Low Smoke Zero Halogen Cable - LSZH or LSOH Cable
Why Use LSOH (Low Smoke Zero Halogen) Cable?
Electrical cables are part and parcel of modern life, without them, we would lose all the luxuries we take for granted such as lighting, heating and power. Cables, therefore, are essential, but they do come with drawbacks.
One of the most obvious downsides with traditional cables is that they don’t perform well when exposed to flames. Cables manufactured with PVC sheathes, for example, create thick, black clouds of toxic smoke when they come into contact with fire. Accordingly, there’s a need for cables which are safer and less toxic. Thankfully, LSOH cables deliver exactly this.
What is LSOH Cable?
The main difference between LSOH cables and conventional cables is that the LSOH variety is designed with a unique thermoplastic jacket. This jacket is designed using a combination of thermoplastic compounds – usually polyolefin-based – which maximise LSOH cables fire retardant quality. Most typically, these cables are designed with fire safety and reliability in mind; LSOH cables provide a perfect solution for cabling in confined spaces which are poorly ventilated. Once exposed to fire, LSOH cables will produce little to no smoke and ensure that visibility and air quality is not compromised.
What Are the Testing Procedures for LSOH ?
For a cable to be classified as LSOH , it needs to go through a series of stringent tests to demonstrate its safety:
- The amount of halogens – which are highly reactive and combustible elements such as chlorine and fluorine – must make up less than 0.2% of the cable’s weight.
- LSOH cables must adhere to the MIL-C-24643 specifications.
- A PH level of under 3 has to be determined by acid gas testing.
- Details of a cables combined halogen content, acid gas equivalence and smoke release must be recorded.
- Underwriter Laboratories (UL) testing must be completed to deem the cable as safe to use.
What is the Cost?
LSOH cable is not a legal requirement when it comes to dealing with electrical systems. However, it’s a cable solution which provides significantly enhanced safety, and the benefits are obvious to see. Financial budgets, of course, are critical when it comes to investing in new components, so it’s important to understand if LSOH is cost effective.
PVC cables have been in use for over 60 years and remain a budget friendly option, hence why these cables are found in so many properties. In comparison, LSOH cables are, quite simply, more expensive. Due to the variety of compounds and associated machine processes, the labour demands of manufacturing LSOH cables is reflected in the price. Nonetheless, the enhanced safety features of LSOH cabling means that the additional cost is less a frivolous outlay, and more of an additional insurance policy for your property. Accordingly, in the long-term, LSOH can be considered highly cost effective.
LSOH cable is a relatively new product in the world of cabling and, as with all products in this position, the costs of implementing it appear high. However, the enhanced safety more than makes up for any difference in price when compared to, for example, PVC cables which can quickly become hazardous when heated. And, as LSOH cable becomes more commonplace, prices will fall in line with its traditional rivals and offer a fantastic cable solution.
If you would like to know about LSOH cable or want some help and advice, just call us to speak to one of our engineers.
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