What Is a Pin Insulator?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2019
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A pin insulator is a device that is designed to support some type of wire, such as telephone wire, from direct contact with whatever structure is used in the configuration of the wiring. Manufactured since the early years of the 19th century, the pin insulator is still in common use in any area where wires or cables are installed above ground with the use of utility poles. The basic function of the insulator is to isolate the cable or wire from whatever structure is supporting the wiring while also helping to ensure the connection with whatever conductor is part of the network is secure.

Over the years, a number of different materials have been used to create pin insulators. Among some of the earliest insulators produced, materials such as porcelain or glass were commonly employed. During the 20th century, newer designs for the pin insulator called for using different types of plastics or polymers to form the ideal shape necessary to provide the proper connection with a conductor and isolate the wire from direct contact with the support system. Even materials like wood can be used for this process, although wooden insulators typically do not wear as well as the newer plastic and polymer solutions.


Since a pin insulator is used in the open air, the design for the device must allow it to be somewhat resistant to different weather conditions, including moisture and humidity. Some designs incorporate a type of casing that helps to protect the pin insulator while also offering some protection for whatever process is used to secure the insulator to the conductor. In order to achieve the best results, the selection of materials used for the creation of the insulators will depend on the prevailing weather conditions in the area where the installation takes place.

In addition to offering different pin insulator configurations designed to function in different weather conditions, manufacturers will also offer a range of sizes, because the cables and wires that the insulator supports may be lighter or heavier as well as thinner or larger. Manufacturers will also take into account the spacing between the support poles used to suspend the wires, making sure that the strength and durability of the insulators is sufficient to support the load over an extended period of time. Even factors such as the amount of current carried through the wiring will be a consideration when designing and producing the right type of pin insulator for a specific application.


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