What is a Cable Gland and Why Is it Used?

A cable gland, more commonly known as a cable connector, is used to attach the end of an electrical cable to a device. Cable glands are mechanical devices that are used in a number of devices for various purposes. One of the most common types of cable glands is brass cable glands that are used extensively in electrical appliances such as the miniature circuit breakers.

Why are cable glands used?

Cable glands are used in all kinds of electrical circuits and wiring. Cable glands can provide relief from strain for the electrical wiring system.

  • Cable glands provide a certain degree of necessary protection against environmental factors such as dust and other impurities which has the potential to interfere with an electrical wiring system. Brass cable glands are especially useful in this regard as the zinc component in it makes it resistant to corrosion and therefore, can provide better protection.
  • Cable glands are very much necessary for earth continuity. For armored cables where the cable glands are made of metal, these glands can be checked to see if they can withstand a peak in short circuit current.
  • The cable glands can provide a degree of holding force that provides that cable wiring with an appropriate level of resistance to being pulled out from its position.
  • Cable glands also provide the necessary sealing required for cables in case there is a high degree of protection that is necessary to keep the cable in place.
  • Additionally, cable glands, along with certain other equipment, can help maintain a level of protection for the cable sheath and wiring in an electrical system.

Materials used to make cable glands

Cable glands can be made from a number of materials, including non-metals as well as metals.

Brass is a very common alloy that is used to make cable glands. Since it is a copper-zinc alloy, it has certain properties of both copper and zinc that makes it a good choice to make a cable gland. Brass cable glands are good conductors like copper and resistant to corrosion like zinc. When both these properties are combined, brass becomes the perfect material to be used in minute circuit breakers.

Other uses of brass cable connectors or fittings are in switches and electrical circuit boards. Brass indoor type glands are suitable for plastic, steel, or rubber sheathed conducting wires while the outdoor type wires are suitable for sheathed or unsheathed wires. Industrial type cable glands are made from brass, typically, and is recommended to be used with PVC sheaths for added protection for the conducting wires.

Another material used in the manufacturing of cable glands or connectors are nickel and chrome-plated PG glands that come in various shapes and sizes. These are, typically, threaded glands that can be round, hexagonal, spherical, or rectangle in shape.

Cable glands are manufactured by automatic processes according to the specifications of the purpose it is expected to serve. While mostly only metals are used to make them, sometimes non-metals are used along with the metals to increase their strength and ability to provide protection to the wiring. Some manufacturers also provide custom manufacturing options for cable glands to their clients, provided they are given the exact measurements that are necessary for manufacturing cable glands.

The kind of cable gland used will determine the life and quality of function of an electrical system. Hence, a cable gland should be selected only after careful consideration of its type, size, the type of entry where it is to be used, whether the cable is armored or unarmored if the gland needs to provide ingress protection, and so on.

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