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Monthly Archives: May 2014

  • Ellis Centaur Cable Saddles Installed In National Grid Power Tunnels

    Centaur cable saddles and accessories manufactured by Ellis have begun to be installed in National Grid’s London Power Tunnels project.

    The cable saddles, which are being used to secure high voltage (HV) cables throughout 32km of tunnels under London, were specified in 2012 in a record £1.5million order for the Yorkshire-based cable cleat manufacturer.

    Richard Shaw, managing director of Ellis, said: “While it’s always great to secure a new specification, especially such a large one, it’s even more rewarding seeing the product installed and being used for the purpose for which it was designed.

    In the case of the London Power Tunnels, Ellis secured the specification from Südkabel – the German manufacturers of the cables being installed in the National Grid tunnels – as a result of a design that saw them deliver a product that overcame a serious safety issue surrounding the restraint of HV cables up to 400kV with a diameter range of 100 to 160mm.

    HV Cleating Standards

    At the time we designed Centaur neither the British nor European Standards took into account cleats on HV cables of this size,” explained Richard. “This meant those specifying for such jobs were very much in the hands of the manufacturers, who in most cases simply provided warranties for their products.”

    The problem with this was that none of the products available had been short circuit tested, and so the warranties were based purely on calculations and mechanical tests. As such there was no proof the saddle cleats being used would withstand the most testing elements of the job they’d been specified for.

    Rigorous Testing

    Before launch, Ellis put its new heavy-duty extruded aluminium product through the most rigorous of testing procedures. Using cable manufactured by ABB in Sweden, the company shipped the Centaur cable saddles and ABB cable to the Netherlands where they were tested to 163 kA peak and 63 kA RMS for one second, in both 3 phase and phase to phase fault scenarios.

    We invested well over £100,000 in designing, developing, testing and bringing Centaur to market,” added Richard. “At the time this was the largest amount we’d ever invested in one new product, but we did so with confidence that it had the potential to solve a major safety issue and fill a gap in a growing market sector – a confidence that was quickly proven to be well-placed.

    ETS Cable Components are UK distributors of Ellis cable cleats, for more information on the Centaur range or to place a quote, please contact our Sales Team.

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  • Q&A: What are the different earthing uses of the two forms of Bentonite?


    What is the difference between the two forms of bentonite, do they both serve the same earthing applications?


    Bentonite moisture retaining clay is available in two forms, Granulated and Powder. Granular is the preferred option for filling trenches where the conductor is covered and then water poured over and mixed in the trench. The powder form of Bentonite, on the other hand, is the preferred method for pouring into bore holes to ensure the mixture is of a thin enough consistency to reach the bottom of the bore hole.

    Over time both types would be washed through and potentially, to maintain the required resistivity reading, more product would need to be added in the future. An alternative to using bentonite as a ground enhancement material, is Marconite which offers a more permanent solution.

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  • InfraRail 2014 – Who To Visit?

    Held at Earls Courts 2, the annual InfraRail exhibition opens it’s doors to the railway infrastructure industry on 20th May. Providing a unique opportunity for the rail market to connection in one place, against a backdrop of business generation, discussion and innovation.

    Featuring a myriad of exhibitors, product demonstrations, keynote speakers and seminars, if you have any industry in the rail industry, you’ll be spoilt for choice. With so much going on it can be hard to decide who to see, where to be and when to be there.

    Therefore, we’ve picked out where our suppliers will be exhibiting so you can easily find them when at the exhibition.

    Achilles Information - Stand D22

    Achilles works on behalf of buying organisations to collect, validate and maintain essential data about suppliers. Achilles Link-up is the UK rail industry supplier registration and qualification scheme used extensively by procurement, engineering, safety and quality professionals to source and manage suppliers in an EU compliant way. ETS are a registered memeber of the Link-Up scheme.

    Cembre – Stand D51

    Cembre, the electrical connection and tooling specialist can be found at Stand D51. They will be showing off their rail & sleeper drills, impact wrenches, trolleys and pandrol clip machines, electrical connection and tooling systems.

