A RANGE of cables specifically designed for use in hazardous environments has been launched by the Australian arm of energy and telecom cable systems manufacturer Prysmian Group.

Prysmian Power Cables and Systems Australia says the flame-barrier cables are suitable for use with non-barrier type flameproof guards – and can be used on oil and gas platforms, chemical installations and other hazardous sites.

Australia currently has no certification scheme in place for hazardous area cables, making proper specification of these cables an extremely complex process.

For cable entry systems to flameproof enclosures, the usual method was to specify barrier type flameproof glands while worrying less about the specifics of cable construction.

However this added significant costs to installation due to the high cost of barrier type glands and their relatively long installation time.

Prysmian’s Cable Design & Applications Manager Engineering, Albert Majadire, said the current Australian Standard merely stated that such cables should be ‘compact and substantially circular’.

“Naturally our design went much further, not only ensuring careful geometric arrangement of components and using fillers where required but also looking closely at all processes involved in achieving the desired geometric construction,” he said.

“We then reviewed at all relevant standards and defined an appropriate test method which involved putting our cable samples with certified cable glands and repeating the same test used to certify the glands,” Mr Majadire explained.

“With our cable there was no flame transmission from the flameproof enclosure to the outside environment.”

Prysmian’s flameproof cables cover all requirements for LV Power, LV Control and ELV Instrumentation and offer compact and circular construction, evaluated and tested for gas groups IIA and IIB to the requirements of AS/NZS 60079.14-2009 clause 10.4.2 (b) and AS/NZS 60079.1-2007 clause 15.2 utilising already certified Exd rated, non-barrier type flame proof glands with sealing rings.

They also offer armoured cable affording wiring protection levels exceeding EPL Gb for non-energy limited wiring systems in accordance with AS/NZS 60079.14-2009 table 6. This protection level is generally adequate for Zone 1 and Zone 2.

In addition, it has the option of specific engineering to provide reduced flame propagation exceeding the requirements of IEC 60332-3 category C bunched vertical test.

General market orange circular TPS cables do not necessarily comply with this performance – they are required to comply only with single cable burn test to IEC 60332-1-2 which is not considered adequate performance for bunched cable systems.

“We now have cable designs that have been proven through independent testing, evaluated to the highest appropriate standards by leading NATA-accredited laboratories and which are backed by a technical report based on sound engineering practice,” Mr Majadire said.