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Copper On The Move
A look back at copper fluctuations in 2010 Winter 2010 Issue 9

The rescue of the 33 trapped While fluctuations have an obvious £6,000.00

Chilean copper miners was effect on the price of electric cable, the
perhaps the only good press proportion of copper in a cables cost Copper Price (£) 2010
copper received in 2010. varies significantly.
Unfortunately as each plucky miner £5,000.00
was rising skyward, so was the Simple cables such as panel wiring,
price of copper. twin and earth, flexes and armoured
cables have relatively high copper
content compared to the time and
Copper price has soared over the last processes involved in manufacturing £4,000.00
12 months. So much so that in them.
October the LME copper price had
risen to USD8000 per tonne, its Taking the example of a 6491X PVC
highest level in two years. Conduit Wire, this may have a cost £3,000.00
make up of 65% copper, 5% PVC and Nov Jan Mar May Jul Sept Nov
30% to cover production, packaging,
This is largely attributed to decreasing distribution and profit. 2010 has been a turbulent year for copper price
stocks and increased demand from
China’s manufacturers. Copper stocks Assuming that all the other elements More complicated cable with multiple also guaranteeing continuity of supply.
are reportedly down 25%, the lowest remain the same, it is easy to see that cores or pairs, screens, braids or a Wherever possible we try and keep our
since November 2009, to 370,000 if copper doubles in price, the cost of special insulation or jacket material are prices constant. Nobody likes rises and
tonnes, while China’s economy the cable will increase by 65%. less affected by copper fluctuations.
continues to grow unabated. fluctuations in price, especially in the
If you have a regular requirement in current economic climate.
Speculators do suggest however, that the medium or short term, it may be
with the strengthening dollar, investors worth buying it in one go - fixing your We are happy to discuss fixed pricing
will move away from metals and into cost and making the most of any agreements, where cable can be called
currency as an alternative investment. quantity discounts on offer.
This may put copper back into decline. off over a pre-agreed period of time.
This has the sizeable advantage of This means you don’t have the
What does this mean in reality, and for securing your cost and insulating problems of storage but do benefit
the electrical industry in the UK? yourself against any future rises and from consistent pricing.
The copper content of a cable can vary

Issue 10 of ‘the little red book’ released In this issue

Issue 10 of FS Cables cabling guide include multiple elements such as Cat- • Copper On The Move

‘The Little Red Book’ is out now. 5E, coax, fibre or control cable • Issue 10 of the Little Red
Extended to 176 pages and contained within one distinctively pink
jacket for easy routing. Book Released
increased in size to A5, a host of
new products and updated technical • Antennax™ and Connectors
tables are included. The coax section now benefits from a
• Draka FireTuf Cables
full range of connectors in stock, so you

can easily select the accompanying • KNX Update
Be among the first to receive your free
connector when choosing your cable. • Tools
copy, simply return the enclosed
postage paid reply card and we’ll send
A range of tools make an appearance cables cables
• Q&A with Katrina Maltman
one out immediately. for the first time, including cable • Conductor Sizing
cutters, strippers and crimpers, tools for • In Brief
Issue 10 features the new FSC range of coaxial and structured wiring.
high performance HA multimedia • Editorial
cables for home automation. These Continued on page 3



+++ Metal Prices +++ Metal Prices +++ Metal Prices +++
23rd November 2010 23rd November 2009 Change %
COPPER £5,274.88 £4,183.73 +26.08%
ALUMINIUM £1,421.48 £1,218.51 +16.66%
SILVER £17.49 £11.30 +54.79%

