The Non-Metallic Cable Glands Taking on Metallic Head to Head in Industrial Extreme Conditions

CapeIndustries News

In the heavy industrial electrical industry, the pervasive assumption is that metal is the only choice when specifying cable glands. Especially in extreme conditions, such as oil and gas projects, mining, water treatment, shipbuilding wind turbines, and military applications, stainless steel is considered the only cable gland capable of performing under and in harsh, extreme conditions. After decades of working under this assumption, the time has come to revolutionize traditional metal cable glands, as well as eliminate the problems that come with them.

Metal cable glands (also known as cable connectors and teck connectors) as the status quo also come with a host of problems. The traditional method for proper selection and sizing cable glands gives the installer very limited flexibility for the often-changing cable diameters when fitting the cable into the cable gland. Existing cable glands are not only very size and material specific depending on applications, they are expensive in terms of manufacturing cost. Stainless steel cable glands often have extended weeks of lead time for delivery. Not to mention, incorrect installation can have catastrophic results.

Simply put, metal cable glands come with a variety of pain points. They:

  • Are expensive to purchase
  • Are complex to select and install accurately
  • Are heavy
  • Have long delivery lead times (stainless steel)

With steep financial and safety consequences, the heavy industrial electrical industry requires a reliable and cost-effective alternative to stainless steel cable glands.

Is plastic the solution?

The short answer is no. Common plastic cable glands cannot withstand harsh conditions in extreme environments. Plus, they are not suitable to provide electrical grounding for use with armored cables, which are a growing trend.

So, what is the solution?

Cable glands made from advanced polymers and patented innovations that replace metallic materials and traditional designs. This type of non-metallic cable gland can replace the current gold standard of stainless steel. How? By giving contractors, OEMs and system integrators a cable gland that reduces cost, installation time and weight without sacrificing the durability and performance of metal.

Making the transition from metal to non-metallic.

Several industries, including automotive, military, aerospace, medical and life sciences already are undergoing a transition to non-metallic materials in applications. Now, with the availability of CAPE Industries cable glands, the heavy industrial electrical industry is making its own transition.

A CAPE cable gland has two elements previously unavailable in the cable gland market:

  1. High performance polymers designed to meet or exceed the most extreme environmental and industrial demands.
  2. Stainless steel constant force spring engineered to provide electrical continuity and grounding, with 360-degree constant-force contact to the cable.

CAPE cable glands are manufactured using precision injection moldingof high-performance engineering plastics and elastomeric materials. Engineering plastics are a group of thermoplastics that are tough, reliable, and suitable for work in extreme environments.

For the heavy industrial electrical industry, these non-metallic materials provide a variety of benefits compared to metallic cable glands.

The Material

Lower cost. In nearly all cases, the raw material for even high-performance thermoplastics and elastomeric materials costs less than metals. Also, plastic manufacturing processes are, in general, more streamlined and efficient than those for metal — thus, they cost less as well. Whereas metal production is typically done via machining — removing material to shape each piece — plastic injection molding creates numerous pieces at once, with vastly less waste. These efficiencies add up over time, reducing costs for the entire supply chain.

Lighter weight. Considering the tens of thousands of cable glands used in heavy industrial electrical projects, weight is an issue. CAPE’s non-metallic cable glands are measurably lighter to deliver savings in weight load and operating weight, fuel efficiencies, manufacturing and shipping.

Resistant. CAPE’s non-metallic cable glands material is resistant to corrosion, fire, impact, UV, water, dust, hydrocarbons, chemicals and most acids.

Suitable for extreme climates. CAPE’s engineered plastics and elastomeric materials are suitable for temperatures ranging from -60 C to +80 C (-76F to +176F).

The Design

CAPE’s patented cable glands are housed within a robust thermoplastic exoskeleton with an integrated stainless steel spring that delivers 360-degree constant force to provide required electrical ground connection for the cable armor.

Compared to traditional metal cable glands, CAPE’s has just four parts that reduce overall installation time, project timeline and labor costs without sacrificing strength or reliability and with resistance to the elements listed above.

Non-metallic cable glands from CAPE combine the benefits of lighter weight and comparable strength making them not only a revolutionary choice for use with armored cables, but also the alternative that competes head to head with metallic cable glands in extreme environments. The transition is underway, and it’s time for industrial electrical contractors, OEM’s, automation providers and system integrators to join.