New jacketing compounds and configurations, coupled with advances in manufacturing methods, open up an even greater array of applications for wire, cords, and multiconductor cables.

New technology beat back the limits of flexible cable over the past year, with the introduction of advanced jacketing compounds. Continuous flex cables now last longer, have greater oil resistance, come in more sizes, and operate in significantly colder temperatures than previous designs. Tinned copper braids in some cables reduce electromagnetic interference (EMI). These and other innovations are expanding the extent of applications of the end equipment itself. We now have more possibilities and fewer limitations in using gantry robots, pick-and-place units, automatic handling equipment, machine tools, conveyor systems, and other equipment that could use continuous-flex cables.

Portable cords and control cables are also pushing into new frontiers of applicability, again thanks to new jacketing compounds. These are seeing the same advancements as flexible cable. Some new products have increased flexibility at all temperatures, better tear and cut resistance, and better tensile strength.

Manufacturers of pre-wired electrical systems have responded to the increasingly automated office with greater capacities in their modular office wiring systems. The new products include design considerations for harmonics and electrical noise. Also, advances in both manufacturing techniques and materials are allowing manufacturers of fire-rated cables to stay ahead of increasingly stringent building codes.

Safe starting following a power loss has long been a partially resolved concern in industry due to technological limitations. Now, a new technology allows truly safe starting after loss of power. Before this year, safe-start cords would not allow a machine to restart automatically upon loss of power. The new technology does this - it also does not reset until the operator deliberately shuts off the equipment power switch. This provides an added measure of safety to parts, equipment, and people. The impetus for this new feature came after an industrial accident following a loss of power. The operator pressed the start button without first clearing the machine of material. Now, the operator follows the normal (safe) shutdown procedure, then restarts the machine.

When installing Category 5 and other high-performance cables, you usually install cable tray, trapeze systems, or conduit. New technology has given us a product developed with significant electrical contractor input - the voice/data cable fastener. The device features an extra wide, flat-base loop with rounded, smooth edges to eliminate "snag" and provides a flat surface that prevents cable stress and data distortion. The product reduces construction time, materials costs, and labor costs over other options. It's definitely worth considering when planning a cable installation.

The bottom line on wiring is what couldn't be done last year, technology has made possible this year. If the product didn't exit last year, manufacturers are either working on it or have developed something to meet your needs. There are many ways to keep up with these changes. One is to carefully comb each issue of EC&M for the latest developments. Another is to ask your supplier for recommendations, rather than using "cookie-cutting" specifications from a previous design. Each year, the world of conductors becomes just a little larger and just a little more capable - use these traits to your benefit.

Category Four

READER'S CHOICE

These items have appeared over the past year in EC&M's Product News section and received the highest reader response in their category.

Voice, data, communication conductors

A complete line of electronic wire and cable products, featuring voice, data, and communications components, is available. Includes single conductor as well as multiconductor shielded and unshielded hookup wire, communication and instrumentation cable, coaxial cable, and special application cable for audio, communication, and instrumentation applications. The line also includes video accessories, outlet strips, and related devices.

American Insulated Wire

Swimming pool bonding package

This complete swimming pool and spa bonding package meets all requirements of the NEC Sec. 680-22. The bonding package is comprised of compression and mechanical connectors that meet the NEC for installing No. 14 solid/stranded or larger copper conductors. It is designed to meet the needs for terminals tested under grounding and bonding standard UL 467.

Burndy Electrical

Low-voltage busway

The POW-R-WAY III low-voltage busway has a rugged two-piece aluminum housing design that is lightweight and water-resistant. It features standard minimum-sized elbows and is insulated with a Class B epoxy (130 [degrees] C). The option of a torque indicator is also a feature of this design. Has option for 200% neutral, isolated ground bar, housing, and 100% ground.

Cutler-Hammer/Eaton

Power cable

Medium-voltage power cable - both XLP and EPR - in voltages from 5kV to 35kV from this firm's ISO9001 registered plant is available. A completely sealed system is used in making the cable to maximize electrical integrity. Products are UL-listed and meet the latest AEIC and ICEA standards.

American Insulated Wire

Armored cable

Custom armoring is now being offered for optical fiber cables, communications cables, power, fire alarm, or tray cables alone or in any combination, efficiently, and to exacting standards. The steel or aluminum interlocked metallic sheath combines mechanical protection with design flexibility to provide a cost-efficient alternative to cables in conduit.

