Cabling Innovations

A few years back, it seemed that whenever engineering professionals talked about innovations in cabling, the topic was focused on new offerings in fire-rated cable, and on the newest UL-certified cable product for fire and life-safety systems: ceramified circuit integrity (CI) cable. Certainly, there continues to be advances in this area.

07/01/2007


A few years back, it seemed that whenever engineering professionals talked about innovations in cabling, the topic was focused on new offerings in fire-rated cable, and on the newest UL-certified cable product for fire and life-safety systems: ceramified circuit integrity (CI) cable. Certainly, there continues to be advances in this area.

But one of the most interesting new innovations is in the grounding, not in cable jacket. One such product in cabling from Southwire, Carrollton, Ga., has been gaining widespread acceptance as a metal-clad (MC) cable option. It also is permitted for use in applications that formerly required armor-clad cable.

The company’s MCAP cable—and the healthcare facility version, HCF MCAP—resembles traditional MC cable, but there are significant differences. MCAP (the AP stands for all-purpose) is unique because of its interlocked armor ground. Within the cable armor, but outside the Mylar tape that encloses the conductors, a full-sized aluminum grounding conductor is in direct contact with the armor and runs the full length of the cable, allowing the armor to serve as an equipment grounding conductor, fully compliant with UL and NEC requirements.

So what are some of the new product offerings in fire-rated cable? One is from Draka Cableteq USA, North Dighton, Mass., whose Lifeline cables are designed for use in critical circuits that necessitate the cable’s electrical operation in conditions of direct exposure to fire and water. Unlike standard cable for most electrical systems, which do not have a tolerance for high temperature or fire, the Lifeline family of cables areproduced with electrical grade ceramified silicone rubber to protect the critical circuits for your emergency systems against attack by fire and water.

Use of silicone ensures that each cable is flexible and has equivalent or improved electrical performance over its non-fire rated counterpart. All Lifeline cables are two-hour fire rated per UL 2196, “Standard for Tests of Fire Resistive Cables” and are UL listed for the appropriate service.

Also available for fire-rated cable, Tyco Thermal Controls, Redwood City, Calif., offers three cables that are all fire-rated against the stringent North American fire test standards, UL 2196 and ULC S139. Various applications include wiring for critical fire alarm circuits and critical life safety circuits in high-rise buildings, historic buildings, subways, stadiums, tunnels, airports and healthcare facilities. Tyco offers these cables with both polymeric and mineral insulated technologies.

One final innovation that deserves a mention also is from Southwire. The company’s SIMpull THHN product eliminates the need to lubricate cable in order to pull it through conduit—said to result in a considerable reduction in labor and material costs for pipe and wire installations. After two years of development and testing at the company’s Cofer Technology Center, millions of feet of the new THHN product have been bought and installed by contractors in the field. The no-lube cable can be pulled through both overhead and underhead pulls, through multiple 90 degree bends, and is available in conductor sizes 1/0 AWG to 750 kcmil, in black, white, red, blue, green, yellow, gray, orange or brown.





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