Cable glands: what they are, their uses and how they work (2023)

If you are a student, tradesman or engineer, you may have heard the term "cable gland" before, but you don't know what they are and what they are used for.

In this article, we will discuss what cable glands are and what their various uses are. We will also look at how some of the different types on the market work. Whether you're new to the world of cable glands or just want to learn more about them, keep reading!

Cable glands are used in many electrical systems and applications, but what exactly are they used for? Cable glands are typically used for cables with a diameter of 1 mm to about 80 mm.

Cable glands may also be known as cable grips, cable grips, cable glands, cable glands, cable connectors or cable strain reliefs.

What is a cable gland?

A cable gland is a type of device used to terminate and protect the end of a cable. The cable gland is placed at the end of the cable and then tightened, which compresses the gland around the cable. This ensures a watertight and secure connection. Cable glands are used in a wide variety of applications, such as computer equipment, electrical panels, and cable television systems. Cable glands are mechanical entry points for an electrical cable into an electrical installation or panel. They are used in conjunction with electrical cables or wiring in many different systems.

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The cable gland ensures safe entry of the electrical cable into enclosures such as electrical panels or instrument panels. They ensure the sealing, safety and protection of electrical installations, cables and housings.

Cable glands come in many different sizes and styles depending on the application. Some common types of cable glands include clamping gland, clamping gland, locking gland, strain relief and weatherproof gland. Clamping glands are used to terminate unshielded cables. Clamping glands are used to terminate armored cables. Locking inputs provide a locking mechanism to prevent cable disconnection. Strain relief chokes are used to reduce the load on the cable. Weatherproof glands provide protection against moisture and dust.

Cable glands must be properly installed to function properly. Improper installation may cause hardware damage or disconnection. Follow the manufacturer's instructions when installing the cable gland.

What does a cable gland look like?

The figure below shows a typical cable gland design. It also shows all the individual components that make up the cable gland and where they are located.

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From left to right.

Walnut– the nut on the left side blocks the inlet inside the plate or casing. This securely holds the gland in place.

Body– in this part the cable slips and catches on the mechanism on the right side. It closes when the nut is tightened.

Stamp– the gasket is located at the end of the body at the cable entry point. The gasket provides additional protection against the ingress of water and dust/dirt.

Walnut– the end nut secures the cable in place. Tightening this nut means you will not be able to move the cable and it will be mechanically locked.

What is the purpose of the cable gland?

The main purpose of a cable gland is to protect an electrical system or component at the cable entry point. They protect against the penetration of dust, water and all kinds of impurities into the interior of the panel or housing where the cable enters. They also grip the cable, preventing it from being pulled out of the terminals if caught or pulled.

They do it as follows:

  • Providing protection from the environment they are in– if the cable entry point is in a humid or dusty environment, the cable gland protects against the ingress of water, dust or dirt. One of their main purposes is to keep the dashboard or switchboard clean and free from moisture/water ingress.
  • Secure cable hold– holder for cable glands on the outer sheath of the cable. In this way, they securely hold the cable in place and provide a certain level of protection against the cable being pulled out or twisted.
  • Sealing– cable glands provide an exceptionally high level of tightness when using and installing a gland of the appropriate size.
  • For cable management– cable grommets can be used to lead electric wires at the entrance to the panel. They provide a neat method of organizing cable entries and also provide an easy way to separate cables if more than one is passing through the panel.

Where are cable glands used?

Cable glands are used in electrical and instrumentation panels that require cable entry. They can be found on almost every electrical panel you come across. Machine electrical panels may be placed in damp factory environments or exposed to any outdoor weather conditions. Cable glands prevent water ingress and dirt or dust from entering the board through cable entry points.

Cable glands can also be found locallyinsulatingboxes,electric enginejunction boxes and lots of electrical equipment.

What are cable glands made of?

Cable glands can be manufactured from many different materials, with some of the most common types being those made of metal or plastic. The choice of material depends on the type of cable used, the environment and whether the gland should be corrosion resistant or not.

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Stainless steel cableglands tend to be more expensive, but are generally stronger and can be tightened to a high level to protect against all kinds of unwanted entrances.

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Plastic cable glandscan be used in applications where strong chemicals or lots of water are used. This type of cable gland resists corrosion and still provides a high level of sealing.

Brass cable glandsthey are widely used in the instrumentation, machinery and medical industries. Brass cable glands provide excellent corrosion resistance.

How to choose the right cable gland

There are several factors to consider when choosing the right cable gland for your application, such as the environment in which it will be used, the type of cable used, and the level of protection required.

Cable glands are usually made of metals such as brass, stainless steel or aluminum and come in different sizes to suit different cable diameters.

To ensure proper fit, measure the cable diameter before selecting the gland. The diameter can be measured with a ruler or caliper and should be measured at the widest point of the cable insulation.

Once the correct gland size has been selected, the next step is to determine the appropriate thread type. The most common thread types used in cable glands are NPT (National Pipe Thread) and BSP (British Standard Pipe).

Strictly follow the manufacturer's instructions when installing the cable gland. In most cases, it will be necessary to tighten the gland by hand until it is in contact with the cable insulation. After tightening the gasket, it may be necessary to use a wrench to tighten it.

Cable glands play an important role in ensuring the safety of electrical installations by ensuring a secure connection between the cable and the housing. By taking the time to choose the right choke for your application, you can ensure the safety and longevity of your system.

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Liam Cope

Hi, I'm Liam, founder of Engineer Fix. Drawing on my extensive experience in electrical and mechanical engineering, I created this platform to provide students, engineers and the curious with authoritative online resources that simplify complex engineering concepts.

During my varied engineering career, I have undertaken many mechanical and electrical projects, honing my skills and gaining valuable insights. In addition to this hands-on experience, I completed six years of rigorous training, including an advanced internship and HNC in electrical engineering. My experience, along with my unwavering commitment to continuous learning, positions me as a trusted and knowledgeable resource in the field of engineering.

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