From the 1st July 2017, the CPR Regulation came into force in all European countries, in the field of environmental safety for all energy and communication cables, of any voltage and type of conductor.
Following the aforementioned date, the CE marking and the Performance Statement have become mandatory for all cables on the European market.
The aims and benefits that the CPR intends to guarantee consist of:
- greater clarity and traceability of products: the information indicated on the construction cables in relation to their performance is guaranteed by a precise documentation that accompanies the product;
- greater safety and reliability of cables: the new products are based on specific fire behavior tests able to meet increased safety and reliability standards compared to the past;
- a higher quality of cables: less counterfeited and out-of-regulation products in order to limit risks to people and things, reducing the danger of fires.
CPR Regulation: how electric cables are classified
The CPR Regulation has been established to ensure greater safety for buildings and people who live or work within them. As the first benchmark, the European Commission has decided to consider the reaction and fire resistance of electric cables, recognizing the importance of their behavior and their role in case of fire. In addition to this main classification, the European authorities have also regulated other aspects, such as the emission of smokes in case of combustion.
According to the CPR, therefore, electric cables are classified by:
- reaction to fire: which includes 7 classes distributed in descending order based on the release of heat and flame propagation. The acronyms in this case are: Aca, B1ca, B2ca, Cca, Dca, Eca, Fca where "ca" stands for “cable.
- acidity: which defines the danger of smokes for people and corrosivity for metals. Indicated with the letter "a" it goes from a1 to a3;
- smoke opacity: which defines the ability to see in case of smoke generated by combustion. Indicated with the letter "s" goes from s1 to s3;
- dripping of dangerous material: in particular of incandescent particles, which can spread the fire. Indicated by the letter "d", it goes from d0 to d2.
Halogen free electric cables: the advantages in case of fire
In compliance with the aforementioned legislation, currently on the market, in place of the "old" PVC cables, the halogen free electrical cables have been imposed (also known by the acronyms LSOH, LS0H or LSZH). Halogen free cables do not contain halogens, ie chlorine, fluorine, bromine, iodine etc.
The installation of this type of product has important advantages in case of fire:
- they do not emit toxic gases: it should be considered that the toxic gases that develop during combustion are one of the main causes of death of people, before they are touched directly by the flames;
- they do not emit corrosive gases: in fact, corrosive gases, together with humidity, become aggressive acids that damage the respiratory system of human beings and corrode both organic and inorganic materials;
- low emission of opaque smokes (low smoke): in the event of a fire, smoke can reduce the visibility inside a building, preventing the location of emergency exits and making rescue and evacuation more difficult.
In addition, halogen free electrical cables, once consumed and destined for incineration, limit the environmental impact during disposal, since as said before they do not release toxic gases harmful to people and the surrounding environment.
The CPR regulation therefore pushes manufacturers and distributors towards market innovations, in order to improve both performance and safety (both in terms of work and civil life) in the field of cabling; the fact that it is also a step forward in terms of environmental prevention can only be a positive aspect.