PVC Cables or PUR Cables: How to Choose the Right Cable

May 22, 2018      

Cables are an essential part of any industrial application. It is important to make sure that you choose the appropriate cable material for the environment, especially where chemical cleaning solutions, cutting fluids, and other caustic liquids are present.  The two main types of cables used in industrial applications are either PVC or PUR, and they are each suited to different types of environments. This article describes the difference between PVC and PUR cables and when to use each type of cable.   

Safety controller in a cabinet

PVC Cables and When to Use Them

PVC cables are Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) cables that are sheathed and insulated.  PVC cables are an excellent choice for most chemical washdown applications in the food industry and beverage industry.  They have good-to-excellent resistance to common cleaning solvents including, but not limited to:

  • Sodium Hypochlorite
  • Sodium Hydroxide
  • Potassium Hydroxide
  • Peracetic Acid
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds

It is also important to take into consideration the concentration of chemicals, temperatature of the process, and the duration and frequency of exposure since these factors can impact the suitability of PVC for these applications.  Furthermore, PVC has limited resistance to oils, making it less suited for automotive and machine tool industries.

In addition to being resistant to common cleaning chemicals, PVC cables are generally more rigid than other types of cables. This makes them suitable for use in applications where they will be exposed to high temperature, high pressure washdown.  The rigidity of the PVC sheathing protects the cable from damage and extends the life of the cable. 

A PVC cable with IP69K rating means it is sealed against the ingress of water even during washdown. However, the rigidity of PVC cables can be a disadvantage in freezer applications, where low temperatures can cause the material to crack if the cables are being flexed.  Discuss your specific application with an expert to determine the best cable material in these circumstances.

PUR Cables and When to Use Them

PUR (or polyurethane) is a thermoplastic material used for cable jackets.  Because PUR cables are resistant to cutting fluids, oils, and other harsh chemicals, they are a good choice for many automotive manufacturing, stamping and machining applications. 

PUR cables also have high tensile strength, tear resistance, and abrasion resistance. They are also extremely flexible, with a small bend radius.  This makes them ideal for applications where connections move or bend frequently, such as robotic applications.  

Condition  PVC Cable PUR Cable
Cleaning Chemicals  ⬛  
Washdown Applications  ⬛  
Cutting Fluids/Oils    ⬛
Repeated Flexing     ⬛

For More Information

Contact an engineer to help you select the right cable for your application. 

Related Articles

How To Use IP & NEMA Ratings To Choose The Right Sensor
How To Use IP & NEMA Ratings To Choose The Right Sensor

This article answers some common questions about IP and NEMA ratings, when to use them and how to broadly interpret these designations.

Read More