AFC Cable Systems

Control and tray cables

Manufactured for use in Class 1, Div. 2 hazardous locations, these new control and tray cables are shielded and approved for direct burial. Temperature rated at -25 [degrees] C to +90 [degrees] C dry/+75 [degrees] C wet at 600V. Available in sizes 18 and 16 AWG, rated TFFN and in sizes 14, 12, and 10 AWG, rated VW-1THHN/THWN.

Olympic Wire & Cable

Category Four

PRODUCT REVIEW

Highly flame-resistant cable

The FREP-XL, a new generation of fire retardant 600V multiconductor tray cable, is offered in sizes from 18 AWG through 750kcmil. The heavy-duty thermoset jacket provides FREP-XL with an extra measure of flame resistance. Contains no lead-based materials that would eventually become hazardous waste. Product is UL-approved and listed for direct burial, and is sunlight-resistant and highly moisture-resistant.

BICC Industrial Cable

Plenum speaker cable

The Brilliance plenum speaker cables are highly flexible, 2-conductor open twisted-pair canes featuring high-conductivity ETP copper for high audio performance. They combine high music fidelity and purity. Available in gauges ranging from 18 AWG to 12 AWG.

Belden Wire & Cable

Mining cable

A comprehensive line of mining cables for various applications includes Types W and G flat portable power cable, Type G-GC round portable power cable, Type SHD-GC shovel and dragline cable, UL Types W and G round portable power cable, and UL and ICEA Type MP-GC mine power feeder cable. Cables are OSHA-acceptable and offer resistance to oil, solvents, ozone, and abrasion.

American Insulated Wire

Audio cables

A new line of flexible, nonkink multiple-pair audio cables exhibits a low level of microphonic or triboelectric noise. Called Brilliance AudioFlex Snake Cables, they bring superior performance to traditional analog, remote field-deployable broadcast cabling applications. There is a choice of 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, 24, or 32 pairs of high strand count (41 x 40) 24 AWG bare copper conductors with poly-olefin insulation. The pairs are individually shielded and jacketed, so they can be split out of overall jacket as needed.

Belden Wire & Cable

Mineral-insulated cable

The fire-resistive characteristics of these two-hr fire-resistive mineral-insulated cables make them the ideal choice for critical electrical circuit applications such as fire pump feeders, emergency generator feeders, fireman's elevators, emergency lighting, where fire-resistive wiring needs to comply with NEC Articles 695 and 700-9(c).

Syrtron Mineral Cable

Flat cable

This 16A flat cable installation system consists of a flat cable with five insulated copper wires covered by a protective sheath and an insulation displacement junction box. The system's precise dimensions guarantee the exact position of the protective earth conductor. The boxes can be used for both branching and feeding.

Woertz

I-beam selection gauge

The YGIB Groundlink I-beam gauge is available as a complete kit or simply as an overlay for existing WireMike gauge owners. The new product selection gauge automatically "calls out" in two places the exact UL-listed Hyground compression grounding connector needed for any steel beam - whether standard or angle-flange. The WireMike gauge is only 4.5-in. long when closed. By centering a magnetic overlay using existing marks and fitting the mic jaws onto the I-beam flange, the steel gauge arrows automatically "read" the required product from the printed overlay.

Burndy Electrical

Rugged power cable

Now being offered is Type MV-90 power cable up to 35kV. Both XLP and EPR cable insulation are available. Both product types are UL-listed, AEIC/ICEA-qualified, meet NEC standards, and are rated for 90 [degrees] C in wet or dry locations.

American Insulated Wire

Exothermic connections

It is now possible to make a cable-to-cable connection using the One-Shot welding process. The system is a disposable ceramic unit packaged with all required materials to make the weld. It is easily ignited with a standard flint ignitor. Will accommodate conductor sizes No. 3, No. 4, or No. 6 solid and No. 4 or No. 6 stranded for making a horizontal, parallel connection.

Erico/Electrical Products Group

Computer room ground clamp

This series of ground clamps is designed for use in signal reference grid applications. The CRGC clamps allow you to interconnect copper wire conductors to form a "low noise" ground grid system. These clamps allow you to form connections at most any angle. Specific uses include fabrication under an existing computer room floor.

