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Everything you need to know about tray cables


Tray cables are the assembly of two or more insulated conductors for installation in cable trays. It is a multi-purpose cable which can be used in different kind of locations and environments, whether it is indoors, outdoors, shielded or left out in the open.

The output provided by these cables can support structures of any size. Due to its versatile nature, it is widely used in refineries, control systems, intercom systems, and for many other high-power functions.

From light industrial applications to the most massive projects on the market, tray cables are a great asset to a wide range of utility and construction companies.

General Features of Tray Cables

  • If tray cables are rated as pre-approved and tested from the manufacturers, it can be used in direct sun exposure and can be buried underground.
  • It can be used indoors to power a small home, office buildings, and huge structures.
  • It can also be used outdoors, but only if it has been approved for installation from the manufacturing company.
  • The versatile nature of tray cables helps in regulating the power, even when exposed to a conduit.

Components of a tray cable

A tray cable has five layers, which include conductor, drain, shield, insulation, and jacket.


A conductor is the innermost part of a tray cable. It is made up of copper wire. It’s the core of the stray cable which carries the information across the transmission line.


The drain wire carries all the unwanted electrical signals and transfers it to the ground. It is usually made up of tin and copper. It helps in preventing dissimilar reactions between the core conductor and the aluminum screen. 


A shield around the cable acts as a protective layer and helps in eliminating the influence of electromotive intrusion around drives, motors, and radio equipment. Tray cables are generally shielded in vertical or spirally wrapped tapes.


Depending upon the purpose and location where the tray cables are going to be installed, different kinds of materials are used to provide insulation.

Thermoplastic high heat-resistant nylon (THHN) are used in the places where the cables are exposed to extreme heat,  Similarly, Thermoplastic high heat-resistant nylon water-resistant is used where the cables are exposed to both heat and water. Cross-linked polyolefin, Ethylene propylene rubber (EPR), Flame retardant ethylene propylene and others are also used to provide proper insulation to a tray cable.


A jacket is the outermost coating and first contact of the tray cable to the outside environment. Typically, the surface coating of a tray cable is made up of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and Chlorinated Polyethylene (CPE). It produces thick black smoke when it gets in contact with the fire. As a result, Low smoke zero halogens (LSZH) are much widely used as it produces 20% of the smoke produced by a PVC. 


It is essential to know the fundamental aspects of a tray cable. Understanding the anatomy and characteristics of a tray cable helps you perceive a thorough insight into your product options. It also allows you to make better wire and cable choices.

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