    Flexicon – Stand E46

    A market leading UK manufacturer of both metallic and non-metallic cable protection solutions. Common uses of Flexicon flexible conduits include protection of critical power and data cables in rolling stock and infrastructure applications. All Flexicon’s products are tested and approved to the latest standards.

    Hellermann Tyton – Stand B27

    Hellermann Tyton, a leading manufacturer of fastening, fixing and cable protection components, will be using InfraRail as a showcase for their ability to provide cable management solutions for the rail industry.

    Lucy Zodion – Stand F51

    Lucy Zodion is a leader in the design and manufacturer of pre-wired and customised feeder pillers and distribution panels to the UK rail industry. Suitable to withstand a variety of hostile climatic conditions for extended periods of time, virtually maintenance free.

    Pfisterer – Stand F61

    A leading name in electrical engineering, Pfisterer’s product range includes electrification equipment, switchgear equipment, connectors and trackside power supply equipment.

    If you're yet to register for your ticket you can do so here for free, pre-registering allows you to save £20 compared to buying a ticket on the door.

  • What Does The UL94 Flammability Rating Mean?

    UL is the abbreviation for the Underwriters Laboratories, this is an independent organisation in the United States to control and certificate product safety. UL provide safety related certification, validation, inspection and testing services to a range of clients including manufacturers, retailers, policy makers and regulators.

    Contained within their extensive list of testing and product standards, the UL also specified the flammability test for UL94 for plastic materials. UL94 is a material burning test done on a defined specimen of raw material of the product in question. It does not, however, carry out a flame test on the final product.

    UL94 differs between a horizontal burning test UL94 HB and a vertical burning test UL94 V.

    For the vertical test UL94 V, there are three flame ratings defined: UL94 V0, UL94 V1 and UL94 V2.

    UL94 HB - Horizontal Burning Test

    UL94 hb horizontal test Test Criteria: Burning rate of specimen in mm/min.
    Classification: According to HB


    UL94 V - Vertical Burning Test

    UL94 V Vertical Test Test Criteria: Afterflame time of specimen. Drip of flaming particles.
    Classification: According to V0, V1 or V2

    In all these burning tests, an open flame is applied for a specified time to the specimen. As the burning behaviour also depends on the thickness of the material, it is important to classify the material not only according to HB, V0, V1 or V2 but also to mention the thickness of the specimen.

    The following table is a summary of test procedures and requirements of the above four UL94 classifications:

    Horizontal Test UL94 Vertical Test UL94
    Classification HB V0 V1 V2
    Number of specimen 3 3 5 5 5
    Thickness of specimen < 3mm 3 to 13mm up to max. 13mm
    1st flame application 30 sec. 30 sec. 10 sec. 10 sec. 10 sec.
    2nd flame application - - 10 sec. 10 sec. 10 sec.
    Burning rate max. 75 mm/min max. 40 mm/min - - -
    Afterflame time after 1st flame application for each individual specimen - - max. 10 sec. max. 30 sec. max. 30 sec.
    Afterflame time after 2nd flame application for each individual specimen - - max. 30 sec. max. 60 sec. max. 60 sec.
    Total afterflame time for all 5 specimen after 1st and 2nd flame application - - max. 50 sec. max. 250 sec. max. 250 sec.
    Afterflame or afterglow of any specimen up to its end allowed yes yes no no no
    Cotton indicator ignited by flaming particles or drops allowed - - no no yes

    Looking at the vertical test (V0, V1, and V2) results, it is evident from the above table that a material that complies with the UL94 V0 rating is considerably more flame resistant than products meeting the UL94 V2. When tested, materials that meet V2 ignited the cotton cloth via flaming particles or drops, meaning the product may not be suitable for areas where there is flameable material near by.

    It is important to be aware that just because a material is UL94 tested and compliant, there can be a considerable difference in fire performance and safety between two materials, especially between UL94 V2 and UL94 V0.

    ETS Cable Components current stock a range of UL94 rated electrical products, including:

    - Single Bolt Nylon Cable Cleats - Including LUL approved version
    - Two Bolt Nylon Cable Cleats - Including LUL approved version
    - Red HV Cable Cleats
    - Flexicon Trackside and Rail Vehicle Interior Flexible Conduit
    - 3M Scotch 77 Tape
    - Powersafe Connectors

    For more information on our range of UL94 rated products, please contact our Sales Team.

