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The Evolution of Cable Lubricant

April 23, 2018

Workplace and staff safety are invaluably important and cable lubricant provides the least expensive insurance to cable installers and contractors that work not only in residential but commercial settings. These products offer protection for three critical aspects of cable installations - the cable, the conduit and the total cost of installation.


The use of cable lubricant during installation reduces friction and stress as a cable is being pulled through the conduit.


As such, it minimizes the risk of stickiness in the conduit as well as melted plastic. Spending a hundred dollars on lubricants can save an installer tens of thousands of dollars.


These products have been used for decades. At first, they were made for the electrical industry but have evolved to suit the requirements of pulling coaxial, copper and fiber optic cables for the data and telecommunications industry.

Originally, cable lubricant was made from clays and talcum powder, then wax and soap-based products used by electricians. However, these lubricants are not suitable for data cabling as they can harm the cable jackets. To address this issue, polymer-based cable lubricants are employed which are water-based and not harmful to the cable jacket. With the introduction of fiber optic cable, manufacturers focused on the special requirements of such cable type by creating silicon-based cable lubricant.


One crucial factor in using a lubricant is its lubricity or coefficient of friction. The lower the lubricity is, the easier it is to do the pulling, since there is less resistance. Cable lubricant improves safety, efficiency, compatibility, adherence and stability.


Using an incompatible product can damage the cable or conduit, particularly when it’s made from specialized jacket materials such as low-density polyethylene and semiconducting insulation. Choosing the viscosity of a lubricant depends on working and environmental conditions. For instance, water-based product tend to be runny, making it more suitable to use in an underground application but not for overhead cabling pull for a building.


More importantly, always make sure that the product is safe to handle and contains no harmful ingredients or chemicals that can irritate skin. It must also be inflammable. At AMAC Equipment, we fully understand the safety and compatibility associated with the use of cable lubricant. We provide heavy duty, water-based lubricants that work for most cable materials, ensuring safe and durable application.