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Monthly Archives: July 2013

  • Understanding Switchgear and Equipment Bushings

    In recent years there has been a large influx of European switchgear. This has often lead to confusion about the type of switchgear being used and the switchgear bushing to which the cables are to be terminated.

    Correct cable terminations

    This has led to the discovery of conventional heat shrink terminations being used incorrectly in instances where the bushings were compatible with CENELEC style separable connectors, E.g. Pfisterer CONNEX and Euromold connectors. This can lead to delays on site in sourcing the correct cable termination type, not to mention the practical difficulties and increased costs in re-terminating the cables.

    Specify the correct equipment

    One of the ways to avoid this issue is to cross check the cable termination specified with a database of equipment manufacturers, ensuring that the termination type sourced is completely suitable for your switchgear bushing. This can be a lengthy process if the relevant information isn't readily available.

    Therefore, ETS Cable Components are able to offer this service using our expansive database of switchgear and bushing equipment and equipment manufacturers to insure the correct equipment is matched at tender stage.

    The advantages of this bushing selection service being:

    • Correct costs for termination materials.
    • Compatibility with the cables being used.
    • Accurate installation costs.
    • Reduction in lost time on site.
    • Happier clients!

     switchgear housing units11kv bushing switchgeae

    Switchgear Familiarisation Training

    Additionally, we are able to offer familiarisation training for your installation team, on-site support and the technical expertise you would expect from one of the UK's leading cable accessory distributors.

    Please contact Nick Timms for more information on sourcing the correct terminations and connectors.

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  • Fire Resistant Cleats for Fire Performance Cable

    There are two types of fire performance cables currently on the market, flame retardant and fire resistant. The 'normal' type of fire performance cables are considered flame retardant, giving off low smoke emissions when subject to a fire, but only have a limited performance against sustained exposure to flames. The other type of cable is classed as fire resistant and will continue to operate for a period of time while exposed to fire.

    In recent years there has been a large increase in the number of projects and developments that have been using Fire Performance cables. These cables are used within vital emergency systems and are designed to continue to work during a fire outbreak, powering smoke extractors, fire-fighting lifts and emergency lighting systems.

    The cable fire test, BS8491, ensures that cables are able to hold up against direct flame, mechanical impact and water spray for a designated amount of time. The cables are clasified F30, F60 or F120, representing the length of time, in minutes, of the fire test.

    Fire rated cleats to match the cables

    In the past, as there has been no agreed test for a cleat to go through in order to rate its performance in a fire. Typically cast iron cleats have been used due to their high melting point, this has been considered enough to provide the necessary safety reassurances.

    The downfall to this strategy is that iron is an expensive material and so makes cable cleats extremely costly, along with a slow manufacturing process and a heavy and brittle end product. These factors, added to the growing demand for fire performance cables, has increased the need for buyers and contractors to seek an effective solution.

    Phoenix Cable Cleat and Fire Performance Cable Test: BS8491

    phoenix stainless steel cleat fire test phoenix cleat fire test phoenix fire resistant cleat

    A New Product Opportunity

    The fireproof Phoenix Cable Clamps represent a solution to this problem. The cleat meets the required criteria called for by independent testing to BS8491:2008 (F120) where the cleats were subjected to an average temperature of 839 degree Celsius for 120 minutes. The Phoenix fire rated cleat was granted LUL approval for use on the London Underground (LUL Enginerring Standard 1-085 & Approved Products Register 1661) last year.

    ETS Cable Components worked with Ellis Patents with the design of the product after seeing an opportunity through the increased use of fire performance cables in major new developments. The phoenix clamp is manufactured from marine grade 316L stainless steel, which was chosen primarily due to its high melting point, but also due to its high strength, abrasion and corrosion resistance.

    We stock a full range of LU approved Phoenix Cable Clamps to accommodate all sizes of fire resistant cable from all cable manufacturers. Please contact our Sales Team for more information.

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  • A History Of Marconite Conductive Concrete

    As stockists of Marconite, we're able to supply the conductive concrete and pre-mix with short lead times and with no minimum order quantity, to celebrate this, we've decided to look at the history of Marconite Conductive Concrete, where it comes from and why it was developed.

    Conductive clay such as bentonite has been used for electrical earthing for decades, however as technology and needs have increased, the demand for a more permanent earthing compound arose.

