World Class Engineered Cable Blog

How to Specify Fire Safety or Fire Rated Cables

Posted by Rob Schmidt on Mar 23, 2017 1:55:34 PM

Systems important to life safety require extra attention when specifying what equipment to buy and how to install it. It’s vital for these systems to remain operational during an emergency to limit the loss of life by providing functionality to emergency response teams, as well as evacuation efforts.

Fires can be catastrophic to life and property that’s why many standards and jurisdictions are requiring the functionality of emergency systems during a fire event. Some of these systems include emergency power, lighting, communication, and suppression.

Cables are the vital link between emergency equipment and their power or control source therefore they must also remain functional during a fire event. The details of installation can seem daunting without the proper partnership. Fire are very complex in nature. Materials expand and contract at different rates causing movement. Excessive movement can cause failure, and most systems are designed to accommodate a specific amount, but no more.

Below are several important points to understand when specifying any fire rated cable system for a project.

Functionality: Cables alone are not enough to satisfy operational requirements during a fire. Support methods, grounding requirements, fill ratio, vertical supports, pull boxes, installation orientation, splices, and material compatibility play a role in ensuring that your emergency system remains functional.

Flexibility: A fire rated system should cover your bases so it can be installed with ease. A properly designed fire rated cable system gives the contractor flexibility during an installation as to not override costs and delay the project. Some designs require less pulling because they can be consolidated into a single cable or can be offered in long lengths. Ampacities may diminish if a cable is covered. Consider what tools and equipment are needed to complete the installation and verify that these are allowed by the UL FHIT listing.

Splicing: With so many people working on site, and with all of the heavy machinery, sometimes accidents happen and cable gets damaged. Perhaps the complexity of the cable routing requires two lengths to be pulled separate and splice them together. Having an option to splice on the job and maintain fire protection requirements will save time and money trying to fix the problem by pulling new cable in, fire wrapping, or reordering cable that may have long lead times.

Compliance: The cable system should comply with governin

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Topics: VITALink Fire Safety

Need to meet NFPA 130 and Save Space in Transit Cars and Rolling Stock?

Posted by Jim Notarfrancesco on Feb 28, 2017 12:25:51 PM

Reduced Diameter Exane 15 Wire
Meets NFPA 130 for crowded locations

Today’s Transit Vehicles and Locomotives are more sophisticated requiring much more electronics which necessitate the use of more transit cables and wire. Cable trays, conduits and wire raceways have become very crowded. More space is needed in cabinets and wire panels to handle the increased number of transit cables and wires. Wire bundles and harnesses contain more wires and are larger than ever before. How can we bring these wire bundles down to size and reduce overall weight at the same time?

RSCC’s Exane 15 transit cable and wire is the answer to these problems. Exane 15 is a reduced diameter low voltage power, control and instrumentation wire for Rolling Stock applications in sizes 22 AWG to 10 AWG and available as both a single conductor and multi conductor configurations. It is a 600V 125C wire that employs a dual layer insulation system that meets the requirements of NFPA 130.

The use of Exane 15 will result in
1 - Weight savings of up to 30%
2 - Space Savings
         Up to 32% diameter reduction on wire bundles
         Up to 54% volume reduction in wire raceways and conduit fill.

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Topics: Exane Transit and rolling Stock data cables

What Materials are Required to Ensure Highest Possible Performance in Communications Cables for Train Cars?

Posted by Gil Shoshani on Feb 21, 2017 3:25:09 PM

How to specify the right communication cables for train cars for mechanical, physical, and electrical requirements

New generation train cars use communication cables and data protocol such as CAT 5E, CAT 6, CAT 7, MVB (Multifunction Vehicle Bus), WTB (Wire Train Bus), RS-485, LON (Local Operating Network), RS-422 and Canbus demanding 30-40 years in harsh environment.  As long as the electrical characteristics are achieved (like impedance and cross-talk), the cable can be made in different AWG sizes and materials for the conductor, insulation, shields and jacket.

