igus receives UL approval for halogen-free TPE cables

Treotham Automation Pty Ltd

Tuesday, 22 February, 2022

igus receives UL approval for halogen-free TPE cables

Industrial cable manufacturer igus has announced that it is the world’s first cable manufacturer to receive UL AWM certification for halogen-free TPE cables.

The independent organisation Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is one of the most important authorities in the USA in terms of product safety. It has been testing components of machines and systems since 1894 to see whether they are suitable for industrial use. Their seal is one of the prerequisites for a successful market entry in North America. Fire protection is a key decisive criteria. This is because, according to the US National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), machine fires are the fourth leading cause of fires in industrial environments in the USA, closely followed by fires caused by electrical factors.

“We are particularly pleased that igus has now become the world’s first manufacturer to receive a UL seal for halogen-free TPE cables,” said Rainer Rössel, Vice President and Head of the chainflex cables business unit at igus. “The approval demonstrates to our customers that they have the safety aspect with chainflex high-end TPE cables.”

Fire protection can also be achieved without halogens

Up until now, the flame retardancy of cables has been the key factor in obtaining UL certification for fire protection. Approval is therefore only granted to products containing flame retardants such as chlorine, fluorine or bromine. These additives increase the flame retardancy; however, they also generally change the chemical structure of the jacket and reduce the mechanical load-bearing capacity.

Igus therefore focused less on preventing a fire from spreading, but rather on how the cable itself causes a fire. TPE jacket compounds are extremely resistant to mechanical loads as well as external influences. They can therefore be used in a wide range of applications: in small installation spaces of up to 4xd, on highly dynamic, short travels with accelerations of 100 m/s² or on long travels in a temperature range from -35 to +100°C. At the same time they are media resistant, even with special organic oils. In all of these energy chain applications, the halogen-free TPE jacket compounds minimise premature ageing of the outer jacket by a factor of up to 10 when compared to the same materials containing flame retardants.

According to igus, the reason that the cause of fire is reduced is because of the low likelihood that the jacket will break, which means the cable cannot cause a fire because a reduction in the cross-section of the cores is impossible without a jacket break. This was the argument that convinced UL to grant approval.

“So far, customers have already had the opportunity to choose from 1044 chainflex cables with UL approval,” Rössel said. “With the new certification, there are now more than 200 TPE cables, so we can offer an almost complete UL-certified product range.”

Customers in Australia benefit from this by being halogen-free, as do those who build machines for the North American market, where UL certification of the individual components is the required rule.

igus TPE cables are available in Australia from Treotham Automation Pty. Ltd.

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