To Say "VFD" it Must Include XLPE

Posted on Monday, May 5, 2014 by Alpha Wire


Recently, some of our competitors have been marketing tray cables with PVC/Nylon insulated conductors as Variable-Frequency Drive (VFD) cables. Although it’s often perfectly acceptable to use such insulations to power a VFD, we believe that using any insulation other than Cross-Linked Polyethylene (XLPE) as a “VFD Cable” is misleading at best.

Again, many VFD applications utilize a non-XLPE insulated cable, primarily for cost and flexibility/routability reasons. In shorter runs with less horsepower, such usage is typically harmless and the PVC or PVC/Nylon insulation can withstand the complex current required to power VFDs. However, with longer runs and heavier loads, substantial risk is placed on the entire VFD system cable with a PVC or PVC/Nylon insulation.

XLPE is used due to its impedance characteristics and effectiveness in preventing corona discharge. Alpha has published a white paper on selecting the right VFD cable that details the eccentricities of a VFD signal. Our advice? Don’t risk your VFD system life with an inferior cable, either knowingly or unknowingly. If you need better flexibility, there are many XLPE-insulated options out there, including our own V-Flex VFD cable. If you need better costing, try a 3-Conductor VFD cable with an uninsulated ground.

And when you see a cable claiming to be “VFD,” make sure it includes the letters “XLPE."

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