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What to Look for When Choosing the Correct Cable Lubricant

July 04, 2018

We have often emphasized using the correct cable lubricant for different jobs. Fortunately, most customers who purchase cable lubricant for their business and contracting from us specialize (or generalize) in one of a few cable pulling situations. Therefore, no cable lubricant buying choice or buying decision must be made – simply continue with the incumbent is the simple mantra to be followed.


But for new cable installation jobs, in new environments, or for novice cable installers, one of the most important decisions on your job is actually the one taken before the job – buying the correct cable lubricant. Cable pulling and installation jobs are usually quite varied; and in this article we are looking especially at heavy cable pulls.


Here are some features that you must be aware of when selecting cable lubricant for heavy cable pulling and installation work.


Composition – Is the cable lubricant biodegradable or water based. A biodegradable lubricant will mean fewer worries about spills and interaction with the natural environment. Moreover, a water-based lubricant can be easier to work with as compared to an oil based lubricant.


Friction – If there were a simple friction rating cable installers could simply read the cable lubricant buying decision would be so much easier, right? Actually, while all lubricant will reduce friction greatly, the trick is understanding their composition and their operating window. Focus not so much on how much of a friction reduction you will get, rather how well the lubricant is suited for your job.


Cable sheathing – In heavy pulling, copious amounts of cable lubricant must be used to control the amount of friction, heat and tension the cable is subjected to. Be sure to use a cable lubricant which does not adversely affect the cable’s protective jacket – either in the short or long run.


Coagulating – Also be sure to get cable lubricant which will not coagulate over time and itself ‘cement’ the cable. High quality lubricants are specifically designed to avoid this and we always advise customers to double check before they commit to a particular cable lubricant.


Operating temperature – The operating temperature of the cable lubricant is an important guide. For instance, installing a cable in sub-freezing temperatures when the lubricant is not rated for the same, may mean it is not at its correct viscosity and its friction reducing properties are themselves reduced. Similarly, in high heat situations, or being subjected to prolonged high temperatures may denature lubricants or cause a similar reduction in quality and performance.