What Are Standoff Insulators?

Electrical standoff insulators

Standoff Insulators, also known as post or bobbin insulators, are a type of electrical insulator that provides electrical insulation and mechanical support in a wide variety of assemblies. They maintain a distance between two surfaces to ensure they do not touch and prevent electricity from jumping between them. Standoff insulators can be used similarly to busbar supports by providing insulation between a conductor and a mounting surface. However, they can be used for other applications where an electrically insulating part is needed to provide strong mechanical support. 

What Are Standoff Insulators Made From?

Electrical resistance is a key characteristic of standoff insulators; therefore, manufacturers must choose materials with strong electrical resistance. Typically, for assemblies with high voltages, insulators are made from materials such as glass and porcelain. Medium-voltage insulators can be made from epoxy resin. Low-voltage insulators are usually made from compressed materials such as dough-moulded compound (DMC) or injection moulded polymers such as nylon 66. 

What Is A Low Voltage Insulator?  

Low voltage standoff insulators are designed to be used in low voltage electrical assemblies. A common application for low-voltage insulators is in low voltage switchgear and controlgear assemblies, meaning that the insulator must be suitable for up to 1000 V AC and 1500 V DC applications.

Standoff insulators have no product standards of their own, but clauses within product standards such as BS EN IEC 61439 for low voltage switchgear and controlgear assemblies provide insulator manufacturers certain requirements for their products to meet.

Control panels, power factor correction units, generators, distribution boards, and other products, are also examples of low voltage equipment. For higher voltage applications, suitable medium and high voltage insulators are used. 

What Do Low Voltage Standoff Insulators Look Like? 

Most low voltage standoff insulators are barrel-shaped with octagonal or hexagonal grips. Cylinder or hexagonal pillars are also design variations of a standoff insulator. Low voltage insulators are quite different in visual design when compared with their medium voltage and high voltage counterparts, such as petticoat insulators. 

A range of low voltage standoff insulator of various height and width sizes affixed to busbars

Another feature of a low-voltage insulator is its thread arrangements. Holes or screws can be found at either end of the standoff. Common thread arrangements you can find are: 

  • Male, meaning there are screws at both ends.  
  • Female, meaning there are inserts at both ends.  
  • Or male and female, meaning one side has a screw and the other has an insert. 

Female thread arrangements provide the option to insert individual grub screws. Inserts can be made from materials such as brass or steel.

Low-voltage insulators can come in a variety of colours. The most common are red, black, and beige standoff insulators. 

Other Types Of Similar Insulators 

Low smoke and pillar insulators are also variations of standoff insulators for specific uses. 

Learn more and find the full technical specifications for our low voltage insulators

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