Contact Cable Connection
Harmonised (from harmony – noun – the state of being in agreement or concord) refers to a cable that is intended to be used in Europe on electronic or electrical equipment. This rating facilitates trade between European countries. CENELEC is the international safety standards agency that develops the electrical standards acceptable to all European CENELEC nations.
According to VDE 0472, the test requires the cable to be thermally stressed by the application of a propane-gas burner, the flame of which shall be 125mm and/or 175mm in height. In order to achieve compliance to VDE 0472 Part 804, there should either be no flaming of the cable at all or the flame should extinguish itself after the burner is removed before it reaches the upper end of the cable being tested.
Germany’s standards agency VDE* originally set the parameters for circuit integrity for cables, wires, and flexible cords in the event of a fire in standard VDE 0472. Whist this standard has now been superseded by German standard VDE 0482, it remains widely referred to.
Cables with improved circuit integrity when subject to fire are often referred to as fire performance cables*. They are categorized according to the length of time during which they can maintain their circuit integrity in the event of extended flame exposure under mechanically unstressed connection.
EXTENDED FLAME EXPOSURE DURATION (FE)
FE60 cables – 60 minutes (1 hour)
FE90 cables – 90 minutes (1.5 hours)
FE120 cables – 120 minutes (2 hours)
VDE 0472 AND INTERNATIONAL STANDARD EQUIVALENTS
VDE 0472 is similar to the British Standard BS 6387* Cat C, and to the International Standard IEC 60331 (FE). It assesses the resistance of a single insulated cable and bunches of cables against vertical flame propagation. As with other national and international standards agencies, there are many sub-sections to circuit integrity tests and flame resistance:
*VDE – The VDE mark (from the original name, Verband Deutscher Elektrotechniker) is meant to indicate safety and quality in electrical, information, and medical technologies. The VDE Testing and Certification Institute in Offenbach, Germany, tests roughly 100,000 products from over 10,000 customers worldwide. See full article on wikipedia.
*Fire performance cables – also referred to as flame retardant cables are designed to resist the spread of fire into a new area. Fire-resistant or fire-rated cables are designed to maintain circuit integrity and continue to work for a specified period of time under defined conditions.
*BS 6387 – British Standard BS6387 covers the performance requirements and test methods for cables required to maintain circuit integrity under fire conditions.
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