Specialty sleeving is available for specific applications. Fiberglass expandable sleeving is a great choice for high voltage as it is non-conductive, and is available in acrylic coated, vinyl coated and silicon rubber extruded, among other styles. Flame retardant and heat/temperature resistant options are available in both expandable and wrap-around/side entry styles. Metal braided sleeving is useful for aesthetic purposes and for shielding cables from electromagnetic frequency interference. Heavy duty and abrasion resistant sleeving is an excellent choice for seriously industrial and outdoor applications. We've even got sleeving for aerospace and military use, including extra tough Kevlar and Teflon sleeves.
Specialized Braided Sleeving Breakdown
Braided sleeving is a simple enough concept. It's a woven wrap that's flexible and, in many cases, expandable, which makes it very versatile and useful in cable bundling and protecting. Sleeving is utilized by everyone from hobbyists and DIYers to professional users. It has a broad range of applications, and can be found in simple home and office settings as well as in industrial, automotive, marine and aerospace settings. Standard braided sleeving offers basic protection from cuts, chemicals and temperature, but there also exists a wide variety of specialty options designed for more specific needs. Let's check a few of them out.
This type of sleeve is constructed of braided fiberglass, which is notable for its tensile strength and strong resistance to high temperatures and fire. Fiberglass also provides resistance to many chemicals including solvents and engine fluids, as well as moisture and fungus.
Certain fiberglass sleeving can operate in temperatures of over 1000° F. Some may feature a silicone extruded coating, which provides extra temperature protection for short durations, such as molten metal splashes. These silicone coated sleeves are also known as Firesleeves, and are often found in industrial and aerospace applications. Aerospace rated Firesleeve is constructed to meet SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) standards, whereas industrial is not.
Beyond these two areas, fiberglass sleeves are also used in applications including automotive and electrical industries, protecting hoses, low voltage cabling and (when properly coated) high voltage as well.
Heat & Flame Resistant
Though fiberglass sleeving offers extreme heat and fire protection, there are type of braided sleeves made of other materials that still provide similar protections. Polyethylene (PET), silica, aluminum, even volcanic rock fibers are some of the materials used in composition of these sleeves and wraps.
These heat and flame resistant sleeves find use in many varied applications, protecting cables, hoses and headers in automotive settings, as well as aircraft wiring, concert lighting, and other electrical, industrial and engineering situations.
There are many specialized sleeving types that are meant to address specific issues. Non-skid expandable sleeving helps mitigate trip hazards in areas with high foot traffic, noiseless sleeving helps keep bundles quiet where they will be brushing into things on a regular basis, and fabric heat shrink tubing combines the strengths of braided sleeving and heat shrink into one convenient sleeve.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are braided sleeves designed to be great at pretty much anything, making them suitable for hostile environments and challenging conditions. Sleeving made of Teflon and Kevlar, for example, provides excellent heat protection, flexibility and tensile strength, which comes in handy in many industries including aviation, fiber optics, military or plenum applications that need to meet stringent guidelines.
Metallic & Shielded Sleeving
There are a variety of reasons to use metallic sleeving rather than fiberglass or plastic. Mylar sleeving,for example, is reflective for high visibility and an aesthetically pleasing finish. It also provides pretty solid protection from abrasion. But the main reason is that metallic sleeving can shield cables from EMI (electromagnetic interference). Shielding cables from high frequency EMI, as well as static interference and RFI (radio frequency interference) can increase the performance and clarity of signal in electrical applications.
These EMI shielded sleeves are found in a variety of scenarios, since clear signal transmission is paramount in many industries. In the aviation industry, for example, this “noise” can cause problems with navigational, tactical or control equipment. Signal clarity is also important in communications (obviously), medical, and aerospace industries, so sleeving made from stainless steel, tinned copper, or even carbon is an important tool in ensuring the least amount of interference possible in critical areas.
Metal sleeving is also used quite often in automotive applications, because it looks super sweet.
Heavy Duty Sleeving
Heavy duty braided sleeving is often found where cables will be subjected to consistent extreme conditions, such as automotive or marine applications. They are resistant to abrasion, vibration, chemicals and other hazards and, most importantly, need to be long lasting.
They're usually made of PET or thick nylon, and depending on the type may be resistant to salt water, and meet or exceed strict military specifications. If you want a tough sleeving that can do the job and keep doing it for a long time, a heavy duty sleeve is probably your best bet.