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Choosing the Right Cable Lubricant

May 15, 2018

Cable lubricant has become a must-have for any contractor undertaking a wiring or cabling job. Cables today are much better designed and built than they were even until a few years ago. Stronger sheathing, higher quality and more durable casings and designed to bear some strain, such cables a boon for cable installers. However, offsetting that gain, cable installation is tougher now with fewer points of entry and access to cable; cables themselves house more sensitive circuitry, such as fiber optics; and, cables must now navigate spaces more tightly packed with other cables and equipment.


Cable lubricant is therefore a must have on any professional work site. Speaking simplistically, cable lubricant helps to dramatically reduce friction making cable pulls that much better. Reduced friction means less pulling strength has to be transmitted through the cable; less friction along the pulling path reduces damage to the protecting casing of the cable; and reduces the chances of the cable snapping during the pulling operation.


Cable lubricant helps dramatically reduce cable pulling effort, reduces the chance of the cable breaking and reduces heat in surrounding areas.


Cable lubricant has evolved greatly, coming tailored for a variety of applications and in different forms: liquid, gel and spray-on. Which cable lubricant is suited best for you depends on the cable installation and type of cable to be pulled.


Polymer-based cable lubricants are the vogue now, being water soluble and far less likely to cake and leave a residue. Cable lubricants are also tailored to different working temperatures.


Spray-type cable lubricant is a new way to lubricating cables. Simply sprayed on before the cable is pulled, this concentrated formula forms a film around the cable to reduce friction. That said, its application is limited in jobs that require more than one or two persons.


Instead, for such contracting jobs, wire pulling pastes or gels are better bets. In the paste form, the cable lubricant does not run or drip. It means less wasted material and a faster application to boot. It reduces the drag coefficient of the wire and is suitable for overhead cable runs.


Wire pulling gels are better suited to ground level or underground pulling runs. Depending on their viscosity, they may be applied or be poured into the conduit. They are good for longer pulling runs or when the cable is expected to experience high pulling friction.