NICKEL £13,562.17 £10,211.65 +32.81%
All prices per 1000kg except silver per oz. Exchange rates apply at time of trade

cables cables
The LSHF version offers protection where
In Brief ltr
a Lo s Coax
the evacuation of people or property in the
U tion
ible event of fire is critical. A range of high
Flex munic quality N type and other connectors to suit
Copper Stats Antennax are also available along with
stripping and crimping tools.
With the price of copper on the
For more information on the Antennax
London Metal Exchange (LME) varying
range including connectors, request your
by the hour it is impossible to predict
free guide by returning the enclosed pre-
where it will be tomorrow, let alone
paid card.
next month. Add to this the variations
in exchange rate, and you’ve got a
recipe for volatility. ibute
s As well as providing technical
characteristics and performance figures
lban L4 0JX for the cable range the handy guide details
t, A A
Distributors are on occasion caught a n Poin , Herts 40 842
.com ble
s the appropriate connectors you need when
St. A Fax: 01 scables ca
out selling cable at prices below 1
0 84 www
replacement costs and customers are
sometimes holding off placing orders
in the hope copper will fall. Sadly they
are often disappointed.
Antennax™ Antennax
The high performance, ultra low loss coaxial cable
The graph on the cover shows the
Antennax is the new range of high Many can replace standard RG cables
average copper price in Pounds for
performance, ultra low loss coaxial where low loss and high performance are
2010 - who knows what it will look cables designed to carry signals from required.
like for 2011. If you fancy a flutter we a cabinet to an antenna, aerial or dish.
know a man in London taking bets! The bonded foil and braid screen delivers
Developed for microwave, satellite and high levels of electrical protection while the
mobile phone masts, these cables are foamed dielectric and flexible outer jacket
manufactured and tested to 6GHz to ensure that bending and handling
ensure optimum levels of characteristics are not compromised.

Prysmian Bids performance. Stocked in LSHF (Low Smoke Halogen Free)

and LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene) these
These cables are suitable for jumper or
to Buy Draka patch assemblies in RF communication
systems, antenna feeder runs and
cables are ideal for both internal and external
installations. The LDPE version offers long life
expectancy and weatherability, ideal for runs
Following an unsuccessful attempt installations where routing requires clipped to masts or towers with a high
from Nexans in October 2010, compact, flexible low loss coaxial cable. degree of exposure.
Prysmian are now bidding to
acquire Draka.

