Already for many years the Wire & Cable industry refers to the Limiting Oxygen Index test (LOI) as a screening tool for materials intended not to support combustion. The LOI provides a widely accepted indication of the flammability properties of compounds. The LOI values of cable insulation and sheathing materials range somewhere between 18 and 45. Melos GmbH and Inhol B.V. can boost the flame retardant properties of your cable construction considerably, by recommending FM bedding compounds having LOI values up to 80! These types of bedding compounds can be considered as a protective fire barrier within the cable construction.
Fire prevention and health issues have become a main concern in the cable industry worldwide. An increased use of HFFR bedding compounds in new cable constructions will result in a safer world. As a new approach, we claim that halogen free, low smoke bedding compounds might offer an economic solution by acting as a fire fighter from the inside of the cable. Specific FM bedding compounds will form a tough fire resistant layer underneath the jacket and all around the cores simply because these multi-functional bedding compounds are offering a high LOI. If used in combination with halogen free low smoke sheathing and insulation compounds, it will contribute to more safety as well as cost reduction for power, instrumentation, telecommunication and data cables.
Several approaches can be taken in product selection to improve the all-over safety performance of HFFR cable constructions by using economic materials to obtain an increased overall performance. It is even possible to use favorable priced non-flame retardant insulation materials like polyethylene and still improve the total performance of a cable construction by applying HFFR bedding materials. In other words, a bedding compound should be considered as a fundamental part of smart cable constructions. As a result the toxicity of smoke will no longer be the highest concern, especially within enclosed spaces where means of escape by persons are limited. Examples of enclosed spaces include mass transit rail cars, ships, and offshore oil and gas platforms. Favorable pricing may remove the barriers for the industry to go all along the safe halogen-free and low smoke way in cable design.
Melos and Inhol can advise you how to improve the performance of non-corrosive halogen free cable systems by using high performance HFFR compounds and bedding systems. Our team is at your disposal for any further information.