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Sun 2 Mar 2008 04:00 AM

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Demand affecting cable quality

The massive rise in demand for cables in the Middle East is resulting in sub-standard products being used on some projects warned British Approvals Service for Cables (BASEC) chief executive Jeremy Hodge.

The massive rise in demand for cables in the Middle East is resulting in sub-standard products being used on some projects warned British Approvals Service for Cables (BASEC) chief executive Jeremy Hodge.

"Because there is such a huge demand, the market is sucking in anybody with cables and there are serious quality concerns about some of it," stated Hodge.

He explained that while firms may not be purposefully seeking sub-standard products for projects, the fast-track time frames involved for new-build developments are having a significant impact.

The problem exists in Europe also but for different reasons. Hodge explained: "Europe is a very open market so a lot of dubious cable is coming in; the issue there is largely price, because the economy is not as buoyant. [In the Middle East] the issue is delivery," he stated.

"The realities of commercial project timescales take hold...[to counteract this] people need to do more forward planning," Hodge added.

The issues of installing such cables in low voltage (lv) applications will generally become evident during or soon after installation is complete.

"The real safety performance issues are due to the polymer...if you have poorly cured polymer it can be damaged during the installation, resulting in failure of the common [electrical performance] tests," he explained.

One of the biggest concerns is failure of the insulation resistance test.

"The electrical codes require a certain level of system resistance from a safety point of view...it all requires a certain level of insulation or it could cause problems for safety in terms of fires and electrical shocks," Hodge stressed.

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