:  Boost the cable’s durability against wear, fatigue, and corrosion.
  • Installation Site: Open-air, direct-bury, in cable carriers or conduit, which are integral to most commercial and industrial applications, such as construction, mining, automotive, and heavy-duty machinery.

Having covered the characteristics of industrial cables, let’s now explore the various types of industrial electrical cables available.

wire vs cable
Wire vs Cable: What’s the Difference?

Wires and cables are fundamental elements within the domain of electrical systems, serving as critical components that supply power to contemporary infrastructure, residence, and industry. Although they are frequently used interchangeably, they have different characteristics, so recognizing wire vs cable distinctions is vital. In this writing, we will pro...

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How many types of industrial electrical cables are there?


industrical cable types

Industrial cables can be divided into power cables, control cables, instrumentation cables, Ethernet cables, and communication cables according to their applications, however, for a more detailed understanding their specific materials or design features, we have summarized six broad types:

  1. Aluminum Cable: Chosen for their cost-effectiveness lightweight, and good conductivity. They are often used in large-scale or overhead power distribution applications within industrial settings, although they require special connectors and fittings to manage their different expansion rates and conductivity compared to copper.
  2. MC Armoured Cable: Designed with a protective metal covering (typically made of steel wire (SWA), steel tape (STA), or aluminum (AWA)). Unlike unarmored cables might be used in controlled environments, armoured cable is ideal for areas where the cable needs protection from mechanical damage or harsh conditions, and can be used in a variety of environments, including underground, in conduit, or directly exposed.
  3. Control Cable are used for the transmission of signals in instrumentation and control circuits to manage the equipment operation. Designed for superior flexibility, these cables often include shielding to maintain signal integrity and protect against electromagnetic interference (EMI), which is notably prevalent in industrial settings with heavy machinery and electrical devices.
  4. DLO Cable: Known for their excellent resistance to oils, chemicals, abrasion, and extreme temperatures, though diesel locomotive cables are typically used for wiring diesel-elecstric locomotives, they also suitable for oil rigs, mines, and marine settings.
  5. PVC Cable: Such  Polyvinyl chloride insulated cables have good insulating properties and can be found in industrial power distribution, control circuits, and machine wiring.
  6. Twisted Pair Cable: This can effectively reduce electromagnetic interference (EMI), commonly used for data and signal transmission in industrial environments, but also ideal for networking applications.

In short, industrial cables are available in numerous types to meet the challenging requirements of various applications. Next, we will shift our attention to the electrical wires specifically used for industrial wiring.

Which wire is used for industrial wiring?

In industrial settings, wiring requirements are significantly more demanding compared to residential or commercial environments. Commonly industrial electrical wires are:

  1. Building Wire: The electrical wiring used in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings to transmit power. Building wire has copper and aluminum variants, with which aluminum wire is not as efficient as copper for the same gauge size, but it’s still widely used, especially for larger commercial and industrial applications, due to its cost-effectiveness for high-volume electrical transmission needs.
  2. THHN Wire: This is characterized by thermoplastic insulation and a nylon outer sheath, which provides resistance to heat, oil, and chemicals; generally used in dry environments, such as in conduit or cable trays for services, feeders, and branch circuits in commercial or industrial applications.
  3. Sprinkler Wire: Engineered for the specific needs of underground sprinkler systems and outdoor lighting, sprinkler wire features a multi-conductor design enveloped in robust insulation capable of resisting moisture, enabling direct burial, and withstanding adverse weather conditions. This wire is integral to the seamless functionality of irrigation systems, enabling communication between control boxes and valves.
  4. Teflon Wire: Refering wires insulated by Teflon with excellent resistance to high temperatures, chemicals, and moisture, this category includes:

Teflon Wire

  • PTFE are known for their high melting point, excellent chemical resistance, and superior dielectric properties.
  • FEP offers similar properties to PTFE but has better flexibility at lower temperatures.

Choosing the appropriate industrial Wire & Cable demands meticulous evaluation of electrical load, environmental conditions, mechanical stress, and the need for signal integrity. To ensure reliability within demanding industrial contexts, these cables should comply with rigorous standards. It is recommended that you source from reputable industrial electrical cable supplier like ZW Cable. Next, we’ll explore how industrial electrical cables differ from domestic cables.

What is the difference between industrial cable and domestic cable?

The difference between industrial electrical cable and domestic cable primarily lies in their construction, durability, voltage load, material, and application:

Construction and Durability:

  • Industrial Wires and cables withstand extreme temperatures, chemicals, and mechanical stresses in industrial settings through durable insulation, protective sheath, and sometimes metal armouring or additional shielding
  • Domestic cables are designed for more controlled residential environments, and typically have simpler PVC insulation and sheathing, with less emphasis on heavy-duty protection and more on flexibility, ease of installation, and cost-effectiveness.

Voltage Load:

  • Industrial wiring systems typically adopt three-phase design with higher output power to support the operation of heavy-duty machinery and large-scale installations.
  • Domestic wiring, on the other hand, is usually designed for single-phase and has lower voltage level, which is suitable for the lower electrical load requirements of house wiring.


While both industrial and residential wiring can use copper and aluminum, there are certain differences between materials choices. Aluminum or CCA is often preferred for overhead transmission and distribution in industrial settings due to its cost and weight advantages, especially in large-scale projects. However, for residential and small-scale commercial applications where efficiency and safety are paramount, copper remains the go-to material.


  • Industrial electrical cables are typically used in manufacturing plants, automation systems, and harsh environments’ distribution.
  • Domestic Cables are primarily used for lighting, household appliances, and low-power data transmission within a home, and are commonly run through walls and attic underground Spaces.


  • In industrial settings, wiring requirements are more demanding than in residential or commercial environments due to higher power needs and harsh conditions.
  • Domestic wiring installation is generally simpler, focusing on safety and efficiency within a single-phase power system.

That said, industrial electrical cables are designed to withstand tough industrial environments and can support more complex applications with higher power. Conversely, domestic electrical wires are designed for less demanding residential environments,  prioritizing flexibility and ease of installation.

Bottom Line

To sum up, industrial electrical cables are the foundation of industrial operations, allowing for the safe and efficient conveyance of power, signals, and data. Comprehending the various industrial cable wires and their applications is essential for making an informed selection. Although there are some parallels with domestic cables, industrial cables are specifically engineered for enhanced durability to satisfy the demanding industrial settings. For high-quality and cost-effective industrial electrical cables, ZW Cable stands out as a leading supplier in the sector, offering customization options, and sample distribution to meet your precise needs.

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About Me
Richard Zi
Richard Zi

My name is Richard Zi, and serve as the General Manager of ZW Cable. With a deep and extensive background of more than 15 years in the cable industry, I am excited to share my wealth of knowledge and experience.ZW Cable is a renowned company in the field of cable manufacturing in world, we specialize in selecting the best cable sizes and effectively solving all your cable challenges. If you have any questions or needs regarding cable solutions, please contact me and I assure you of the highest standards of personalized and effective guidance and support.View All My Posts >>

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