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Industrial Cable Vs Commodity Cable

by | Aug 18, 2023

In this complex world of connection, cables are essential for maintaining smooth data transfer, power distribution, and communication. However, not all cables are made equally. Industrial and commodity cables differ significantly in ways that go beyond their outward appearance.

In this article, we’ll go deeply into the world of cables to comprehend the essential distinctions between these two groups and why they matter.

Industrial Cables

They are developed and manufactured for use in heavy-duty industries and applications such as Industrial Automation, the Manufacturing sector, Metals, Utility, Military, Transit, and others. Industrial cables are used for their high-performance capability while meeting industry standards, reliability, versatility, and durability. These factors also make them more expensive than commodity cables.

A few types of industrial cables are –

Control cables and Instrumentation cables:

Control cables are used in industrial environments to transmit control and low-voltage signals and in automated systems.

Instrumentation cables are multiple conductor cables consisting of several conductors that convey electric signals of low energy. They are designed for tough settings that necessitate precision control and measurement. They are extensively used in industrial automation, process control, and other applications where sensors and equipment are used. They are often comprised of twisted pairs or coaxial cables and are shielded for resistance to electromagnetic interference. These cables can convey electrical power or data and can be used in communication systems.

There are further types of instrumentation cables, like PVC cable, XLPE cable, multi pair and single pair instrumentation cable, and more. They are also used in electrical systems in the power distribution sector.

Many industrial tasks today need cables, so various businesses look up to contract manufacturers for their production and supply.

Fiber optic cable:

Besides including optical fiber to transmit light, a fiber optic cable has an assembly like an electrical cable. Because of the difference in refractive indexes, optical fiber comprises a core and a cladding layer designed for total internal reflection. In practical fibers, the cladding is often coated with an acrylate polymer or polyimide layer to protect the fiber. However, it does not affect its optical waveguide capabilities.

Individual coated or bundled fibers are then extruded with a strong resin buffer layer or core tube(s) to produce the cable core. Depending on the application, the number of layers of protective sheathing are applied to make the cable.

Optical fiber cables are used in telecommunication to help in long-distance transmission of phone, internet, and cable TV signals with high bandwidth and speed, in the field of medicine for machines that help doctors view internal parts of the human body, and for research in the fields of oceanography, geology, and aerospace.

Power cable:

Usually, a power cable is an assembly of single or multiple electric conductors held together with a sheath for the power of transmission of electrical power. Power cables can be run overhead, placed inside the ground, installed as permanent wiring inside buildings, or left exposed. They find usage in machinery as well as in mobile tools. A common example of an electric power cable is seen hanging between electric poles. Conductors, insulation, and a protective jacket are the three main parts of a power cable, and their specifications change depending on their intended use.

Flexible cable:

Flexible wires may stretch and coil as much as needed without suffering any damage, as their name suggests. It is an electrical cable made to be more durable and flexible for applications requiring difficult cable positioning or mobility. They often have insulation and jacketing made of PVC or neoprene to withstand extreme temperatures.

High-flexibility cables are designed to withstand high flexing and demanding performance circumstances. The continuous flexing capacity of high-flex cable and wire is greater than or equal to 10 million flex cycles. These cables are produced utilizing cutting-edge technology that ensures good performance even under the toughest conditions.

Industrial cables find applications in the OEM industries for manufacturing equipment, mining operations power equipment, construction sites power generators, lighting, other machinery, transportation systems, and communication systems.

Commodity cables

Commodity cables often have lower-quality construction materials and simple features like common voltage ratings and uncomplicated insulation. The mass production of commodity cables and their lack of intricate engineering or rigorous testing to meet strict safety standards contributes to their cost-effectiveness over industrial cables and wires.

Commodity cables are created and developed for general-purpose uses in non-industrial environments like home and office wiring. They can be utilized for instrumentation, control, communication, and power transfer in standard voltage.

Industrial vs Commodity cable

Difference Between Industrial Cable And Commodity Cable

Differences in construction and material

Industrial Cable: Industrial cables are carefully constructed. They are frequently constructed with premium materials and many layers of insulation to offer the best possible resistance against environmental variables. Common elements that provide security and durability include UV and flame-resistant coatings.

Commodity Cable: Even if functional, commodity cables might not have been built with the same precision. They may not have the specialized coatings and materials that offer more security in difficult circumstances.

Differences in purpose and performance

Industrial Cable: Industrial cables are made to withstand the most severe conditions. These cables resist high temperatures, chemical exposure, and mechanical stress. These cables are designed to maintain operations without interruption, even in difficult conditions.

Commodity Cable: On the other side, commodity cables are more typically encountered in everyday settings like houses and workplaces. They are intended to be used in common, less demanding applications where performance is unimportant. While they could be adequate for basic requirements, they might not hold up in higher-demand conditions.

Differences in signal integrity and reliability

Industrial Cable: Signal integrity and dependability are crucial in industrial settings. Whether transferring data or transporting electricity, these cables must provide constant performance to minimize downtime and safety issues.

Commodity Cable: The maintenance of signal integrity may not always be a priority for commodity cables. They are often created for less demanding tasks and shorter distances.

Differences in cost and investment

Industrial Cable: Due to their toughness and specialized design, industrial cables might be more expensive upfront. However, they provide a greater return on investment over time due to their endurance and lower maintenance expenses.

Commodity Cable: Commodity cables are frequently less expensive. They are appropriate for uses where high performance is not a primary concern.

Differences in scalability and customization

Industrial Cable: To address specialized objectives, industrial settings frequently call for specialized cable solutions. Industrial cables can be specifically designed to meet the demands of the environment, resulting in maximum performance.

Commodity Cable: Since these cables are available in standardized designs, modifying them for particular uses isn’t easy.


When deciding between industrial and commodity cables, evaluating the application’s nature is critical. Investing in industrial cables is an excellent choice if you operate in a challenging workplace where dependability, durability, and safety are crucial. On the other hand, commodity cables could be enough for smaller applications where cost-effectiveness is more important.

Violin Technologies, the best wire harness manufacturer with remarkable manufacturing expertise and high-quality control, can guide you to choose a seamless connection. They are also a reputed electromechanical assembly manufacturer with expertise in efficient product assembly and testing and the incorporation of traceability across the assembly and procurement processes. Contact us to know more details.

Priyamvada |author


About the Author

Priyamvada B admires Nature, loves painting and takes interest in poems and short stories. She has a Masters Degree in English literature and a Bachelor’s degree in Science. She loves learning new things and solving puzzles based on logic. While she has a flair for creative writing, she is also good at researching valuable information and presenting it to the readers in the form of technical content writing.