Spotlight on cables - delivering power and control to critical infrastructure

Thu-01-70

Mining operations the world over are reliant on a network of cables to power lighting, equipment, and critical systems, and maintain control and monitoring systems. Reliability is the gold standard sought across any installation, and cables are the backbone of all operations. So when was the last time you took a minute to think about them?

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Cables are designed to meet both the performance requirements of the application and stand up to the demands of the installation environment. For trailing applications such as mobile equipment they must be robust and resistant to abrasion and greases; for data transmission they often require shielding to prevent electromagnetic interference from other signals; and power cables may need additional mechanical protection. You also have to consider the environment – are they installed underground or in enclosed spaces, particularly where there’s sensitive equipment or where in a fire evacuation could be challenging? In which case a Low Smoke Zero Halogen (LSZH) cable should be installed so that in the event of fire there’s no toxic fumes and only low levels of dense black smoke emitted.


Yet even when you’ve specified the correct cable, having identified the national and international standards it must meet, you still have to assure that cable meets the necessary quality and compliance requirements. As a cable buyer you should be able to rely on your chosen supplier to have you covered from a due diligence standpoint, but it’s worth asking a few questions just to be sure. The impact of sub-standard cable can mean anything from increased installation time due to poor strippability through to short circuit and a fire hazard if the materials and construction are not as mandated.


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