Nexans urges industry to check for Copper Coated Aluminium
Nexans has advised end users to beware, as it emerges that cables and some branded patch cords are being supplied with Copper Coated Aluminium (CCA), and purchasers are unaware they have non-compliant products.Some cables containing CCA conductors are masquerading as standards compliant ‘Category’ products. Strong price pressure is tempting some installers to use these products without realising the risks.
‘CCA cables are not compliant with recognised cable standards and their installation can result in damaging consequences,’ said Mike Holmes, marketing manager, Nexans Cabling Solutions.
There are a number of dangers associated with using CCA. The cables may suffer from oxidation of exposed aluminium at connection points and can reduce the lifetime of those connections. CCA cables also have a higher resistivity than copper and will produce higher than expected temperature rises when used to provide Power over Ethernet.
‘Aluminium has a poor malleability compared to copper, meaning that it will break more easily if overworked. This can be a particular issue for patching,’ said Holmes.
‘If CCA cables have been used within an installation, they will sometimes be detected during acceptance testing. Failure at this stage could result in demands for replacement of the entire installation, which will have negative financial consequences. A more serious and costly litigation may occur if the use of CCA is discovered by the end user at a later stage.
‘Simply substituting CCA for copper in existing designs, and claiming category compliance, is both fraudulent and high risk and should not be entertained by reputable suppliers.’
Holmes concluded, ‘We recommend a simple colour comparison of the conductors to check what type of cable it is that you are using. It is possible to visually check patch cords by carefully looking at the colour of the wire ends inside the transparent plug, as shown in the picture – wires that appear silvery in colour are likely to be aluminium.’