Fibre optic cables for maximum fire safety

Cable specialist Draka, part of Prysmian Group, offers a complete range of high fire safety Cca and B2ca fibre optic cables, with up to 144 fibres, that are fully compliant with EU Standard 50575 of the Construction Products Regulations (CPR).

The portfolio includes the non-metallic, gel-filled central loose tube cables E22 (Cca) and E25 (B2ca) and the non-metallic stranded gel-filled loose tube cables N10/N14 (Cca) and N09, N11 and N13 (B2ca) for indoor and outdoor use. These industry leading cables combine high water resistance, 144 fibres count and high mechanical strength with maximum fire protection.

Since July 1, 2017, power, control and communication cables in buildings have been covered by EU Standard 50575 of the CPR. It concerns fire classification and test methods for cables used in buildings. With EN 50575, the previous fire classes for cables – A1, A2, B1, B2 and B3 – were replaced by seven new classes: Aca, B1ca, B2ca, Cca, Dca, Eca and Fca. Power cables, communication and control cables for permanent installation in buildings are tested for energy content, flame spread, smoke generation, acidity, heat release and drop formation (burning drops of plastic materials that contribute to fire propagation) and classified accordingly.

This is the first time that the EU has laid down uniform regulations for cables and wires for fire classes (including Cca and Bca) and test methods, as the fire properties of cables are an important factor for overall fire safety.

“When the European regulatory authorities or associations recommended the new fire classes Cca and B2ca as minimum requirements for many construction types under the CPR, fibre optic cable manufacturers faced a new challenge,” says Tayfun Eren, Product Manager at Draka, Prysmian Group. “The cable solutions available on the market shortly after the new regulation came into force were not yet able to meet the demanding fire protection classes. Cable manufacturers had to develop new solutions.”

Draka’s response to the regulation is a full range of Cca and B2ca certified products. The E22 central tube and the stranded loose tubes N10 and N14 meet the requirements of fire protection class Cca. E25, N09, N11 an N13 are B2ca certified. All cable types of the E- and N-series are gel filled, non-metallic and available with up to 144 fibres. They are waterproof, protect against bending/physical effects and N14/N09/N13 options offer high rodent resistance. Due to their non-metallic nature, they are easy to install. Both ranges are suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

“Some manufacturers brought dry-tube solutions to the market, sacrificing water-proofing and mechanical features” states Tayfun. “On the other hand, metal armour was another viable solution for having Cca or higher classes, but it is not installer friendly for indoor cabling. Draka’s approach has been different, using gel filled, non-metallic cable construction which doesn’t compromise these aspects.”

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