Some business owners place significant emphasis on selecting the ideal hazardous lighting or explosion-proof equipment but neglect to choose the appropriate cables. However, selecting the correct cables can be as essential for safety as choosing the most suitable tools for your environment and task. Let us share the vital factors to consider and the most widely used cable types so that you make an informed decision on the matter.
Factors to consider when selecting the best cable for use in hazardous areas
Factor #1: Ambient temperature of the work area
Sometimes, hazardous areas contain extreme temperatures. So if the cables are not rated for the specific temperatures of the environment, it is easily damaged and will fail. Therefore, it is vital to select a cable that can withstand the ambient temperature of the area, whether that involves a high-temperature rating or a low-temperature rating.
Factor #2: Risk of mechanical damage to the cable
Depending on the nature of your business, your work environment might have machinery and equipment laying about that can easily damage your cables if they are not adequately protected. Cables present in such locations must be rugged and can withstand rough treatment. We recommend getting armoured cable glands for additional protection, as the steel mesh can protect the cable from damage.
Factor #3: The cable’s resistance to chemicals or solvents
If your hazardous lighting and explosion-proof equipment is constantly exposed to chemical agents, you require cables that are rated for the specific solvents that are present in the work area. Failing to do so can damage your cables, potentially causing serious safety hazards.
Factor #4: Offshore specifications
Businesses operating in offshore environments have additional factors to consider when selecting cables for hazardous areas. You may require cables that are rated for low smoke and zero-halogen to minimise the risk of fire or other hazards.
Factor #5: The cable protection system
A cable protection system safeguards power cables from fatigue, over-bending, and abrasion at critical locations, thus protecting them from being damaged by various hazards. The cable protection system you select must be carefully designed to provide appropriate protection for the cable, whether that includes conduit, armour, or other types of protection systems.
Factor #6: Length of cable run
Longer cable runs may require cables rated for higher voltages or designed to resist electrical interference. Therefore, you should select cables suited for the length of the run to avoid affecting your equipment's performance.
The most widely used cable types
There are various cables available on the market, each with its particular advantages. Let us detail the most widely used cable types so that you can determine which is the ideal fit for your needs.
1. SY cables
SY cables are most suitable for the on-shore energy and industrial sector as their PVC outer sheath and braided armour help protect them from mechanical damage. The braided armour is particularly helpful in situations where there is a high risk of the cable being driven over, walked on, or trapped.
The cables also have a maximum ambient temperature of +70 degree Celsius, making them ideal for hazardous lighting and explosion-proof equipment in hotter environments. However, it might not be suitable for low-temperature environments below +5 degrees Celsius since the cable can become brittle.
2. Ship’s braided cables
Ship’s braided cables are often chosen for offshore installations or marine applications where a flame, heat, or oil retardant cable is needed, as they are made with low-smoke, halogen-free materials. Similar to SY cables, they contain steel braid. However, the material is more durable but less flexible.
3. H07RN-F cables
H07RN-F cables are frequently used in hazardous lighting in Europe as they are heavy-duty power supply cables with a durable rubber sheath. They are also designed to be flexible and can withstand oil, grease, and mechanical and thermal stresses. However, they lack a protective metal braid, so you might want to consider armoured cable glands for additional protection.
4. PUR cables
Cables that use polyurethane (PUR cables) as sheathing material are seeing increased usage in recent applications since they are flame resistant, halogen-free, and offer increased chemical, mechanical, mud, and UV resistance. Therefore, they are suitable for rugged environments and can operate in low- and high-temperature conditions, between -40 and +125 degree Celsius.
At the end of the day, regardless of the cables you choose, it is essential for you to utilise explosion-proof cable glands when securing the electrical cable to your explosion-proof equipment in a hazardous area due to the presence of explosive substances. This tool offers strain relief and protects delicate electrical wiring from corrosion, harmful gases, rust, and water while ensuring worker safety.
If you seek durable and robust explosion-proof cable glands to safeguard your cables, look no further than Supermec. We offer a comprehensive range of hazardous area cable glands, including Ex d cable glands and armoured cable glands, at affordable prices! Do not hesitate to contact us today to learn more about our products and services.