According to current wiring regulations, where a cable is concealed in a wall or partition at depth of less than 50mm it must be enclosed in earthed metal capping or conduit (trunking) or installed in zones either horizontally within 150mm of the top of the wall or vertically to the wiring accessory or consumer unit. For retrofit installations in particular, therefore, use of conduit can enable less invasive installations and greater flexibility for the location of cables.
From both a safety and service life perspective, the increased use of conduit for UK electrical installations is good news. The more challenging element of this evolving trend, however, is the need to protect the electrical cables as they are pulled through the conduit during installation.
Regardless of the type of cable or conduit used, or whether the installation is in a commercial or domestic, or an interior or exterior setting, cabling is vulnerable to damage as it is pulled through the conduit unless a suitable lubricant is used. When installing cables in conduit, therefore, lube is an essential part of any electrician’s toolkit.
What to Look for in an Electrical Lube
The most fundamental property of any electrical lubricant is that it must be benign when in contact with the jacket material of the cable so that it not only protects the cable from friction or snagging but also prevents any loss of integrity for the jacket that protects the wire. As a wide range of jacket materials are used in cable manufacture, checking that the chosen lubricant is certified for use on the specific cable being installed is essential.
All Ideal Industries lubricants have been independently tested to IEEE (Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers) & UL standards and are clearly labelled to enable electricians to verify compatibility. They are also pH neutral, environmentally safe, non-toxic, non-flammable and non-corrosive.
The “clingability” of the lubricant is also essential as this determines how well the lubricant performs throughout the pull. This is particularly important for longer and more complex runs.
Ideal Industries’ Yellow 77 Wire Pulling Lubricant ensures cable is as protected as possible all the way through the pull. In terms of clingability, it offers maximum performance, with enhanced clingability throughout long pulls, even where moisture is present or in tougher environments. Yellow 77 also has the lowest co-efficient of friction of any lubricant in Ideal’s range; the lower the co-efficient of friction, the more protected the cable will be all the way through the pull.
Temperature stability is also important when selecting the correct lube, as its performance can be affected if installed outside the recommended temperature range. For Yellow 77, the temperature range is 0°C – 54°C, providing sufficient variability for most UK installations.
Most commonly used for industrial and commercial installations, Yellow 77 is safe to use with most cable types and is available in a 1qt squeeze bottle and 1 and 5 gallon buckets. The homogeneous blend requires no mixing, with its creamy texture simple to apply uniformly by hand or brush. What’s more, a surface coat forms to control evaporation, ensuring the lube doesn’t dry out, and it won’t break down or separate after repeated exposure to freezing temperatures. With its wax-based formula and superior lubricity, it’s easy to see why Yellow 77 has been the number 1 brand of wire pulling lubricant since 1959.