Power cables

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Power cables

Power cables constitute a wide group of products used in power networks and electrical installations. In the latter case, power cables are used mainly to supply large loads - most often electrical switchboards or consumer transformer stations or production lines, etc.

Earth and overhead power cables

Apart from the quite obvious division into earth cables and overhead cables, power cables are often categorized by voltage, distinguishing:

  • LV power cables, i.e. low voltage cables that can be used in a network with a voltage not exceeding 1 kV,

  • MV power cables, i.e. medium voltage cables with values ​​ranging from 1 to 35 kV,

  • HV power cables, i.e. high voltage cables in networks with a voltage of 36 to 150 kV,

  • EWN power cables - this group includes cables for the highest voltage from 220 to 420 kV.

High voltage cables are usually used by the Transmission System Operator responsible for the highest voltage grids in Poland, as well as by Distribution System Operators. Only in the case of really large plants in terms of energy requirements, they are powered from high-voltage lines. There are many more facilities to which electricity is supplied via MV cables, as are consumers powered by low voltage lines.

Earth power cables

The most commonly used earth cables are low and medium voltage aluminium cables. For low voltage (0.6 / 1 kV), multi-core cables are usually used, with each conductor separate from the rest. In medium voltage, aluminium cables are usually single-core cables with a cross section of 70 to even 1000 mm. In particularly difficult working conditions, cables made of thickened aluminium are used.

Another type of earth cables often used is copper media. Copper cables are characterized by better parameters than aluminium in terms of conductivity, as well as flexibility and resistance to changing weather conditions. Unfortunately, they are more expensive than aluminium ones.

Despite the considerable popularity of aluminium and copper cables, especially the latter, halogen-free power cables are becoming more and more important. They are used in locations where there is a particularly high risk of fire and in public utility buildings. Among the frequently used power cables, one should also mention those with multi-stranded conductors. They are made of copper and their characteristic feature is the non-uniform structure of the veins. Due to the double insulation, they are successfully used in municipal power installations.

Overhead cables

Among overhead power cables, there are media designed for various voltages. In terms of construction, three types of overhead cables should be distinguished:

  • bare overhead cables (without insulation) - used in high-voltage lines outside built-up areas. The most common are single-core cables with a cross-section from a few to several hundred millimeters,

  • insulated overhead cables - usually used in low and medium voltage networks, in built-up areas. They are used to supply electricity to individual households and small businesses. Such cables are usually aluminium, multi-core cables in cross-linked polyethylene insulation,

  • self-supporting cables - cables hung on poles or supports, held in place by a wire or rope.

Designations of the most commonly used power cables

Power cables, like installation cables, are characterized by markings indicating, among others, on the conductor material, insulation material, intended use and others. The cables most commonly used in the power industry include the following cables:

  • AFL - bare steel-aluminium rope,

  • AsXSn - self-supporting overhead cable in PVC insulation with copper wires,

  • YKY - earth cable with copper conductors, PVC insulation and sheath,

  • YAKY - earth cable with aluminium conductors, PVC insulation and sheath.

In addition to lettering, cable manufacturers always provide their cross-section. For example, a YKY 4x25 cable means 4 wires with a cross section of 25 mm2 each.