Oil Resistant Cables: Know How Important They Are!

Demands of the industrial environment are ongoing, with ever-changing trends. Cables that were able to sustain functional and operational integrity a decade ago would not be adequate to survive in the environment of a present day manufacturing site. Everywhere, from the renewable energy industry and automotive assembly plants to the factories that manufacture small office machines, and even in some commercial buildings, oil resistant cables have become increasingly important.

Oils serve a dual-purpose in industrial applications, both as a coolant and lubricant, depending upon the requirements mandated by the end use application. Sustaining trouble-free cable operation under harsh chemical and environmental conditions reduces costly manufacturing downtime and helps to eliminate or minimize periodic maintenance and costly cable replacement. All of the factors mentioned play a major role that is critical to a consistent, smoothly run manufacturing operation, which in the end results in higher profit margins.

Purpose & Application Of Oil Resistant Cables

Why does oil cause such damage on certain types of insulations and jackets and how does this occur? All compounds are not the same. For example, certain types of PVC have a higher degree of flame resistance, some have better oil resistance and some demonstrate improved flexibility characteristics. PVC formulations vary greatly depending on the desired properties and applications. These properties can be achieved by adjusting the formulations of a particular PVC compound. The modification or addition of flame retardants, stabilizers and fillers allow the compound to exhibit these types of enhanced characteristics.

The specific application will determine if oil is used as a lubricant and/or coolant. Acting as a lubricant, oil would be applied to a gear system driven by motors to prevent premature wear down and insure smooth operation. Acting as a coolant, oil is applied during the machine lathing process to keep metal from becoming too hot. There are many factors involved regarding how oil will attack wire and cable such as exposure, ambient temperature, and also possible continued immersion. In general, increases in the amount of exposure, the frequency and the ambient temperature, the faster oil will start the deterioration process. In short, oil attacks the insulating compound, where it will become virtually ineffective in its primary role as an effective insulator. This action can create a possibly very hazardous situation not only to human life, but also to the overall function of the industrial machinery to which it is connected. This results in very expensive downtime, costly repair, and in the worst-case scenario, entire replacement of the machine.

Lapp has always been the pioneer for highly flexible industrial cables. Today, Lapp offers a wide range of highly flexible cables oil resistant cables for control and power applications in industrial environments. These cables have also been engineered and tested to be oil, coolant and chemical resistant and withstand dry, damp and wet conditions and therefore allowing you to save money on downtime and lost production.

When you need a cable that can route and bend to conform to your machine without damage, ÖLFLEX® is the one brand you can trust.


Oil resistant cables have now become a critical performance parameter when electrical contractors, engineers and installers specify cables for end use application designs. The continued growing popularity of oil resistant cables is due to changes in standard regulations and the increased performance characteristics that are mandated by certain industries: renewable energy, automotive assembly plants, and other production facilities. As time moves forward superior oil resistant cables will become standard rather than the exception, and the demand for this type of operating performance will only continue to grow.