Posted by: Industrial IT Team on February 26, 2013
"Green” means different things to different people, but overall “green consciousness” is a trend that is being embraced globally to improve consumer safety and to protect the environment. One major government initiative has been to remove the use of halogens from a number of products—including electrical and electronic cables.
Although awareness of—and demand for—green products in the wire and cable industry is still emerging, it is never too soon to become cognizant of the capabilities and benefits of halogen-free cables. In particular, it is possible today to purchase cable that meets the current environmental standards (using a low smoke zero halogen design [LSZH]) that also demonstrates the reliability associated with traditional cable products.
Halogens have been a popular component in flame retardants for a number of years. Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) can be found in a variety of products. In the United States, electronics use the highest volume of the bromine-based PBDEs, followed by building insulation, polyurethane foam, and wire and cable.
Halogenated compounds using chlorine or fluorine are routinely used in common jacketing materials including PVC, CSPE, CPE, and FEP and PTFE fluoropolymers.
Halogenated cables are considered to be good fire suppressors. However, there is a cost. When released through burning or other chemical reactions, halogenated compounds emit toxic fumes and an opaque smoke. Halogens bind with moisture to create acid, which can harm humans in the vicinity of the fire and can also cause corrosion and other damage to sensitive and expensive industrial equipment. Belden's GreenChoice cables provide an alternative.
To learn more about non-halogenated cables, LSZH cabling options, and the opportunity to download the new Belden white paper: "The Argument for Low Smoke Zero Halogen: Safer Cabling with No Performance Loss," look for part two of this topic in a future blog.