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In our This vs. That series, we're comparing (and contrasting) two seemingly similar products. A lot of products seem the same at first glance but can greatly affect the outcome of your next application. Today, we're comparing tray and teck cables.

Tray cable and teck cable are power cables both used for direct burial purposes. However, there are some key differences between them. For instance, teck cable is rated to Canadian standards and tray cable is not. This article will dive deeper into the intricacies of these cables, highlighting what makes them unique.

What is Tray Cable?

Tray cables are multi-conductor and multi-paired cables generally used in signal and energy transmission with minimum interference, and installation in trays, wireways, troughs, ducts, conduits, and channels. There are several different types of tray cable, including Type TC Tray Cable, Power Limited Tray Cable (Type PLTC), Instrument Tray Cable (Type ITC), Wind Turbine Tray Cable (Type WTTC), and Exposed Run Tray Cable (TC-ER). Depending on your specific application’s needs, one tray cable rating may work better than another.

What is Teck Cable?

Teck cable, known as TECK90 Cable, is CSA approved cable rated 600 to 5kV. Teck cable is found in single and multiple conductor constructions with an inner jacket, aluminum or steel interlocked armor, and a PVC jacket. Often dual rated NEC type MC cable, TECK90 is designed for use in hazardous applications (HL Rated) in the mining, petroleum, chemical, and pulp and paper industries.

Tray Cable Teck Cable
Conductor Bare Copper or Tinned Copper depending on rating Available in multi-conductor, multi-pair, or multi-triad configurations Bare Copper or Aluminum; Available in a single conductor, multi-conductor, and composite configurations
Insulation Many options available including PVC/Nylon, XLPE, and EPR Most commonly XLPE and EPR but others may be available
Shielding Optional, can be overall, individually, or both; Most commonly unshielded, but optional in form of tape shield or
Jacket Many options available including PVC, CPE Most commonly PVC
Armor Only when rated Type MC AIA ALUMINUM INTERLOCKED ARMOUR or GSIA Galvanized Steel Interlocked Armor
Temperature rating Depends on the materials used; typically 90°C -40°C to 90°C
Voltage 150V for ITC, 300V for PLTC, and 600V for TC; WTTC can be rated up to 1000V 600V, 1000V, 5kV, even up to 28kV  as HVTECK
Approving agency UL / NEC (can be CSA dual rated) CSA (can be dual rated to UL Type MC)

How Do They Compare?

There is a lot of overlap between teck cable and tray cable when it comes to their construction. Both can feature bare copper conductors, XLPE or EPR insulation, and PVC jackets. However, there are a few significant differences that set these cables apart as well.

All teck cable features a bare copper ground wire in the construction, which provides a conducting path from the wire to its endpoint. Teck cable is also always armored. Although there are certain tray cables with grounds and armor, not all types of tray cables offer these features.