Type Designation Codes

The type designation codes indicate the design and intended use of electrical wires and cables in electrical installations.

There are different types of designation codes: The designation codes according to national standards with different different labeling schemes in each country and an internationally harmonized labeling. The harmonized labeling intends to replace the national standards quickly, but for some cable types national designation codes are still common.

In Germany, the abbreviation for cables and wires are standardized in

DIN VDE 0292 Type Designation Codes for cable designation
DIN VDE 0293-308 Identification of the cores of cables / wires and flexible wires by colors
Standard series DIN VDE 0281 for PVC-insulated cables
Standard series DIN VDE 0282 for rubber insulated cables

Power Cables, plastic insulated

For cables with plastic insulation and plastic sheath the following designation codes are used (starting with the conductor):

Code Description
N Cables acc. to standard
A Aluminum conductor
Y Insulation of polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
2Y Insulation of thermoplastic polyethylene (PE)
X Insulation of cross-linked polyvinyl chloride (XPVC)
2X Insulation of cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE)
H Field limiting conductive layers over the conductor and over the Insulation
HX Insulation of cross-linked halogen-free polymer blend
C Concentric conductor of copper
CW Concentric conductor of copper, waveform (ceander)
CE Concentric conductor in multi-core cables on each individual core
S Braided copper
SE For multicore cables field limiting conductive layers over the conductor and the insulation and copper screen over each individual core (indicated by “H” is omitted here)
F Overhead line cable (DIN VDE 0276)
F Armouring of galvanized flat steel wire
FE insulation sustaining
(F) Longitudinally watertight cable (screen)
B Steel tape armouring
R Armouring of galvanized round steel wires
G Helix of galvanized steel tape
HX Sheath of cross-linked halogen-free polymer blend
Y Inner sheath of polyvinylchloride (PVC)
Y Outer sheath of polyvinylchloride (PVC)
Outer sheath of polyethylene (PE)
Outer sheath of polyurethane (PUR)

Conductor cross-section, shape and structure

Code Description
R Circular conductor
S Sector shaped conductor
E Solid conductor
M Stranded conductor
RE Circular conductor, solid
RM Circular conductor, stranded
SE Sector shaped conductor, solid
SM Sector shaped conductor, stranded
OM Oval shaped conductor, stranded
H Waveguide
/V Compacted conductor

Further, the nominal voltage of the cable will be given in kV.
Examples of complete identification of power cables:
NYCWY 3 x 120 SM/70  0,6/1 kV
NA2YSEY 3 x 70 SE/16  5,8/10 kV

Power Cables, paper insulated

Code description
N Cables acc. to standard
A Aluminum conductor
H Shielding (H-type cable)
E Cores with Individual metal sheath and corrosion protection
K Lead sheath
KL Pressed aluminum sheath
KLD Pressed aluminum sheath with strain elements
u Non-magnetic (only DIN VDE 0256)
D Bandage protection (only DIN VDE 0256)
E Protective sheath with embedded layer (eg wrapping) of elastomer or plastic tape (not DIN VDE 0257)
D Non-magnetic bandage protection (only DIN VDE 0257)
v Stranded cable (only DIN VDE 0257 aund DIN VDE 0258)
F Armouring made of flat steel wires with counter or helix, which is removed before the pulling of a cable into a steel pipe (only DIN VDE 0257 and DIN VDE 0258)
u Cables not stranded (only DIN VDE 0257 and DIN VDE 0258)
St Steel pipe(only DIN VDE 0257 und DIN VDE 0258)
B Steel tape armouring
F Armouring made of flat steel wires
FO Armouring made of flat steel wires, open
R Armouring made of round steel wires
RO Bewehrung aus Stahlrunddraht, offen
GB Counter helix (metal tape)
A Protective sheath and outer sheath made of fibrous material
AA Double outer protective sheath of fibrous materials or fiberglass tape
Y Protective sheath made of polyvinylchloride (PVC)
2Y Protective sheath made of Polyethylene (PE)
Z Armouring of Z-shaped steel profile wire