When designing a communication cable for train cars environment, the following shall be considered

- Stranded conductor needs tol survive vibration and torque. The use of solid conductor should be avoided.
- Cross linked thermoset insulation and jacket should be preferred over thermoplastic materials. The cross-linked material is better in abrasion, cut through and notch propagation.
- The shield should be made of Tin Copper braid with an optional addition of an Aluminum/Mylar tape. The braid shield make the cable ruggedize with great resistance to crush and rough installation practices.

Other critical attribute is the capability of the cable to withstand temperature cycling and extreme hot or cold temperatures as the train exit out of the tunnel or parked and operated outdoors.

In addition to the mechanical, physical and electrical requirements of the communication cable, it needs to comply with local specifications for Flame, Smoke and Toxicity. (FST).   (Please refer to my other Blog regarding FST by visiting the RSCC Blog site)

To learn about communication cables for train cars FST requirements, please search the blog on the www.r-scc.com web site.

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Topics: Exane Transit and rolling Stock data cables

Decrease oil drilling downtime in ocean and land rigs

Posted by Damian Billeaudeau on Feb 14, 2017 4:04:41 PM

 

Properly designed high performance oil and gas cables for ocean rig drilling and land rig drilling can meet the challenge of maintaining equipment efficiency, reducing operational cost, and minimizing unscheduled maintenance.  Unforeseen and consistent rig downtime can directly affect top line day rates and contract renewal.  Key drilling components such as top drives, drawworks, pipe handlers, BOP controls, mud equipment and drilling control systems are the lifeline to a safe and efficient rig operation.

How can electrical cable minimize rig downtime?  One cable type is not fitting for each application.  Close collaboration with customers can determine cable turnover rates as it relates to mode of failure.  Products designed for certain applications can increase performance and minimize equipment downtime.

The good news is that EXANE cables are among those that can help!  State of the art cross-linking technology coupled with high grade compounds generate cables with improved life expectancy and field reliability.

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Topics: Exane Oil & Gas, Offshore Oil Rig Cables

VITALink 2-Hour For critical buildings meet UL 2196

Posted by Michael Brennan on Jan 31, 2017 11:09:45 AM

When building the newest facility for one of the most innovative companies in the world, which cable did they pick for their Life – Safety systems?

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Topics: VITALink Fire Safety, Eliminate Electrical System Failure

Is IEC 60331 test sufficient for fire resistive cables in petrochemical facilities?

Posted by Michael Betts on Jan 5, 2017 3:22:26 PM

In the public domain, such as a high-rise building or subway tunnel where people are present, clear standards exist to specify a fire safety cable to ensure notification, egress, and emergency system continued operation.

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Topics: VITALink Fire Safety

What are the FST requirements for train cars communication cables in North America?

Posted by Gil Shoshani on Dec 5, 2016 12:09:40 PM

 

Communication cables for train cars can be different in construction, size and materials but they need to comply with NFPA 130 and other local codes as apply for a specific project. Train cars communication cables include CAT 5E, CAT 6, MVB (Multifunction Vehicle Bus), WTB (Wire Train Bus), RS-485, LON (Local Operating Network), RS-422 and Canbus.

FST is an abbreviation of Flame, Smoke and Toxicity and is used in local train cars specifications.
The Flame requirement includes two tests, NFPA 130-2017 and 49 CFR part 238, Appendix B.

Chapter 8 of NFPA 130-2017, NFPA 130-2014 and NFPA 130-2010 specifies that all cables including communication cables for train cars shall pass the UL 1685 with FT4/IEEE 1202 flame method. UL 1685 is a large scale flame test and the cables are bundled as specified. During the 20 minutes vertical flame test, the total smoke and peak smoke are measured and needs to be below a specific value to pass the test.

