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What are the CPR regulations for data cables?

Building and construction cables manufactured after July 1, 2017, are subject to the Construction Product Regulation (CPR). So, what are the CPR regulations for data cables?

The CPR covers all construction products, including power cables, and classifies them by fire response. In addition, any product on the market before this date may continue to be sold and supplied without the orientation to CPR. The cables are rated depending on the properties of their flames. In addition, the ratings are from A to F, with the product checked and Euroclass rated. Furthermore, there is additional classification according to their smoke, flammable droplets, and acidity rating).

It aims to create harmonious production standards and a common language across Europe and help buyers make better-informed decisions. While this is mandatory for all European countries, the minimum requirement for the CPR Euro rating may vary from country to country. Therefore, some countries have adopted a minimum rating. In contrast, some have adopted a risk assessment method. Furthermore, others, such as the United Kingdom, have a minimum rating, but a higher rating is recommended.

Compliance with CPR is mandatory and has implications in the supply chain. However, most of the responsibility falls on manufacturers, importers, and distributors. The onus is then also on the installer to expand their education about the correct choice of cable and its intended use.

An in-depth guide from one of our chosen manufacturers can be found here.

Testing

Testing must be done by a body or laboratory. These labs are expensive to install and must be monitored by a supervisory body. The basic standards of flame spread and heat release are tested according to EN 60332-1-2 (small scale) and EN 50399 (large scale) burn to test. Additional standards exist for smoke opacity, droplets falling during combustion, and smoke acidity. For classes E and F, the required test is the burn test; for the upper classes, smoke and toxicity are measured.

Classification

The rating is based on the use of Euroclass. Thus, a uniform assessment rating reflects the real-life environment of construction products. For cables, Euroclass appreciates the response to fire performance. Relevant Euroclasses for CPR rating include B1ca, B2ca, CCA, DCA Eka, and FCA.

Once a product has been tested by a laboratory, manufacturers are issued documentation of observance with the valid Euroclass for that cable. The class is then used in labelling.

Labelling

Firstly, CE markings must be installed by CPR update regulations. The CE mark should be on the product (rail) and packaging label. Label Declaration Performance (DOP) Number, Declared Performance (Class BCA, CCA, DCA or ECA), Notified Reference to Compatible Standard, Notified Body or Notified Laboratory Identification. It is essential to quote the number and the desired product. The markings on the cable itself should include a historical reference to the standard of conformity and identify the CPR class (B2CA, CCA, DCA, or ECA).

What is CPR Compliance?

CE Labeling is the fastest way to identify a cable, according to CPR. Thus, CE marking is already a legal requirement, but it now requires additional information to help detect it, including CPR classification. CE labels can be on cable or cable packaging. They indicate cable testing by a notified body. Operated independently of manufacturers and suppliers, this rating requires Performance Continuity and Performance Performance (AVCP).

So what do I need to do?

There is a legal requirement that relevant cables manufactured after July 1, 2017, must comply with CPR. As an end-user, you must ensure that the CE labelling is present on the cable or packaging and check for a CPR rating where appropriate. Remember, cables placed on the market before this date are not subject to this legislation and can be installed as such. Once again, this is subject to country-by-country adoption.

End users are urged to be practical in selecting and specifying cables. The cable selected must also meet other national, international, and industry standards. Each installation must be considered in light of country-specific regulations.

For example, in the United Kingdom, the Department of Education specifies the performance category of cable and the required fire rating.

“For new installations, cabling should comply with fire rating requirements defined in the latest version of British Standards 6701, currently stated as Euroclass Cca s1b.d2.a2.” {Department for Education – “Meeting digital and technology standards in schools and colleges”}

One additional consideration when looking at standard meeting cables is ensuring you purchase pure copper cables. There are cheaper alternatives on the market made of a different central core and coated in copper. These cables are lower in performance and, in many cases, a fire hazard.

To read more about these alternative cables, please review The problem with CCA, CCS and CCC Cable and why to avoid them.

 

What is the purpose of the CPR?

Construction Product Regulation (CPR) provides consistent conditions for marketing data cabling products about their performance. This is achieved by providing a “common technical language” that allows for similar methods to be used to evaluate the performance of data cabling products and to compare the performance of products from different manufacturers in different countries.

These methods are formulated in terms of compatibility standards or technical features.

What benefits do CPR regulations for data cables generate?

CPR created a high level of protection for all elements of the installation process, including those during the installation phase and those occupying the buildings after completion.

There should be the same level of protection for all end users. National requirements are regulated, not just recommended. Once non-compliance is detected, national authorities may enforce the withdrawal of unsecured cables from the market.

Users of construction products can better define their performance requirements because:

The manufacturer assumes full responsibility for the performance in the performance declaration, which is a legally binding document (the consequences of non-compliance may be catastrophic for the manufacturer). The performance appraisal and sustainability assessment are defined by the performance appraisal and validation of the performance appraisal and conducted by third-party entities. Market monitoring is more efficient because one can rely on general information structures and dedicated resources.

 

 

For further articles with regards to CPR regulations for data cables, please visit our Knowledge Center HERE.

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