SOOW Cords for Industrial Lighting 101

The sturdiness of industrial lighting systems hinges on the type of materials used, as well as the cutting edge design of the fixture. Rugged materials, such as copper-free aluminum and polycarbonate, are frequently applied during the manufacturing process to boost reliability during operation at the work site.

Such materials typically come with specific ratings, which dictate their thresholds and ability to withstand harmful elements, including UV rays, corrosion and water. For heavy-duty cords used for industrial lighting units, one of these standards is called SOOW.

What is SOOW?

The term ‘SOOW’ is an acronym used by manufacturers to inform operators about the properties of the cord. In the acronym, the letter ‘S’ refers to service. In some cases, it is important to consider that when a letter ‘J’ does not appear after this starting letter, the cord comes with a 600V rating (for portable cords). For instance, an SJOOW cord features a 300V rating.

Next, the letters ‘OO’ suggest the cord is resistant to oil, while the letter ‘W’ is applicable to capabilities of withstanding water and rough weather. For extremely rugged work sites, a Type W cable is recommended, which can accommodate heavy usage over long periods.

Compatibility with Industrial Lights

SOOW cords are highly beneficial for industrial fixtures in construction sites, mining facilities, manufacturing plants and more. In addition to the acronym designation, the standard is usually followed by a set of part numbers, such as 18/2 or 16/2.

These mysterious numbers refer to the type of cable being used. Taking the first example above, an SOOW 18/2 cord can be defined as a 600V-rated service cord that is oil, weather and water resistant, with an 18 American Wire Gauge (AWG), two-conductor cable. To reduce confusion at the work site, manufacturers may provide color coding on the units.