When preparing for a job, it’s important to make sure your tools are equipped in the most efficient and effective way possible. When browsing welding cable for sale online, always ensure that you are keeping the four most important factors of welding cable in mind: sizing, ampacity, strand count, and insulation. Your individual needs in each of these categories will depend on the requirements of the job, but some basic considerations can guide you to the correct decision.
The first factor to consider is the strength of the current being used for the job. Higher electrical currents require cables rated for higher ampacity (ampere capacity), which means a thicker gauge cable with a shorter length. The longer a cable is, the more ampacity is lost as a result of resistance. The same rule applies for cable gauge; the thinner the cable, the less current it can handle, and therefore the less ampacity rating. Picking a cable with the right ampacity rating for your job is the most important consideration because running a strong current through a weaker cable can lead to a risk of fire.
Determining the ampacity demands of the job leads to the second consideration: sizing needs. Depending on the needs of the job site, it may be important to balance sizing needs against ampacity needs. A high ampacity wire, for example, may not be needed for a job in which a weaker current will be used, and for which length of cable will be important. It’s key to consider how far from the power sources your welding torch will be. If the workplace is going to be a good distance from a power source, lengthy cables will be required, and if the welding current is going to be high, you will need to select a cable, which is thicker to compensate for the additional length required. Because of the way resistance functions over the length of cable, it will always be a balancing act of thickness and length when considering which cable to select.
The next major consideration in deciding on a cable is the flexibility of the cable. Cables with high strand counts grant greater cable flexibility, which can be important if your workplace will be in a hard-to-reach location or requires welding from multiple angles. While strand counts can affect cable thickness on the extreme ends of the spectrum (incredibly high strand counts will eventually take up more space, requiring the cable to be a larger gauge), there are usually multiple options within a specific cable size for strand count variety.
The last factor to consider when browsing welding cable for sale online is the type and coloration of the cable insulation. Insulation prevents electrical current from being transferred outside of the cable and protects workers (and the workplace itself) from injury or damage. Abrasion, oil, cleaning supplies, extreme temperatures, and many other chemicals or environmental characteristics can take a toll on cables, making it very important to select a cable with an insulation material that is resistant to the hazards of your workplace. Additionally, it is important for workplace safety to purchase cables with easily identifiable coloration so that cables do not get mixed up in the heat of the job. Always use distinctly colored cables for jobs that demand varied cable types.
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