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Why is it dangerous to use a poor quality cable?

The share of counterfeit cable products on the Russian market has reached colossal proportions and threatens national security. According to statistics from the last five years, one in four fires in the country is caused by faulty wiring and electrical equipment. Moreover, the culprit for 6 out of 10 fires is poor quality cable.
In all, in 2017 alone, electrical-related fires killed 1,756 people and caused about 5.5 billion rubles of damage.

  • 132,400 — number of fires
  • 7,782 — number of people killed in fires
  • 14 billion rubles — direct material damage from fires
  • ¼ due to faulty electrical wiring and misuse of electrical equipment
*according to data for 2017

LIABILITY: Companies selling poor quality cable products (even if not intentionally) often neglect the existing liability and penalties that are imposed in such situations. Many believe that all liability for substandard products should rest with the manufacturer. It is a misconception, since the employees of the relevant specialist services do not check the quality of the cable products, their labellings and certificates with the manufacturer, but exclusively with the organization that sells them. In case of violations, there are two possible types of punishment or liability:
Criminal Administrative
Article 238 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation Article 14.43 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation
Imprisonment of an entrepreneur for an approximate period of 7 to 12 years with a concurrent fine of 3 to 5 million rubles. Monetary fines can be as high as a million rubles and the destruction of substandard products at the same time. Or suspension of work for a period of 90 days or more and confiscation of the substandard goods.

According to current legislation, not only the company selling the product shall be liable for low-quality products, but also the company that laid the cable. In the process of commissioning of the construction project or the assembly processes carried out, the contractor shall automatically have certain warranty obligations under the Article 756 of the Civil Code. According to the law, the installer and every contractor laying out a cable shall be liable to prosecution by the court and material losses. In addition, the operation of poor quality cable can lead to losses based on forced downtime in work processes, as well as with the removal of poor quality cables and a significant deterioration in reputation. Attention! Due to active position of modern executive authorities, whose activities are aimed at combating counterfeit cable products, there is a high probability of inspections. It is worth paying more attention to the overall quality of cable products.

How to distinguish a poor quality cable?

Unscrupulous manufacturers, in order to set a lower price for their products, go as far as deliberately reducing technical and performance requirements. It is difficult to determine whether cable products conform to the established standards without the use of dedicated tools, but there are indirect parameters that effectively identify counterfeits. Let’s look at the basic parameters using power cables as an example.

Current conducting conductor (CC):

The actual cross-section of the conductor is not regulated, the actual regulation relates only to the resistance (as per GOST 22483-2012), so in some cases the reduction of CC cross-section is up to 50%. The average deviation from the rated cross-section, within which a quality copper conductor does not exceed the standard resistance, constitutes maximum 7%. The quality of CC can be determined by the color of the metal itself. The conductors should shine evenly and brightly. No color impregnations or irregularities accepted! Lack of light glare is an alarming sign of poor quality metal, unsuitable for electrical engineering.

Thermal barrier (for fire resistant cable lines)

The thermal barrier ensures that the conductors are fully insulated when the cable comes into contact with an open flame and helps keep it operational in the event of fire. There is often an absence of a mica tape or an overlap with one rather than with two tapes. Also, instead of wrapping the CC with tape, a longitudinal application can be found.

Insulation:

The quality of the insulation material is very difficult to determine visually without specialized equipment. Still, the color of the insulation should be uniform and saturated and the insulated current conducting conductor should be pliable when kinked. The misalignment of the insulated current conducting conductor is a sign of poor quality products. Reduction of insulation thickness is a serious offence. If you have any doubts about the required insulation thickness upon visual inspection, you should discard the purchase of such products.

Metal armor:

Reduction of the thickness and a decrease in the coefficient of overlap of the shielding element are often found. For power cables armored with galvanized steel bands, the overlap factor must be at least 50% and the steel band thickness must be 0.4 mm.

Outer sheath:

Flammable outer sheath materials can be used instead of fire-retardant materials. But it is very difficult to visually determine the quality of materials. The sheath should be uniform, free from abrasions, dents and inclusions. The thickness of the sheath is often reduced. If you have any doubts about the required sheath thickness during visual inspection, you should discard the purchase of such products. Also, the cross-section of the cable has an ideal round shape. In power cables, it is compulsory to apply an inner sheath with filling of the inter-phase space. In non-armored cables with a cross-section up to 16 sq.mm it is permissible not to apply an inner sheath, but the outer sheath must be applied with filling of the inter-phase space.

Labelling:

Cables and wires must be in all cases labelled with the name and/or trademark of the manufacturer; brand or designation of the product; designation of the standard or specifications according to which the product is manufactured; main parameters and characteristics of the product affecting safety, if they are not included in the designation; date of manufacture. Counterfeit products at best have the cross-section and cable type labelled on them. There is no information about the manufacturer. All “no name” products are 100% counterfeit and often of low quality. The labelling must be clear, even and not washed off with water or hands.


Why can’t a quality cable be cheap?

