Food & Drink Process & Packaging Issue 13 2017 - Page 12

IDAC SOLUTIONS The Construction Product Regulation (CPR) for Clear Labelling of Cable Fire Safety Classes For the first time, in accordance with the European Construction Products Regulation, energy, control and communications cables intended for permanent installation in structures must be tested and classified to new EN standards. From 1 July 2017 only cables with classified fire behaviour may be put on the European market. Cables with system circuit integrity are not currently affected by the Regulation. Safety objectives in the event of fire are clearly defined in many European countries: the spread of fire and smoke must be prevented and it must be possible to rescue humans and animals. As a matter of principle, therefore, the use of “easily inflammable” building products is prohibited in all classes of building. Smoke fumes represent the greatest risk in the event of a fire. Most people killed in a fire die from smoke poisoning. The less smoke generated, the higher are the chances of rescue. This is why modern cables feature minimal to low smoke generation. By reducing corrosiveness (acidity) of the flue gases to a minimum, e.g. in halogen-free cables, fire damage and down times after a fire are significantly reduced. Another important aspect is to produce as few flaming droplets as possible, which can reduce fire propagation in horizontal cable systems. The European Construction Products Regulation The new European Construction Products Regulation has been in force since July 2013. Its full name is “Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2011 laying down harmonised conditions for the marketing of construction products and repealing Council Directive 89/106/EEC.” For the first time at European level this Regulation stipulates that cables and lines – and this includes data cables – must be classified and marketed as construction products in terms of fire safety. Requirements governing use are to be regulated nationally in the Member States. The fire behaviour of cables Standard cables installed in buildings have at least passed an inflammability test. In the language of the new European construction products classification they display “acceptable fire behaviour”, which would be consistent with Class E(ca). Modern cables, however, are capable of far more. They show significantly lower fire propagation in the bundle fire test. Classified fire behaviour EN 13501-6 “Fire classification of construction products and building elements, Part 6: Classification using data from reaction to fire tests on electric cables” means that for the first time cables can be classified comparably with other building products. The classification table of the new Construction Products Regulation includes seven main classes from A to F. These are assigned on the basis of heat release and flame propagation criteria (see Table 1). A further fire behaviour classification is made for the additional requirements of smoke production (s), flaming droplets or articles (d) and acidity of combustion gases (a) (see Table 2). Future Market Developments The CPR rate required for the UK market could potentially be C(ca); however this has not been confirmed as of yet. This is purely speculation and may not be confirmed by British standards until later this year or even 2018. Until this has been confirmed and manufacturers can get an idea on anticipated production quantities it is not possible to commit to what price increase may be incurred to produce the higher grade cable. The only logical suggestion is that cabling installers include a caveat in their tender responses advising that should a higher grade CPR be required, a small increase may need to be applied to the cable price. Declarations of performance for each product Since July 2016 the requisite standards for the classification of fire behaviour have been officially applicable and the European test laboratories are accredited to test cables and assign the new European classes. In the transition phase to 1 July 2017 both cables with a declaration of performance which certifies the main class and additional classes assigned and cables which meet current fire behaviour requirements can be put on the market. As of ѡѥٔєā)ձܰ䁍́ѕѕ)ͥɑݥѠѡ܁хɑ́ɭѕ(ȁA@ܹ