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What is Tray Cable?

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Tray cable is often used in industrial plants, chemical plants, and commercial buildings for power and control applications. Tray cable can be used either outdoors or indoors. When outdoors, tray cable is resistant to sunlight, but to be buried directly. This makes it useful in both underground applications and applications that involve contact with direct sunlight. Along with sunlight, tray cable is also resistant to moisture and heat allowing it to withstand tough conditions and minimize interference. Tray cable is typically meant to be used in a conduit or cable tray, but functions well when exposed, as long as it meets the exposed run (ER) requirement of the property it is being used on.

General Features & Benefits of Tray Cable
    Sunlight resistant jacket
    Can be used outdoors
    Direct burial applicable
    Must meet (ER) exposed run requirements for the property it is being used on
Most Common Tray Cable Insulation Material
    PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
    XLPE (Cross-Linked Polyethylene)
    EPR (Ethylene Propylene Rubber)
Most Common Tray Cable Jacket Material
     PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
    CPE (Chlorinated Polyethylene)
    LSZH (Low Smoke Zero Halogen)

There are a few different types of Tray cable that are useful for different applications and conditions. For instance, PLTC and VNTC are similar general use tray cables, but PLTC is rated for a lower voltage as it is meant to be used in power-limited circuits. Some other properties that can differentiate the types of tray cables include flame resistance and flexibility.

Types
    Power-Limited Tray Cable (PLTC)
        Commonly used in power-limited circuits and in the mass transit industry
        Rated to 300 volts
        PVC jacket for resistance to sunlight and moisture
    Vinyl Nylon Tray Cable (VNTC) Tray Cable
        General usage in manufacturing, industrial, and commercial distribution systems.
        Rated to 600 volts
        PVC jacket for resistance to sunlight and moisture
        NEC 318 and 340 Approved
        Rated for Class 1 Division 2 hazardous locations
    XLP/PVC Tray Cable
        Useful in extreme conditions that require extra resistance to heat, weather, and chemicals
        Rated to 600 volts
        Cross-linked flame-retardant polyethylene (XLP) insulation
        PVC jacket allows for resistance to sunlight, corrosion, and moisture. They can also be either oil
            resistant or flame resistant.
        UL 1277 Approved
        Rated for Class 1 Division 2 hazardous locations
    Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) Cable
        Used to connect the variable frequency drive system to a motor
        Meant to withstand the temperature fluctuations caused by varying amounts of electricity flowing 
            through the cable. 
        PVC jacket for sunlight and oil resistance
        Rated for Class 1 Division 2 hazardous locations
    EPR/CPE Tray Cable
        Rated to 600 volts
        Flame-retardant ethylene propylene rubber (EPR) insulation
        Chlorinated polyethylene (CPE) jacket resistant to flame, sunlight, heat, and oil.
        IEEE 383 Certified
        Rated for Class 1 Division 2 hazardous locations

Image of a VFD Tray Cable

Tray Cable Hazardous Condition Class Designations
    Class I - Protection against gases and vapors
        Class 1 Division 1 - Protected against gases and vapors that are normally present. Wire and cable with
             this rating is meant to withstand long term exposure to these types of substances. 
        Class 1 Division 2 - Protected against gases and vapors that are not normally present, but may
             appear. Wire and cable with this rating is not necessarily meant to withstand constant exposure to
             these substances but will be protected in case of a ventilation accident or other accidental
             occurrences of these gases or vapors.

If tray cables are unarmored, and they would be considered under Class 1 Division 2. In order to be rated Class 1 Division 1, the cables must be armored.

Standards and Guidelines For Tray Cable Ratings
    IEEE 383 - Flame tested to 70,000 BTUs
    NEC 318 - guidelines for use in cable trays
    NEC 340 - guidelines for underground use
    UL 1277 - gas/vapor-tight continuous sheath

Filed Under: Allied Product News

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