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Article Date: 12th August 2013

AEI Cables Launches FRF2 – A Uniquely Flexible FP Cable ‘Quickly Cornering’ the Fire Safety Market

Electric Cable - Cable Systems - Cable Products - Power Cable

AEI Cable

There is a new fire performance cable that bends all the rules on fast installation time. FRF2 by AEI Cables is as bendable as a table lamp flex but uniquely has a 2 hour fire resistance making it the ideal choice for multiple applications where fire safety meets demands for easy installation. It joins AEI Cables’ ‘Total Fire Solutions’ LSZH range of Firetec FP cables which meet key fire performance criteria.

AEI Cables was originally challenged by London Underground to meet their requirements for a flexible 2 hour fire resistant cable which was also suitable for use in subsurface railway installations. FRF2 is now available on the open market for numerous applications owing to its dramatic flexibility and fire performance attributes.

FRF2 is perfect for areas of vibration and where cable needs to bend around complex corners, such as the underground rail environment. Applications such as Emergency and Normal Lighting Circuits, ‘Enhanced’ Emergency Lighting Circuits (BS 5266-1), Egress Signage, Temporary power supplies, Fire Alarm related circuits, Help Points, Amplifier supplies and Category 3 Control (BS8519) circuits are also ideal applications for FRF2, where, in contrast to many fp cables which significant expertise and time to install, FRF2 reduces installation significantly.

PULL QUOTE “A two hour rated fully flexible fire performance cable with unique capabilities, FRF2 is dramatically reducing installation times and saving money.”

Ian Watts, Project Manager at AEI predicts high demand for this latest fire safe cable: “AEI’s design team is daily challenged by clients to provide new cable products with bespoke features for very specific applications. Because FRF2 is so flexible, it can be viewed as a bespoke design already due to its versatile design and practical application potential.”

The two key fire performance criteria were the fire resistance security of an ‘Enhanced Grade cable’ (BS EN50200 PH120 & BS8434-2) and the exacting fire reactance requirements of London Underground’s Category 1 standard 1-085 Fire Safety Performance of Materials.

Cables meeting BS EN50200 PH120 & BS8434-2 are described as ’Enhanced’ in BS5266-1 Emergency lighting - Part 1: Code of practice for the emergency escape lighting of premises, BS5839-1 Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings, and BS5839-8 for Voice alarms.

Specifiers maybe unaware that the same cable performance recommendation is used in BS 8519:2010 Selection and installation of fire-resistant power and control cable systems for life safety and fire-fighting applications (Code of practice). Cables meeting BS EN50200 PH120 & BS8434-2 are specified in BS8519 for a Category 2 Control cable. Effectively this gives a recommendation for the cables which will interface between a fire alarm system and many other systems such as (mechanical) fire engineering kit or equipment. However these control cables may be small unprotected cables and may also require mechanical protection.

Beneficially Firetec FRF2 has the ability to meet applications in all these codes of practice and has been third party certified to BS EN50200 PH120 and BS8434-2 i.e. ‘Enhanced Grade’ and BS8519 Category 2 Control. Furthermore, AEI Cables’ fire test laboratory has successfully tested FRF2 to Category 3 Control.

Most small fire resistant cables are tested in free air using the BSEN50200 test rig. Because Firetec FRF2 was also likely to be installed in containment, AEI successfully tested FRF2 to IEC 60331-3 as indicated by BS5266-1. 8.2.2.(d) in addition to 8.2.2 (b) thus satisfying both the 2 hour survival times for an Enhanced emergency lighting cable and a cable system. Codes of Practice have for many years reminded us that the mechanical protection of cables by conduit, ducting & trunking should not be assumed to give protection against fire, indeed such an installation environment may even compromise the performance of a fire resistant multicore cable. Therefore specifying engineers will find it beneficial that FRF2 has been fire test evaluated in both environments (free air & conduit) which are conditions likely to occur in an installation where additional mechanical protection is indicated.

The conductors of AEI Firetec FRF2 are Class 5 and the complete cable complies with the flex test in BS6500 to 32000 cycles flexing and the high performance compounds deliver a potential 90°C conductor and the cable has a 450/750V class rating.

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