Insulation Selection

The Importance of Insulation

One of the most important components of a wire is its insulation. The selection of insulation is determined by a number of factors including stability and required life, dielectric properties, resistance to temperature, resistance to moisture, mechanical strength and flexibility. There is no single insulation that is ideal in every one of these applications. It is necessary to select a product with the type of insulation which best meets the requirements of the application. For example, compressor motors used in refrigerators must use wire insulations which are compatible with the refrigerants to which the wire will be exposed. The refrigerator box must be wired with material that will not impart odors to food, etc. Similarly, gasoline pumps need wire that will not deteriorate in the presence of gasoline vapors. There are also applications where the wire must be able to withstand exposure to liquids or chemicals

There are many requirements in high-production applications where the process dictates the kind of insulation chosen. Insulation must be solder-resistant in some electronic applications where circuit boards are used. Other applications call for wire capable of encapsulation or that will withstand varnish treatment and bake cycles.

Specifying an Insulation

Do you have a UL style, a CSA type or an SAE type? If "YES" this should answer most of your questions. If "NO", listed below are some simple questions that should get you to the proper product.

  1. What is the approving body? (UL, CSA, CE, SAE, ISO)
  2. What voltage is required?
  3. What temperature is required?
  4. Is plastic okay? Limited mechanical abuse? If so, thermoplastic may be a potential solution for your application.
  5. Need a higher durability than plastic? Thermosetting compounds such as EPR, Silicone and Hypalon offer greater flexibility, higher temperatures and abrasion. XLP products provide high temperatures, chemical resistance, thin insulation levels and easy processing. Most often used for motor lead, panel wiring, varnish bake cycles.
  6. What is the application, how are you using the product?