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Instrumentation cables are essential components in manufacturing industries and process sectors. They serve the important function of transmitting low-energy signals, which are carefully regulated and monitored by electronic circuitry control systems. These cables are designed to provide optimal signal transmission while protecting against interference and interruptions.

In the industrial setting, various types of instrumentation cables are available, each made with different materials. The choice of materials for instrumentation cables typically depends on factors such as insulation and shielding requirements. Understanding the materials commonly employed in the design of these cables might provide useful insights into their operation and applications.

1. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) is a commonly utilised material in the cable industry, playing roles as both a sheathing and insulation material. It is highly versatile and has found extensive application in this sector.

One of the significant advantages of PVC instrumentation cables is their inherent self-extinguishing and flame-retardant properties. PVC can be easily modified to cater to various application requirements, such as outdoor and indoor use, direct burial or conduit installation, and suitability for both low- and high-temperature environments. This adaptability makes PVC instrumentation cables a versatile solution for diverse cable applications.

2. Polyethylene (PE)

Like PVC, PE (Polyethylene) is also often used as either a sheathing or an insulation

material. It boasts remarkable resistance to chemicals, including oils, and exhibits extremely low moisture absorption. Furthermore, PE demonstrates excellent mechanical strength and is particularly resistant to low temperatures.

However, it is worth noting that PE instrumentation cables tend to have more stringent requirements due to the hardness and flammability of the material. Due to such flammability, PE sheathing is typically utilised only in cables intended for direct burial or outdoor applications, where the risk of flammability is carefully managed.

3. Cross-Linked Polyethylene (XLPE)

XLPE (Cross-linked Polyethylene) is mainly used as an insulation material. It enhances the performance of a cable, thereby increasing its temperature and chemical resistance. Due to their structure, XLPE instrumentation cables possess exceptional resistance to abrasion and various forms of wear and tear.

One of the notable advantages of XLPE is its insulation capability, which remains effective across both low and high temperatures. This makes XLPE instrumentation cables suitable for a wide range of operating conditions. Moreover, XLPE exhibits excellent resilience when subjected to high-voltage electricity, making it a reliable choice for applications requiring robust insulation properties.

4. Low Smoke Zero Halogen (LSZH)

LSZH (Low Smoke Zero Halogen) materials are commonly utilised as an alternative to PVC materials in situations where there is a significant risk to equipment and human life in the event of a fire. LSZH instrumentation cables are designed to minimise hazards by not producing halogen acid gases and emitting high levels of dense black smoke, unlike their PVC counterparts when exposed to fire.

One of the advantages of LSZH materials is their ability to incorporate various additives that enhance chemical resistance. This allows LSZH instrumentation cables to withstand exposure to a wide range of potentially corrosive substances, further ensuring their reliability and safety in demanding environments.

5. Steel Wire Armoured (SWA) 

SWA (Steel Wire Armoured) cables are widely employed to provide robust resistance against mechanical impact. These cables consist of either flat or round galvanised steel wires that are helically wrapped around the insulation of the conductors, forming a protective layer.

The primary advantage of using SWA materials lies in their ability to offer substantial protection to the cables, minimising the risk of damage. The steel wire armour effectively shields the cables from external forces such as impact, abrasion, and compression.

As a result, SWA cables are commonly utilised in applications where mechanical protection is crucial, particularly in external or harsh environments. This ensures the durability and longevity of the cables, even under demanding conditions.


Instrumental cable design utilises various materials, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, it is crucial to differentiate between these materials to ensure the selection of instrumentation cable that best meets your specific requirements.

Cable Source is a reliable and seasoned supplier of high-quality industry cables in Singapore. Our extensive range of cables includes instrumentation cables, tinned marine wires, flame resistant and fire retardant cables, offshore power cables, and more. And if you require electrical earth cables, flexible control cables, or any other specific type of cable, we offer reliable solutions tailored to meet your unique needs. Please visit our website for detailed information about our instrumentation cable catalogue and other offerings.