Cable Elements | Cables | Cable manufacturing | Material | Miscellaneous


Cable Manufacturing:

Assembling, Laying up
: The operation which allows putting together the various elements of the cable into its core, can be done in one or several steps

Cabling: The process of twisting together individual copper wires to form a multiple-wire conductor

Cabling pitch: When the assembling is done by twisting the elements together (general case) is the length over which they do a complete turn

Crosslinking: A process which converts a thermoplastic polymer into a thermoset polymer (Polyethylene and rubbers). Ths process is most often akin to "cooking"

Continuous casting: A process where liquid copper is cast on a grooved wheel, to produce 8 mm copper wire from copper plates (cathodes)

CV line: Continuous Vulcanization line. The most common method for crosslinking, "cooks" the polymer in a hot, pressurized tube (Steam or Nitrogen)

Drawing: A cold-forming process to produce precisely calibrated copper wire by passing it through a round hole in a die made of a hard material

Extrusion: A process which allows to form elongated objects with a given cross-section. For cables, the section is mostly (but not always) round, and the materials used are polymers or metals. Extrusion is used in particular to form the insulation and the sheaths/jackets

Payoff: The place (reel, tank, basket) from which the elements to be processed are issued into the processing machine

Take-up:  The place (reel, tank, basket) where the elements are collected after processing

Winding: The operation of winding a cable, or an element on a drum (a critical operation for the quality of the product)

Cable Elements:

Armored cable: A mechanical protection around the cable, often formed by lapping steel tapes or wires around the cable

Bedding: A material used to fill the cable core to make it round, for the esthetic, to prevent water ingress, or to make subsequent operations possible (jacket, armor)

Braid: A screen or mechanical protection formed by knitting thin copper, aluminium or steel wires around the cable

Conducting material: A material which allows electrical current to flow (not necessarily used in the cable core)

Conductor: In cable technology, the conductor is a metallic wire (typically copper of aluminium) responsible for carrying the electric current

Core: The ensemble of insulated conductors which assure the electrical functions of the cable

Electrolytic copper: Copper which has been refined to very high purity through an electrolytic process (offers the best conductivity)

Insulating material: A material which does not allow the current to flow (not necessarily used in the cable core)

Insulation: In cable technology, the insulation is the part of the cable which prevents current flow from the conductor (e.g. to other conductors in the core)

Pair: Two insulated conductors twisted together. Is the basic element of telecommunications and data cables

Screen: A metallic envelope around an insulated conductor (MV or HV Cables), around a pair (Telecom or data cables), or around the cable core. The screen must be connected electrically to ground when installing the cable

Sheath (or Jacket): A mechanical protection around the cable core, obtained by forming a metallic or polymeric tube around the cable core


Coaxial cable: A cable where the conductors share a common axis

Data cable: A cable designed to carry data signals

Fire performance: Characterizes the properties of the cable in case of fire. Many standards describe various performance levels in different conditions

Fire resistant: Describes a safety cable which is able to continue assuring its function even after burning (in standardized conditions)

Fire retardant: In general, fire or flame retardant, non-flame-propagating.. designate cable which will not burn easily in case of fire. The actual performance is described by the applicable standards

FTTh Fiber to the home: A Telecom Network structure, where the signal is brought to the final user over an optical fiber

FTTx Fiber to the x: A Telecom Network structure, where  the signal is brought to the x over an optical fiber. X designates a point in the network after which the signal is carried over metallic cables. X can be the curb (on the sidewalk) the building (in the basement) or the home

: High Voltage power cables, typically above 60 kV (and up to above 1000 kV)

Industrial cable: A cable designed to operate in an industrial environment, or for industrial applications

LAN Cable: Local Area Network Cable, 4 pair, or fiber optic cable for computer networks e.g. in office buildings

LV: Low voltage power cables, typically from 0 to a few kV

MV: Medium Voltage power cables, typically from 10 to 50 kV

Power cable: A cable designed to carry power

Specialty cable: A cable designed for specific applications, can be carrying power, or signals or both simultaneously

Telecom cable: A cable designed to carry telecom signals

Umbilical cable: A cable designed to serve a specific piece of equipment, such as an oil well, a remotely operated vehicle, and supply it with all needed services (power, telecom, fluids, etc..)


Additive: A chemical added in small quantity to the polymer to modify its properties (e.g. plasticizer, added to PVC to make it flexible)

Compound: An homogeneous mixture of polymer, additives and fillers

Elastomer (Rubber): A family of polymers characterized by its elasticity. It acquires its properties only after crosslinking

Fluoropolymer: A family of halogenated polymers (Fluor), some thermoplastic, some not, very difficult to burn, but release toxic fumes when burning

Filler: A material added in large quantities to the polymer to modify its properties (e.g. Hydroxides to make HFFR Compounds)

Halogen free: A polymer which contains no halogen

Halogenated polymer: A polymer containing halogens, a family of chemicals including in particular Chlorine and Fluorine, which combine with hydrogen to produce dangerous fumes when burning

HFFR: Halogen Free Fire Retardant, a compound made on a polyethylene base, with a high proportion of specific fillers to make it fire retardant

Paper: Used in cable technology as for the insulation, and for covering the core (traditional technology, now obsoletefor many applications)

Polymer: A chemical element of heavy molecular weight obtained by assembling (polymerization of)many lighter elements (monomers)

Polyethylene: A polymer obtained from ethylene monomer. The material of choice for the insulation. Thermoplastic, Burns easily, and softens around 80°C

PVC: Polyvinyl Chloride, a thermoplastic, halogenated polymer (Chlorine), difficult to burn, but releases toxic fumes when burning

Semiconductor: In cable technology, a material based on polyethylene, rendered very slightly conductive by the addition of carbon black. Used to even out the electric field in Medium- and High-Voltage cables

Technopolymer: A family of polymers characterized by extreme performance (e.g. aramides, a fiber much stronger than steel, used for armoring)

: A polymer which soften and melts when heated

Thermosetting: A polymer which hardens when heated (Crosslinking) and cannot be remelted

XLPE: Crosslinked Polyethylene, has become thermosetting, but can operate around 20°C higher than thermoplastic polyethylene


Cable Accessories: Any device used around the cable, to connect, organize, terminate, install,... it

Coil: For small cable quantities, the cables are delivered in coils, generally under a foil wrap

Connector: A Junction which can be easily realized or dismantled

Drum Reel, bobbin: a wooden, plastic or metallic reel used for the delivery of cable

Junction: A device allowing to connect two lengths of cable to assure a continuity over a greater length

OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer: a company which purchases a product (cable) to incorporate it into its own production

Regulation: A set of rules mandated by a Government or international body, which applies to all products sold under their juridiction

Specification: A set of rules agreed between a vendor and a customer, to define a product. Must comply with regulations, and may require compliance with standards

Superconductivity: a phenomenon by which a material offers no resistance at all to the flow of current, when at a temperature below the "critical temperature". There are two types of superconductive materials: low-temperature superconductors have a critical temperature around -250°C (temperature of liquid helium). High-temperature superconductors have a critical temperature above that of liquid nitrogen (-196°C)

Standard: A set of rules agreed by the members of a profession, to ensure compatibility or safety of their products

Tank: For very large cables, where drums are unpractical, cables are stored in tanks. In the case of submarine cables, the loading is done directly from the shore tank to the ship's tank

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