Telecommunication cables

Code Description
A Outdoor cable
Outdoor cable with lightning protection requirements
AJ Outdoor cable with induction protection requirements
G Mine cable
GJ Mine cable with induction protection requirements
J Installation cable
JE Installation cable for industrial electronics
L Hose cable for telecommunication systems. Cables with stranded conductors for increased mechanical stress for telecommunication systems
S Switch board cable for telecommunication systems
Code Description
P Insulation made of paper
Y Insulation or sheath or protective sheath made of polyvinylchloride (PVC)
Yv Reinforced protective sheath made of polyvinylchloride (PVC)
2Y Insulation of solid PE or sheath or protective sheath made of polyethylene (PE)
Reinforced protective sheath made of polyethylene (PE)
02Y Insulation made of foamed polyethylene (PE)
02YS Insulation made ​​of foam-skin
3Y Insulation made ​​of styroflex
4Y Insulation made ​​of polyamide (PA)
5Y Insulation made ​​of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)
6Y Insulation made ​​of perflourethylenpropylen (FEP)
7Y Insulation made ​​of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE)
9Y Insulation made of polypropylene (PP)
09YS Insulation made of polypropylene foam-skin
H Insulation or sheath made of halogen free material
FE Cable with insulation integrity
M Lead sheath
Mz Annealed lead sheath
C Screen made of copper braid
(C) Individually screend pairs (copper braid)
(K) Screen made of copper tape
L Aluminum sheath
LD Corrugated aluminum sheath
(L)2Y Al-laminated sheath made of polyethylene, PE
F Cable core with jelly filling
TF Cable core with swellable tape
W Corugated steel tape sheath
D Screen made of round copper wires
B*) Armouring
C*) Protective sheath of jute and viscous compound
Q Armouring made of steel braid
Screen (metal tape or plastic laminated metal tape)
Steel wire braid over the inner PVC sheath
E Compound layer with embedded plastic tape
T Strength members
(Zg) Strength members of bundled fiberglass yarns in the sheath
Code Description
Bd Stranded in bundles
DM Multiple twin quad
Lg Lagenverseilung
F Star quad in the railway communications cables
St Star quad with phantom circuit
St I Star quad in district cables (trunk cable)
St III Star quad in local cables
St VI Star quad HF suitable up to 4 MHz
St VII Star quad HF suitable up to 16 MHz
St VIII Star quad HF suitable up to 32 MHz
PiMF Shielded pair (pairs in metal foil)
S Railway signalling cable
TF Star quad for carrier frequency technology

FO cables

The following abbreviations apply to fiber optic cables:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
A-   D   Q (ZN)2Y 12×12 E 9/ 125 0,36 F 3,5 LG
LG – stranded in layers
SZ – SZ stranding
bandwidth (GI) dispersion coefficient (SM)
B – 850nm
F – 1300nm (GI), 1310nm (SM)
H – 1550nm
attenuation in dB/km
cladding-Ø in μm
core-Ø in μm (GI)
field-Ø in μm (SM)
Type of fibres:
E – single-mode (SM)
G – graded index (GI)
No. of loose tubes x No. of tubes
outer sheath
H – flame retardant
2Y – PE
4Y – PA
11Y – PUR
(L)2Y – Al-laminated sheath
(SR)2Y – corrugated steel tape armouring and PE- sheath
(ZN)2Y –  non-metallic strength members and PE-sheath
(ZN)(L)2Y – non-metallic strength members and PE-sheath Al-laminated sheath
(ZN)(SR)2Y – non-metallic strength members,corrugated steel tape armouring and PE- sheath
filling of the cable core
F – petrojelly
OF – special jelly
Q – swellable tapes
S – metallic core/pair/quad
V – tight buffered fibre
W – loose tube with 1 fibre, filled
D – loose tube, filled
E – loose tube, flexible
(ZS) – metallic support element/strength member
J – indoor cable
A – outdoor cable
AT – outdoor cable, divisible
U – universal cable for outdoor and indoor use (also known as A/J)