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MOULD: Not just found on food

It’s pretty common knowledge that for mould to flourish it needs a damp, warm environment. So what better atmosphere than a Food & Beverage manufacturing plant where you can find high pressure washers, hot temperatures and organic substances.


Of course, this is not a revelation to the Food and Beverage industry; hence the stringent hygiene requirements that are legally put in place to ensure factories meet the standards we expect as consumers.

But what they may not be aware of is the common growth of mould found on the very popular PVC control cables (SY, YY & CY) used to power many of these factories (See figure 1 for an example of a mouldy SY cable).

Due to its porous tendencies PVC will eventually absorb the moisture from its surroundings which results in degradation of the material. In the cable world this would cause the cable to become hard and brittle and eventually break down the outer sheath. Surprisingly at Lapp Group we have seen these changes in as little as 6 months.

We know what you are thinking - damage from hydrolysis is not classed as mould. However it is the start of the process of the formation of bacteria amongst PVC cables.

The growth of mould is not caused by just the frequent wash downs and damp atmosphere, but also the fluctuation in temperature and the organic substances found naturally amongst this industry. With a combination of all these factors a material like PVC just won’t withstand the build up of microbes; the one thing Food & Beverage manufacturers work so hard to avoid.

So is it fair to say: The presence of microbes in our food plants is not acceptable so the same should go for the cables within these factories themselves?

Lapp Group along with many manufacturers believes this to be the case. As a result we have designed a range of microbe resistant cables with non-porous qualities estimated to last up to 10 times longer then the standard SY, CY, YY cables.

Manufacturers in the UK & Ireland supporting this include Arla Dairies, Coca Cola and Guinness all of which specify ÖLFLEX®ROBUST, our full range of polyurethane sheathed cables and stainless steel cable glands.

All of which are made from bacteria resistant, water resistant and oil resistant materials ideal for the Food & Beverage industry.

Figure 1: A mouldy SY cable extracted from a food plant after 6 months of being installed due to the damp, warm environment.

View Lapp products at RS Components


LAPP was founded in 1957 by Oskar Lapp with ÖLFLEX® , the first industrially produced signal cable in the world. Today LAPP has 17 production sites, 100 outlets and 40 sales organisations around the world. From the standard ÖLFLEX® YY, SY & CY cables to the more specialist servo motor cables & BUS data cables, LAPP produces cables for a wide variety of applications and industries.