Electrical cables have been emerging since its invention. Advancements in the electrical products enhanced the range of electrical harnesses and cables. Electrical cables material has been improved with the passage of time. In applications ranging from networking and computer equipment to industrial machine controls, engineers and project managers are encountering new material requirements that are driving new offerings of alternative “halogen-free” wire management products. As environmental and other trends lead toward future growth of these products, confusion exists among those who must specify their use.
In the electrical and electronic industry confusion does exist with “halogen-free” terminology in part since the term is often associated with environmental directives and manufacturer driven “green” product initiatives. “Halogen-free” does not alone indicate that a product enhances safety, health or is better environmentally for a given application. To equate any of these two directly is a misconception, which has led many in the industry to consider “halogen-free” simply a marketing term. When halogen-free material is required for wire management products, consideration should be given to all product attributes prior to selecting the product for use in a particular application.
Halogen Free Cables Testing
Halogen Free cables are more environment-friendly and they have the potential to last long. But all such electrical cables need to pass some extensive testing procedures. These tests can essentially be separated into four separate categories:
- Electrical performance
The most important compound characteristic that separates an insulation material from a jacket material is electrical performance. It is further classified into the following sub-tests.
- Long-Term Insulation Resistance (LTIR) Tests
- Capacitance and Relative Permittivity Tests
- Flame propagation
There are a number of flame propagation test standards and methods in the wire and cable industry, with the most prominent and recognized flame tests being IEEE 1202, UL 1685 and UL VW-1.
- Smoke measurement
The UL 1685 (Method 1) test also has an optional smoke measurement component. As the cable is being burned in the tray, a system of instruments measures both the peak smoke release rate and the total smoke released during the test.
Hence, halogen-free cables are better at operations and are more environmentally friendly.