At time of going to press Prysmian

Draka Firetuf Data and Coax FS Cables
has offered €840 million for Draka the Becomes FT Data and FT Coax Join CEDIA
Dutch based cable manufacturer who
FS Cables, working in partnership with FT Coax is a high performance CCTV FS Cables have joined CEDIA as a trade
took over Delta Enfield in the 90’s. supplier. CEDIA is a worldwide trade
Draka are the official distribution cable designed to carry on transmitting
partner for the FT range of high video even in the event of a fire. organisation for the home electronics
Draka has two cable factories in the performance circuit integrity cables. industry and promotes professional
UK at Derby and Washington The continued functionality provides standards around the design, supply
remote monitoring of tunnels, fire doors and installation of automated
producing top quality cables. We hope Previously known as Firetuf, these and evacuation routes during a fire electronic systems for the modern
both factories will continue. cables provide continued functionality allowing the emergency services to intelligent home.
in the event of fire. prioritise response actions and improve
evacuation times - substantially reducing This can include anything from multi-room
the risk of fatalities. audio and home cinema systems to
Both types of cables meet the stringent complete home networks which control
London Underground (LU) fire resistance FT Coax & FT Data are LU approved for lighting, security, and HVAC.
Multipair Cat-3 requirements for circuit integrity to
BS 5839-1 2002 + A2 2008 flammability
use on London Underground and are
Low Smoke Halogen Free (LSHF)
Joining CEDIA demonstrates FS Cables
commitment to this fast growing sector. A
& Cat-5 cables to BS 4066: Part 3, smoke emission to
BS EN 50268-2 and toxic fume emissions In addition, they meet the fire resistance
number of products for home automation
and building control are currently offered
to LU 1-085 A2 . requirements of BS EN 50200:2000 and from stock including Cat-5/6/7 and the
Where you need to run large numbers BS 8434-2:2003 and achieved the recently certified KNX cable.
required performance of BS 8438-2
of pairs of Cat-3 or Cat-5 cables over FT Data cables have been developed to class PH120 (120 minutes survival time) In addition, a range of high performance
distances multipair versions may be mimic Cat-5 performance as closely as for FR enhanced cables. composite cables which contain multiple
the answer. Cat-3 10, 25, 50, 100 or possible and are increasingly popular with elements such as audio, data and HDMI
To meet recent high demand for the FT transmission are now in the new ‘Little
200 pair and Cat-5 25 pair are now system integrators for BMS applications in range, FS Cables have increased stock
held in stock on bulk reels so you can public buildings. Red Book’.
levels on both FT Coax and FT Data. Both
order just the cut lengths you need. are available for next working-day For more details visit
The high speed data transmission makes delivery.
The cables offer considerable space FT Data the ideal choice for backbone
wiring intelligent fire alarm systems or
saving and are stocked in various emergency telephone links. They are
formats including Low Smoke Halogen available as 1, 2 and 4 pair cables and can
Free (LSHF), PE duct grade or be terminated into conventional IDC
standard PVC. connectors for easy installation.
KNX Update For internal installations where the cable
may be visible, the white KNX cable is
ideal. The cable is exactly the same in
that the UK still lags behind Europe in
terms of adopting the KNX standard. Editorial
construction as the standard green 2 Compare the 220 certified KNX
Cable Certification pair 0.8mm but has a white LSHF sheath engineers listed in the UK to the 294 in
In addition to the KNX two pair cable, with yellow printing. the Netherlands, 447 in Poland, 2,086
FSC now offer duct grade, armoured and in Spain, and 7,344 integrators in
white versions with KNX certification. All three have been certified by the KNX Germany!
association as being suitable for use on
The duct grade version features a tough KNX systems and bear the KNX logo. Take up of new KNX installers training at
black UV resistant polyethylene (PE) Using certified products ensures the accreditation centres such as British
waterproof jacket over the standard quality, reliability and guaranteed Research Establishment (BRE) is strong
LSHF inner sheath. compatibility between KNX devices and though, as Wired saw when it visited a
equipment. training course in September.
The armoured version uses the
substantial duct grade cable as a base KNX UK For more information on KNX training
with the addition of 0.9mm solid Since the last issue of Wired, FS Cables courses available at BRE please visit
galvanised steel wires cased in a heavy have also joined KNX UK as a
waterproof PE jacket - making it one of manufacturer member.
the toughest cables around. Free KNX Guides It’s been a fascinating year – we’ve
KNX UK is a group of manufacturers, As a member of KNX UK, we are able to certainly worked harder, hopefully smarter,
installers and integrators who promote send out free copies of the ‘KNX
the KNX standard within the UK. with a record number of shipments.
Consultants Guide’ and the new ‘KNX
Guide to Residential Applications’ to our
Joining KNX UK follows FS Cables readers. Copper fluctuations have been as
membership with KNX International and challenging as ever with a fine line
subsequent certification of the KNX If you would like a copy, simply tick the between getting pricing right and
twisted pair cable. box on the enclosed pre-paid reply card. maintaining stocks.
For more information please visit Overall we’ve increased our stock levels by
20th Anniversary around 20% in real terms by broadening
This year KNX celebrates its 20th the range and diversity of products. Never
Anniversary but recent reports show that shy of stocking even niche cables we view
stock as an investment and not a liability.

