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How to choose the right cable glands

Cable glands perform a number of essential roles in cable management. Designed to


attach and secure the end of an electric cable and the device it’s connected to, cable
glands provide earthing, grounding, insulation, bonding and strain relief. They can also
be used to seal cables which pass through bulkheads of gland plates.

They are often located in hazardous or harsh environments where they need to contain
electrical sparks of flames, or repel outside contaminants such as dust, dirt and fluids. In
addition to this, their job is to stop cables becoming twisted or pulled to ensure a secure
connection and continual performance.

So how do you know which cable gland is up to your application?

A world of cable gland choices

As different industries have their own specific requirements, it’s important to choose the
right cable gland to suit the application environment.

There’s a world of choices out there and unfortunately no one-size-fits-all option. But it
does mean that you can custom select a cable gland based on your parameters. And to
do that, you first need to consider a range of environmental and application factors.

The role of the environment

It doesn’t matter whether you’re working in aerospace, industrial, marine, power and
utility, telecommunications or any other key industry. What’s important is identifying the
core application environment of your cable gland.

Are you using it indoors or outdoors? Will it be situated in a safe industrial zone or a
hazardous or explosive environment? What’s the temperature and is it constant? Is the
surrounding area damp or dusty? Are there any gases or corrosive materials nearby?

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glands
Your answers will help determine the cable gland specs and whether it requires a
special protective plating or coating.

Knowing your cable type

Different cables demand different kinds of cable glands. The requirements for an
armoured cable are different to those of unarmoured cables.

Unarmoured cables can be more basic and may have no seal, a single outer seal or a
double outer seal.

Armoured cables have an extra layer of protection to prevent damage. This may be a
single wire armour, braided armour, pliable wire armour or double steel tape armour.

For both types, you also need to consider:

 Cable diameter
 Construction size
 Cable material.
For armoured cables, you also need to consider:

 The diameter of the inner bedding


 The diameter of the lead covering
 The short circuit fault rating of the cable armour
 The type and size of the armour braid.
Choose a material type

Different cable gland materials perform differently depending on the application,


environment and cable type.

The three main types of metal are brass, aluminium and stainless steel. There is also a
wide range of plastic and nylon cable glands to choose from.

Metal cable glands are used in a range of applications, including the chemical industry,
technology and areas with high demands on special mechanical and chemical stability.
The pros are durability over time, even in wet conditions, and its rigid stability.

Plastic cable glands have a wide cable range due to their claw and seal design, which
makes them extremely adaptable to a wide range of applications. The pros are
resistance to salt water, grease and weak acids, to name a few.

Nylon cable glands are specifically designed to have a resistance to UV in outdoor


applications. The pros are high rate of strain relief and an expansive operating
temperature range from -40oC to 100 oC.

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Types of mounting

Depending on your application needs, there’s a wide choice of cable gland mounting
which includes adhesive or compound, flanged or bolted, threaded or nut, mount,
welded and cast.

Extra protection features

Your application or environment may demand the cable gland to possess a specific
quality, above and beyond its basic function. That’s where you may consider one the
following special features:

 Fire-stop cable gland which can withstand fire propagation through a barrier
 Explosion-proof cable glands
 EMI and RFI shielding and associated grounding features to minimise or eliminate
electromagnetic or radio frequency interference
 Romex connections to specifically deal romex cables
 Wire mesh for additional strain relief
 Liquid tight cable glands to protect against penetrating oils and waters.
Ratings and standards

Because cable glands are designed with safety in mind, they come with a rating system
to ensure you know what you’re getting. The Ingress Protection Marking (IP) rates the
glands depending on their design and efficiency throughout different tasks. These rating
often go up to IP68 and IP69K.

Any cable glands you buy today will also be covered by the new European standard for
Cable Glands, EN50262.

It’s important to check that any devices placed in explosive atmospheres comply with
national or international codes of practice.

Final selection checklist

There are a few important considerations that fall outside of the categories above. So
before you choose a cable gland, also ask yourself:

 Is the wire hole diameter large enough to house all the cables in the system?
 Is the cable diameter sufficient?
 Is the pressure rating high enough for your application needs?
 Is the mounting hold diameter large enough for my cable gland?
 Is the depth and size of the gland thread metric or PG?
 Is there a requirement for stopper plugs to close off any unused cable entries?

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glands