The 49 CFR part 238, Appendix B. is a small scale flame test that is done on a single cable per NEMA WC 3/ICEA S-19-81, paragraph 6.19.6. The test includes 5 applications of 15 seconds flame with 15 seconds rest. The flame propagation and monitored to a specific height and ignition of cotton under the sample.

The Smoke requirement is a small scale test of ASTM E662 that is done on the finished cable. The test is conducted in flaming and non-flaming modes with specific values after 90 second, 4 minutes and 20 minutes.

  • Please note that UL 1685 has a smoke measurement test that needs to be satisfied.

The Toxicity test is specified as BSS 7239 per Boeing standard. The test is done in a smoke chamber and the various gases are measured by tubes. The gases includes Carbon Monoxide (CO), Hydrogen Fluoride (HF), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Hydrogen Chloride (HCL), Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN), Sulfur Dioxide (SO2).

Local specification list the maximum ppm value per gas.

To learn about communication cables for train cars Physical, Mechanical and electrical requirements, please use link below to request a FREE CONSULTATION.

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Topics: Exane Transit and rolling Stock data cables

Do Commercial Builders need a full systems test of fire rated cables plus a fire shaft?

Posted by Ernie Gagnon on Nov 22, 2016 12:04:10 PM

The short answer is “yes” they should.  Critical electrical circuits or Fire Safety Systems are referred to as Life Safety Systems intended to operate under extreme heat and flame to SAVE Lives.   As a manufacturer of fire safety cables, RSCC produces VITALink brand cables sold for the commercial installation market that pass UL 2196 in the U.S. and ULC-S139 in Canada.

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Topics: VITALink Fire Safety

Using NFPA 130 and AAR-S-501 compliant wire and cable for Rolling Stock and Transit Cars?

Posted by Jim Notarfrancesco on Oct 31, 2016 1:17:47 PM

You need to meet both NFPA 130 AND AAR-S-501 Transit Authority standards
to comply and ensure safety.

Specifiers of wire and cable in Transit Car electrical systems know that Vehicle Procurement Contracts let for the past five years require that wire and cable used in Rolling Stock must meet the NFPA 130 standard. But, in addition to the NFPA 130 standard, wire and cable also must meet additional physical and electrical requirements set by the Transit Authority.

The NFPA 130 standard requires wire and cable to meet the Underwriters Labs (UL) 1685 flame test (UL 1685 flame method is per IEEE 1202/FT4) and is primarily focused on 2 aspects of safety: Flame Spread and Smoke Generation. The primary purpose of the standard is to set limits to the spread of flame and also to set limits on the amount of smoke generated by the wire and cable once it comes into contact with the a fire. By setting these limits, the ability of the occupants of the vehicle to escape a fire event increases significantly.

However, it is important to note that NFPA 130 is not a stand-alone document for wire and cable performance in a Transit Vehicle application. It is an add-on to the Transit Authority base specification. The cable must be compliant to NFPA 130 and must also meet the other physical and electrical requirements of the Transit Authority Specification.  AAR-S-501 or RP-585 provide all the base requirements for wire and cable used by most Transit Authorities.   Cables should meet these requirements in addition to those specified in NFPA 130.  

Most current transit car procurement standards require compliance to NFPA 130 2014, however, the most current version available is NFPA 130 2017 (see web link below)

For your convenience, we are providing a summary of the AAR-S-501 or RP-585 key points by downloading a reference document

.DownLoad PDF file Here

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Topics: Exane Transit and rolling Stock data cables

Does NEK606 meet the IEEE 1580 requirements as US Marine Shipboard cable?

Posted by Damian Billeaudeau on Oct 13, 2016 11:42:35 AM

What cables meet US requirements for offshore rig installations in a hazardous area environment?  Although it makes economic sense to standardize on one cable type, specifying engineers need to be cautious when trying to standardize as some applications which meet IEC standards do not in fact meet the requirements of the US API RP-14F standard or even meet the minimal cable construction requirements of IEEE Std.1580 as Marine Shipboard Cable.

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Topics: Marine Shipboard Cable