Tools a telescopic handled version (ideal for

carrying in a tool box) capable of cutting
unarmoured cables up to 240mm of
If you are having problems obtaining any
cable, talk to us – it may be we have a
suitable substitute or we may have other
To complement our range of cables copper or aluminium. customers also asking for it in which case
we now offer a selection of cable we may adopt it as a new stock line.
preparation, cutting and termination Hydraulic and hand crimpers are also
tools. As users of cutting and stocked to suit anything from a 400mm2
By far the most exciting development has
preparation tools for many years lug to a tiny coax connector. The benefit
been our commitment to apprenticeships.
ourselves, we wanted to find of the hydraulic crimpers is the ease of
A couple of years ago we offered NVQ’s to
products which combined quality fitting lugs securely onto large
conductors. staff and seven members of the warehouse
with great value for money.
(including the warehouse manager) took
Each tool comes with a set of dies to suit them up. This year we created 5
Manufactured to extremely high hydraulic pump closes the cutter jaws
standards and complying with ISO quickly until resistance is met at which and a handy carrying case. Separate apprenticeship roles and with these
9001:2000 the tools are robust and built point the second stage completes the crimping heads are also available for successfully filled, we are now looking for
to last. Heat treated hardened steel is cutting with the least possible effort. bench work, or for working in very two more people.
used so the blades cut cleanly time after confined areas. The range is rounded off
time. Special versions are also available with hand cutters and strippers for safe, These are all long term, permanent jobs
designed to cut solid steel rebar used to easy cutting and termination. with trainees rotating through all
Our portable hydraulic cutters will cut reinforce concrete. If you want departments to get a flavour of the
most cables including armoured, mains, a separate cutting head and pump this is With no minimum order quantity you can business and ensure their focus is on
aluminium and copper, concentric, also catered for, ideal when working in buy a single item or more to supply other looking after the customer. The more they
telephone and large flexible and a confined space or for mounting to sites or engineers. know and understand about the business
instrumentation cables. a cable winding or payout machine. the more of a valuable asset they will
Full details are available in issue 10 of
become. So far the signs are highly
Flip-top rotatable heads which easily Conventional two handed cutters are ‘The Little Red Book’, or if you are
promising with each department
clamp over the cable allow cutting at any also stocked in three lengths from passing St Albans come in and try them
developing a training plan.
angle in comfort. The dual action 350mm to 700mm including for yourself!
As the year comes to a close, I would like
to thank all our customers for their support
The Little Red Book Continued... and business and reiterate if you have any
comments – good or bad – or would like
Continued from the cover... PVC, such as Low Smoke Halogen Free, Return the enclosed reply card to us, to discuss anything in this issue of Wired,
duct grade or armoured SWA. email please get in touch – email, phone, fax or
These are all in addition to the existing for your free copy, or text CABLES to just call in for a chat.
pages on data, coax and bus cables, As before, selected tables from the 65000 followed by your name, company
signal & control, telephone and audio 17th Edition Wiring Regulations are and address.
cables, high temperature including included for reference, as are guides to
silicones and PTFE, rubber & crane, British, European and American colour
spiral cables and a section on fire & codes. Also featured are AWG to Metric
security cables. conversion charts, stranding charts and Best wishes
a handy Belden cross reference table.
Each page features a clear key
indicating the variety of sheathing ‘The Little Red Book’ is an ideal cabling Jon Herbert
options available over the standard companion either on site or in the office.
With Katrina Maltman - Human Resources
What is your role at FS Cables?

I am involved in all aspects of HR

administration. Most of my time over the last
few months was spent on recruitment,
mainly focused on trainees for our
Apprenticeship Training Programme. I am
also responsible for ensuring that all our
policies and procedures are up to date and
meet current legislation.

What functions does HR perform?

