Why Is It So Important That Cables and Wires Not Only Be Flame Retardant, but Also Halogen-Free?

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD CABLE AND WIRE act as fuses enabling a fire to spread. They must not act as fuel for a fire, and should not release any dangerous substances.That is exactly what happens with materials whose flame retardation is based on halogens – i.e. fluorine, chlorine, bromine or iodine. Halogens are present in polymers like PVC, FEP, and PTFE. PUR, PP, P and TPE materials are often added as flame retardants. They can escape in case of a fire, and smother the surrounding flames. Later, however, they combine with water vapour to form acids that cause irritation to the eyes, skin and respiratory system, as well as attacking metal and glass.HELUKABEL safety cables are halogen-free. The flame retardation is based on aluminium hydroxide. In case of fire, it gives off water that crystallises. This cools down the surface and displaces oxygen, there by inhibiting ignition. No corrosive gases are produced, only light smoke and the danger of toxic gases is much lower. HELUKABEL offers a wide range of halogen-free cables, such as the MULTIFLEX 512PUR, JZ 500 HMH, MEGAFLEX500. These have proven theirflammability properties in rigorous testing according to VDE and DIN-EN safety standards. For special applications, there are cables and wires with the FE 180 / E 30 specification. During a fire, these remain functional for at least 30 minutes, and offer insulation integrity for up to 180 minutes. In this way, they ensure the emergency operation of lifts, doors, etc. as well as safety, fire alarm and emergency systems.

Ömer Durak at a table
Ömer Durak is Head of Cable Design & Development at the HELUKABEL plant in Windsbach. (©Tobias Bugala)