Another sign of counterfeiting is a low price. What are unscrupulous manufacturers saving on?

antikontrafakt-01.jpg

Our Factory is a full-cycle manufacturing facility with modern equipment designed for production and product testing. The latter stage is simply “bracketed out” by small and backyard manufacturers. At our company, cables undergo a multi-stage testing system, including resistance measurement of current conducting conductor, high voltage insulation integrity test and climatic tests. We also test external cable covers for durability. We also have incoming goods inspection: to be absolutely sure of the quality of the finished product, we check the materials — both metals and polymers — delivered to the factory.

Ways to carry out an initial independent check of PVC-insulated power cables

Cable sheath labelling

The marking in all cases includes the name and/or trademark of the manufacturer; brand or designation of the product; designation of the standard or specifications according to which the product is manufactured; main parameters and characteristics of the product affecting safety, if they are not included in the designation; date of manufacture.

Labelling example:

Expert-Cable LLC ВВГнг(А)-LS 4×50мс (N)-1 GOST 31996-2012 ЕАС РФ (Eurasian Union Russian Federation) 2019

The absence of any above information indicates a possible concealment of the counterfeit by the cable manufacturer.

Current conducting conductor

Round

Use a micrometer or caliper, measure the current conducting conductor diameter, which must be no less than the values in Table 1.

Sector-shaped

Weigh 1 meter of current conducting conductor after cutting it off and removing the insulation. It is permissible to use a section of less than one metre, but not less than 30 cm. The resulting value must be divided by the actual length of the current conducting conductor in meters. The ratio of weight of current conducting conductor to length of current conducting conductor must not be less than that given in Table 1.

Insulation

Cut the insulation ring off the core, measure the insulation thickness at three points using a micrometer or caliper and calculate the average value. The resulting value must be at least as specified in Table 2.

Inner sheath (over twisted core)

It must be pressed out with filling of the interphase space. It is not permissible to wrap using tapes instead of the pressed out inner sheath.

Armor tape

Using a micrometer or vernier caliper, measure the thickness of the armor tape. Armor tape thickness should not be less than 0.3 mm.

ATTENTION! If deviations are found in at least one of the check points, it is recommended that samples with accompanying documentation be handed over to an accredited testing laboratory. Only specialists can give a final opinion on products conformity with regulations.



Expert-Cable LLC products

Copper-smelting

A copper processing project was implemented in 2016. The company launched continuous up-casting process named Upcast®. The serial production of 8 to 25 mm rolled copper wiring from M00* oxygen-free copper has been established. The line capacity is up to 12,000 tons per year.

Rolled stock

At the same time, we launched a line for long rolling stock processed with continuous extrusion method, Conform 500. Thus, the process of making differently shaped copper sections was implemented. Serial production of copper buses as per GOST 434-78 made of M1 and higher grade copper (chemical composition according to GOST 859-2001) has been established. Profile drawing ranges from 200 to 3800 mm and maximum width is 240 mm.


Cable and wire products of Expert-Cable LLC

We currently have the following product groups in serial production:

  • Power cables with plastic insulation up to 6 kV

  • Control cables with plastic insulation

  • Flexible power and control cables

  • Installation cables and wires

We manufacture products with a variety of design elements:

  • Copper or aluminum foil shield

  • Copper wire shield

  • Galvanized steel wire armor

  • Galvanized steel strips armor

  • Aluminium tape or aluminium alloy tape armor

Our products are available in various designs with regard to fire hazards:

  • «нг(А)»
  • «нг(А)-LS»
  • «нг(А)-LSLTX»
  • «нг(А)-HF»
  • «нг(А)-FR»
  • «нг(А)-FRLS»
  • «нг(А)-FRLSLTx»
  • «нг(А)-FRHF»
  • Including cold-resistant «-ХЛ»



EXPERt class® cable and wire products

In all macroclimatic areas of Russia, industry and utilities need reliable cables that will perform under difficult climatic conditions at extremely low temperatures and humidity, on land and at sea. In addition to the need for such a cable, there is a need for this cable to be domestically produced. This is the tone set by the import substitution program. EXPERt class® products meet all the requirements for the control of high-safety products. In terms of fire hazard indicators and characteristics, as well as operational reliability, cable products of this group are superior to current domestic and imported counterparts in the Russian Federation market.

The main advantages of EXPERt class® cables:

  • A wide range of design features, allowing you to cover any customer’s needs for any application;
  • All structural elements are specified in the labelling, which allows to ensure openness in working with the customer when ordering products and the customer chooses the design elements themselves, without overpaying for unused elements imposed by the manufacturer;
  • The flexibility class of current conducting conductor up to 6 provides easy installation with many possible kinks;
  • The use of more flexible materials in production, which together with the Class 5-6 conductor gives a significant advantage in cable flexibility;
  • High stability of the insulation electrical properties through the use of eccentricity monitoring devices;
  • High thermal-mechanical characteristics of the insulation enable it to withstand higher vibration loads during operation;
  • Increased performance characteristics: resistance of cable sheath to ozone, UV radiation without additional protection, high resistance to oil and grease, possibility of using the cables in cold climate areas;
  • Cables have no restrictions for laying on different levels of routes