Our customer service is key, therefore

training and development plays a big part of
the HR function as the company grows.
From left to right - Jamie Turner, Carla Luck, Mel Watson, Jensen Smart, Katrina Maltman and Jacques Rose
In addition, I look after the day to day running
of the department which includes How does it work? two people for the apprenticeship training
recruitment, personnel records and issuing programme. skills and qualifications to meet both our needs
and monitoring staff contracts. Apprenticeships are work based training and more importantly those of the customer.
programmes and are designed around the What training do they receive?
Tell us more about the apprenticeship company’s needs and the specific roles the Why did the company decide to
programme? trainees are taken on to do. Once an external implement the scheme?
training provider has been appointed they Apprenticeships work towards a National
We initially started with 2 apprentices back in will support and assess the trainee Vocational Qualification (NVQ), this is The current difficulties of the country and in
April, which we found to work extremely well. throughout the programme. designed to test competence and shows that particular employment issues affecting the
the trainee can carry out their specific job young are well documented.
We have developed the training programme The apprenticeship framework consists of a role effectively. In conjunction with this, the
by introducing a rotational aspect where competence based element, an NVQ, a assessors will ensure that each trainee will Our aim was to do our bit to help and at the
each trainee spends time in all departments knowledge based element which is a develop technical knowledge and key skills. same time get really engaged, well trained
in order to have a better understanding of technical certificate, transferable or ‘key’ The combination of practical and theoretical employees who will hopefully stay with the
the entire company and how everything skills and finally employment rights and company for many years.
contributes to overall results. learning ensures that the trainee obtains a
responsibilities. A programme will normally
take between 9 to 12 months to complete. well-formed learning experience.
We have been massively impressed by the
Each department has produced a training quality and enthusiasm of many applicants
manual with various modules which are Who has been recruited so far? What are the benefits?
and are comfortable we have got some real
aimed at three key areas.
As we see it the benefit to the business is that talent coming through.
We have recruited 5 apprentices this year so
Firstly competence - what the trainee will be far; Jensen Smart, Carla Luck, Mel Watson, we will have fully-trained individuals who have
able to do when they leave each department. Jamie Turner and Jacques Rose. Carla and We cannot change the world, but we can
gained a greater understanding of the
Secondly awareness - areas which are Jensen have been with the company for 8 make a difference to a small number of
company as a whole and will be able to put people leaving school and college in the
outside their direct tasks but will have a months and were employed in the UK Sales what they have learned into practice.
significant impact on the way they look after department. Hertfordshire area.
Jensen has started his rotation and is We are committed to investing in all staff by If you have a suitable vacancy it is well worth
Lastly is general information – any other currently working in the Purchasing offering a fully comprehensive training getting in touch with your local youth
useful information in the long term of which department and is enjoying his time there. programme and the apprenticeship scheme employment team, you could make a big
they may have no current knowledge. We are currently looking to recruit another ensures that our new staff have the practical difference to someone.

Conductor Sizing
There have been high profile cases stranded and flexible conductors. While This can cause major problems from With copper likely to remain high for the

recently of substantially undersized these standards dictate the number of foreseeable future it is important to look

crimping on lugs and terminations.

conductors being sold, mainly in strands and maximum strand size, the beyond just cost when comparing
products such as conduit wire, T&E or overiding element is the maximum quotes.
Although a conductor may pass the
flexes, showing total disregard to resistance figure.
safety. resistance test prior to manufacture, by
Suggested weights of copper for any
the time it has passed through the
Originally this was to combat impure popular conductor size are shown in the
In the good old days when copper was unavoidable tensions and stresses of the

copper conductors. Now however, due to back of ‘The Little Red Book’ and you can
relatively cheap, conductors were production process, reeling and
primarily sized by their cross sectional the high price of copper, many always get up to date copper prices from
manufacturers are working entirely to the eventually installation, the conductors
cables resistance figure and conductors are can easily become elongated to a point
This was all set out in IEC 60228 and bearing little resemblance to the correct where the resistance figure is below the As ever, if a price looks too good to be
BS 6360 with different classes for solid, mm² size. acceptable standard. true it probably is.

Alban Point, Alban Park, Hatfield Road, St. Albans, Herts AL4 0JX

General Sales: 01727 840 841 OEM Sales: 01727 849 801
Fax: 01727 840 842 Contractor Sales: 01727 849 802 Credit Control: 01727 849 827 Purchasing: 01727 849 805

Marketing: 01727 849 806