Allied Encyclopedia: Topcoating vs Dyeing Cable

Allied EncyclopediaSome cables are only manufactured in one color, but dyeing or topcoating allows you to customize your cables with a preferred color. But when is a cable dyed instead of topcoated and vice versa? If you’re searching for an answer to this question, you’ve come to the right place. Whether your cable achieves its color through dying or topcoating depends on the cable material.

Dyeing is a value-added service provided by both manufacturers and distributors of wire and cable. The dyeing process uses a specially designed machine to feed the wire through a system of pulleys. The jacket absorbs a formulated dye as it passes through a trough filled with the desired color. Excess dye is then removed from the wire by passing through a silicone grommet or wiper. The wire is quickly air dried and re-spooled for shipping.

Topcoating adds another layer to the cable rather than altering the color of the cable itself.

While topcoating is more expensive than dyeing, it is effective on materials that cannot be dyed sufficiently. Most PVC type wires can be dyed without any issues, but irradiated materials, cables with fiberglass sleeving, and nylon can only be topcoated. If dyeing is attempted, the color will not soak into the insulation and may even flake off later on. The cable color will also fail to reach the desired vibrancy, brightness, and trueness of color that you would see if you topcoated these materials.

If a cable isn’t carried in the color you need, topcoating and dyeing offer a solution. Both services can give you cable in the color of your choice, but the process your cable undergoes will be determined by the cable material.

With Allied Wire, your cables can be dyed or topcoated to your exact specifications. Allied also offers color matching services for dyed wires, using varying shades of standard colors to meet your coloring requirements. Learn more about how Allied can help you with wire identification and value-added services.

About awcwire
Allied Wire & Cable is a value-added manufacturer and distributor of electrical wire and cable, tubing, and more. We are a family owned and operated company, serving a wide range of industries, including the military, automotive, aerospace, and telecommunications markets. Allied is headquartered in Collegeville, PA. Additional locations can be found across the US, in Merrimack, NH, Tampa, FL, Pewaukee, WI, and Las Vegas, NV. For more information on Allied, visit our main website at

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