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  • Cable Cleats for Offshore Environments

    The Oil and Gas industry spends millions of pounds every year to ensure the very highest levels of health and safety are met, therefore it would seem extremely remiss if a significant aspect was frequently neglected, as with the case of cable cleats.

    The key issue surrounding cleats and their use in this type of environment is that their importance is frequently underestimated. Therefore, instead of being treated as a vital element of any cable management installation they are frequently lumped in with the electrical sundries.

    What this means in practice is that even if suitable products are specified, they are still seen as fair game for cost-cutting when it comes to companies seeking to keep within tight budgets. And this practice, if allowed to continue unchecked, could lead to the wholly unnecessary loss of a life.

    There is absolutely no doubt that by eradicating this practice this danger can be drastically reduced, but the big picture also needs to be addressed to ensure consistence practice across the board. The only way of achieving this is by educating contractors, specifiers - in fact, the offshore industry as a whole - as to the true importance of cable cleats. And to do this, we need to go back to basics.

    In a nutshell, for any electrical installation to be deemed safe, cables need to be restrained in a manner that can withstand the forces they generate, including those generated during a short circuit. And this is exactly what cable cleats are designed to do. Without them, the dangers are obvious. Costly damage to cables and/or cable management systems, plus the risk to life posed by incorrectly or poorly restrained live cables.

    Manufacturer Driven Market

    One of the major contributing factors behind the current, and somewhat confused situation, is that although cable cleats are recognised by industry regulators, having their own European standard (EN50368) and an International one (IEC61914 Ed. 1) expected soon, these are simply advisory guidelines rather than obligatory regulations.

    With no golden guideline to follow, the market is very much manufacturer driven. Different companies manufacture to different standards and so the market is something of a mish-mash of products of varying quality. Add to this the facts that the majority of cleats are manufactured as add-ons by companies that specialise in other areas, and that some of today's cleats are not even short-circuit tested prior to being put into production, and it is easy to see why their importance isn't fully understood, let alone appreciated.

    In the long-term the whole situation needs to be resolved through a process of education and agreement involving manufacturers, regulators, specifiers, contractors and installers. But, what of the short-term? What should be being done in order to ensure corners are not cut and safety sacrificed when it comes to cable cleats? To answer this, installations need to be split into two categories - new and old.

    New Installations vs Old Installations

    In the case of new installations, the process needs to begin during the design stages. Ideally, this would commence with the forces between cables being calculated so as to ascertain the type and strength of the cleat required. A number of other factors then need to be taken into account, including physical performance, mounting surface and the environment in which the installation will be situated. Only when this has all been tested and measured can the designer be confident of specifying the correct cleat for the installation.

    Old installations meanwhile pose a completely different set of problems. Many will have been installed before the introduction of any related standards, while those that came later may still not be suitable. Therefore, it's advisable to review all cabling in such installations to ensure it is safely restrained in relation to today's requirements.

    Understanding the need for cleats and the processes involved in their correct specification is though only half the story. Cleats themselves come in a variety of sizes and types and it's important to understand this variation in order to ensure they are correctly chosen.

    Third Part Certification for Cable Cleats

    Perhaps the simplest way of doing this is by ensuring the product comes with suitable third party certification that it can withstand the forces it claims to - this would come in the form of a short circuit testing certificate.

    Additionally, levels of cable protection can be enhanced by selecting products with Cat 2 passes rather than Cat 1. What this means, is that the cable would be guaranteed to still be intact and operable after a short circuit, as opposed to just the cleat.

    If you look at this prescribed course of action from a budgeting point of view, it is fair to say that certain initial costs would be increased. But if you consider the kind of sums involved, in terms of time, materials and manpower, in replacing an entire cable management system due to a short circuit occurring and causing irreparable damage it's easy to see the point of the additional expense.

    And, finally, when you also take in account the effects of improving health and safety levels, there surely can be no argument against ensuring correct cleating practice?

    As UK distributors of Ellis Patents cable cleats, we have a range of cleats that are used extensively in offshore environments, all of which are comprehensively tested and certified prior to sale. Please contact us for details.

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