Harger Lightning Protection

Plenum cable

This PVC plenum-rated cable line now has 15 new cables for Class 2 power-limited circuit applications. PVC offers flexibility to allow easier installation. The new cables are UL-listed Type CL2P and CSA-certified PCC FT6. They are available in numerous gauge sizes in both multiconductor and multipair constructions. Most cables are available in 500 ft and 1000 ft reels.

Alpha Wire

Fire alarm cable

An expanded line of communication and control cable is available for use in fire detection and security systems. The riser cables are intended for use in a vertical run in a shaft or from floor-to-floor. Plenum cables are intended for use in ducts, plenums, and other space used for environmental air. The cables are UL-listed Types FPLR and FPLP and are offered in a variety of gauge sizes in both shielded and unshielded constructions.

Alpha Wire

Copper-sheathed M. I. cable

Copper-sheathed mineral-insulated cable assemblies are available that provide superior performance in Class I hazardous area applications. These assemblies are completely impervious to the passage of liquids and gases, and their high durability and resistance make them ideal for use in a broad range of applications. Available with two to seven conductors in a variety of current ratings. The 600V cables, with copper sheathing and conductors, are UL-listed and fire-rated for two hours at 1850 [degrees] F.

MI Cable

Data and audio cable

Data and audio cable is suitable for work where crosstalk must be reduced to a minimum, and is constructed of stranded tinned copper conductors and insulated with color-coded polyethylene insulation. The conductors are cabled, along with a tinned copper stranded drain wire, which is laid parallel. The cable features an Alumylar shield and an overall chrome polyvinylchloride jacket. It has a temperature range of -20 [degrees] C to +75 [degrees] C and a voltage rating of 400V.

Dearborn Wire and Cable

Insulated flexible busbar

Flexibar, an insulated, flexible busbar developed as a replacement of conventional cable or rigid busbar, can be used for a variety of low-voltage applications. Product is flexible and maintains its shape after bending. No lugs are required, which greatly reduces installation time; and it can actually reduce the amount of materials and space required when compared with traditional cable or busbar. The UL-recognized and CSA-approved product ranges in width from 9 mm to 100 mm, with standard lengths of 6 ft and 8 ft, and can distribute from 50A to 2500A of power.

Erico/Electrical Products Group

Six-wire industrial lighting system

The new EZ-Flex-VI industrial lighting system is a 6-wire system designed to facilitate the installation of high-intensity discharge lighting fixtures. Utilizes a minimum number of components to satisfy a wide variety of applications. Flexibility allows fixtures to be easily and economically bypassed, moved, or added as needed in the future. Fixtures may be removed without interruption to the lighting circuit. The system is prewired and rated for 20A in 120/208VAC or 277/480 configurations. There are up to six No. 12 copper conductors, rated 600V and 90 [degrees] C or 105 [degrees] C insulation, depending on component.

Dual-Lite/Wiring Products Div.

Modular busbar system

The Bulletin 140 Panel System is a set of modular busbar components that make up the framework of a control panel. The components build on each other in a variety of configurations to provide customers the flexibility to design systems that meet their space and control requirements. Uses 3-phase busbar and modules that accommodate 35 mm DIN rail for mounting motor starters, contactors, overload relays, and other electrical components.

Allen-Bradley/Rockwell Automation

Health care facility cable

The Green HCF-90 cable is designed with emphasis on visibility. A bright green stripe on the armor ensures proper identification. Provides superior grounding continuity for health care facilities or any application where an isolated or dedicated ground is required. The armor/bond wire combination and separate, green grounding conductor meet the requirements of NEC Sec. 517-13-Patient Care Areas.

AFC Cable Systems

Continuous access conductor

This product, featuring a continuous access slot, provides total flexibility in supplying electrical power to lighting, machinery, computers, etc. The B60 Busway is rated 60A at 120/277V single- or 3-phase; maximum wattage is 7200W per circuit.

Universal Standard Safety Trolley

Low-smoke wires

Solonon wire products use non-halogen jackets and insulation. Lab tests show these wires produce less smoke, peak heat, and carbon monoxide than PVC or Hypalon. An advanced flame-retardant system is designed for enclosed spaces with high concentrations of electrical conductors. Products are available in a variety of wire and cable types.

Southwire

High power cable

The Armor-X cable keeps out flammable gases, vapors, and moisture with a welded and flexible aluminum sheath that is impervious to oil, chemicals, caustics, and acids. Can be used for Type MC applications and NEC hazardous locations soon to be included in Class I, Div. I. From 600V to 35kV.

Southwire