    Formulating an earthing material from purposely manufactured synthetic material, that provided lower resistivity, higher strength and lower maintenance than traditional Bentonite clay, was required. The mixtures comes under many guises: conductive concrete, admix and pre-mix, but one of the resounding industry names is Marconite.

    For an inside look, we've invited Dave Wilson from the James Durrans Group to talk about Marconite's history and how the Marconi Company developed this effective earthing product.

    In the 1960’s the Marconi Company were at the forefront of the worlds’ communication and defence sectors. Designing highly sensitive electronic systems, their engineers increasingly encountered requirements beyond the technology of the time. Marconi realised that to overcome these issues that they would need an entirely new and highly conductive method of electrically earthing installations.

    From inception, this new method needed to be permanent, required no maintenance, must be chemically inert, capable of forming strong structures and could be used anywhere, even in difficult ground conditions. In 1973 Marconi’s research, combined with process engineering skills from the James Durrans Group, culminated in the product named Marconite®.

    From concept, Marconite® has been solely manufactured from unique raw materials and to a specific process, at their Scunthorpe works. The resulting product is a true semi conducting material that does not need water in order to conduct electricity. When used as an aggregate replacement and mixed with cement it forms a conductive concrete that can be used to encase earthing systems significantly magnifying their effect.

    Aside from electrical earthing, resulting from its exceptional electrical properties, Marconite® has been widely used as an antic-static flooring system. If made into solid block, when assembled into buildings they act as a Faraday Cage, protecting the sensitive electronic equipment housed within from EMP radiation. Finally, if used in its dry granular state, it can be placed in trenches or beds to enhance existing ground conditions, a process known as soil enrichment.

    Today, over 40 years since its inception, Marconite remains the industry default and standard to which all others are benchmarked. Its’ continued use around the world are testament to the vision of its original development and to the longevity of its abilities.

    In the past year within the UK it forms an essential part in the latest high speed broadband networks, is extensively used in the latest power generation plants and provides rail engineers maintenance free earthing solutions. Whilst across the world it has been used in mass transit systems in Malaysia, solar power farms in the Middle East and as an essential component of national defence systems.

    Diagram of Marconite installation:

    Marconite Concrete Installation

    As Marconite stockists and distributors, please contact our Sales Team with your earthing requirements.

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  • What Exactly Is Meant By A Weatherproof Flexible Conduit?

    When identifying products, you may see terms such as “suitable for outdoor use” and “weatherproof”. It is important to be careful when selecting products that claim these properties, and to establish to what “weatherproof” actually means.

    Bearing in mind that we live in temperate conditions and climates vary throughout the world, just look at Britain’s weather in the past 18 months; drought last winter, followed by the second wettest calendar year, sub-zero snow-storms bringing the country to a standstill and so far a summer which is only just rearing its head. With such unpredictable weather within the UK, you can understand why weatherproof can mean different things in different parts of the world, to different manufacturers.

    Flexicon's technical director, Ian Gibson, warns that before specifying outdoor protection, make sure you clearly define exactly what it is you require. With such a wide scope of local climates, manufacturers should have a wide range of products to choose from. Flexicon, for instance, has 48 different flexible conduit systems with hundreds of variations when it comes to terminations.

    There are a number of factors that should be considered when evaluating the true level of weather-proofing a product possesses. IP ratings are considered a primary factor but this should not be the only factor considered.

    IP Ratings

    The first number on a product’s ingress protection rating describes its resistance to solids and dust, the second number represents the protection against water and moisture ingress.

    It's important to remember the IP rating of a termination product, such as a cable or conduit gland, usually refers to the outer seal and an extra washer may be required to achieve the same IP rating on the equipment or enclosure entry. More information can be found here.

    Ian recommends, when considering flexible conduits, the conduit should have a minimum of IP6x when it comes to dust ingress, regardless of the conduit’s application.

    The different levels of ingress protection are outlined in the chart below.

    1st Digit (Solid Objects) 2nd Digit (Water and Moisture)
    # Explanation # Explanation
    0 Non-Protected 0 Non-Protected
    1 IP1 Protected against solid foreign objects of 50mm diameter and greater 1 IPx1 Protected against drops of water falling vertically
    2 IP2 Protected against solid foreign objects of 12.5mm diameter and greater 2 IPx2 Protected against drips of water falling up to 15o from the vertical
    3 IP3 Protected against solid foreign objects of 2.5mm diameter and greater 3 IPx3 Protected against spraying water at up to 60o from the vertical
    4 IP4 Protected against solid foreign objects of 1.0mm diameter and greater 4 IPx4 Protected against splashing water from all directions
    5 IP5 Dust-protected 5 IPx5 Protected against jet of water from all directions
    6 ip6x Dust-tight 6 IPx6 Protected against jet of water similar for to heavy seas
    7 IPx7 Protected against the effects of immersion
    8 IPx8 Protected against prolonged effects of immersion under pressure to a specified depth.
    9K Steam clean, high pressure temp jet wash to DIN40050

    When considering what moisture ingress protection is required, it is recommended to take a ‘belt and braces’ approach to prevent water ingress over longer periods of time. Therefore, a rating of IPX6 or IPX7 should be specified, unless the fitting is suitably sheltered, such as on the underside of an enclosure.

    Ultraviolet Degradation

    The amount of UV radiation that a product is exposed to will depend on location, altitude and climate. The ultraviolet rays will affect the performance of plastic materials by breaking down the long polymer chains, reducing the impact strength, flexibility and working life of the product.

    Although other coloured plastics can be manufactured to be UV resistant, Flexicon predominately offer black plastics as the carbon black within them helps protect the polymer chains.

    Corrosion

    Corrosion becomes an issue if metal conduits and fittings are used. Coated steel is preferred, as long as its IP rating is sufficient to prevent water entering the conduit.

    Nickel-plated brass fittings will discolour through oxidisation over time, especially in coastal areas. Grade 316 stainless steel is recommended for use in marine environments.

    Temperature

    When considering temperature, generally the maximum temperature reached naturally by the weather will not present an issue with most products. Colder temperatures can cause more of a problem; you should consider the potential hazards to which a product might be exposed, to prevent failure during operation or installation.

    Flexicon understand the need to have products that fit the harsh and sometimes unpredictable climates around the world. Their LTP flexible conduits, when used with stainless steel fittings, represents an all-round “weatherproof” product, with an IP rating up to IP69k and operating temperature ranging between -20oC to 105oC. The LTPHC range extends this temperature range to -60oC to 150oC.

    Ian Gibson, technical director at Flexicon is also the chairman of both the IEC (Worldwide) and CENELEC (European) committees that prepare conduit standards.

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  • Emperor Cable Cleats Chosen For Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm

    Emperor cable cleats from Yorkshire manufacturer, Ellis Patents are being installed on RWE npower renewables’ Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm, which is under construction eight miles off the North Wales coast.

    The two billion euro development is currently one of the largest offshore construction projects anywhere in Europe and when operational in 2014 will feature 160 turbines, which will generate enough energy to meet the annual demands of 400,000 homes.

    Plan and location of the Gwynt Y Môr wind farm turbines:

    gwynt y môr wind farm

    Ellis’ Emperor cable cleats were specified by RWE through its UK distributor, ETS Cable Components.

    Paul Nolan, Ellis’ UK sales director, said: “This is the kind of project that as soon as it’s announced it becomes imperative you secure the specification for it.”

    “Not only is it one of the biggest construction projects in Europe, but I strongly believe it will play a major role in placing wind power at the forefront of renewable energy source for years to come.”

    Based in London, ETS is a specialist distributor of power cable components, accessories and equipment. The company was a founder member of Ellis’ worldwide network of distributors and has recently helped to secure specifications on projects such as London Array and West Burton Power Station.

    “Our network of distributors plays a vital role in the success of Ellis, and in ETS we have a partner that has been opening doors and helping us to secure important contracts for over 20-years,” added Nolan.

    Ellis’ cable cleats are designed and manufactured wholly in the UK and are used to secure electrical cables in a manner that can withstand the forces generated by the cables, including those generated during a short circuit fault. Its Emperor cleats not only provide ultimate corrosion protection, even in the harshest of environments, but they are quick and easy to install, and feature an integral LSF zero halogen polymeric liner and base pad that protects and cushions cables during short circuit conditions.


    More information on Gwynt y Môr can be found at www.rwe.com/gwyntymor 

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