Copper Price

What effect on cable will the new year bring?
While the price of copper has been threatening to spike for the last 5 years, with rumours of shortages and the increase in demand from the emerging markets, it is in these last 12 months that we have witnessed an unprecedented surge in growth. Copper peaked in May this year when it rose to over £4,500/ton. The price of copper has been driven higher by numerous factors including growth in demand, limited stocks and labour issues by some of the worlds largest producers. This clearly has a significant effect on the cable industry. Some cables are less affected than others, however simple cables such as panel wiring, twin and earth, flexs and armoureds have relatively high copper content compared to the time and processes involved in manufacturing them. in price, the cost of the cable will increase by 65%. More complicated cables with multiple cores or pairs, screens, braids or a special insulation or jacket material are less affected by copper fluctuations. Reasons for this unprecedented price rise can be attributed to the emergence of the Asian markets, and their vast demand for both natural resources and cable. The construction boom in this region has increased the amount of copper used in everything from buildings to electrical equipment. The recent 25-day strike and resulting production losses at the Escondida mine in Chile has also affected price. It costs approximately $2/kg to extract the raw metal from the earth, with further refining costs and drawing costs being added to the price. Recently there has been considerable unrest within the mining workforce who want their earnings related to the world copper price, resulting in large production losses. A closer look at the statistics makes for more encouraging reading. Although consumption of copper has outstripped supply for the last three years, last year the gap narrowed considerably. Research by the International Copper Study Group indicates that next year, based on a number of factors, supply may begin to exceed demand, allowing a small surplus to build up. It is important to see the longer term picture in the copper markets, and take into account that the growing demand in emerging markets such as India and China has been offset by the decline in demand in

Winter 2006 Issue 1



£2,500 Jan Mar May July Sept Nov

the US and Europe as production moves to the Far East. Analysts are also suggesting that as copper prices have risen consumers are starting to substitute other materials in its place or become more efficient in their consumption. The real irony is that for years copper has been mined bountifully, due to its low price and plentiful supply. This made looking for substitutes uneconomic, but this is starting to change. Some cable producers are already supplying copper coated aluminium (CCA) with or without the customer's knowledge! In addition, plumbing applications are now increasingly moving towards plastic. It is unclear which way the market will turn in 2007. There are certainly arguments on either side. The advice from FS Cables - buy

cable as and when you need it, and leave the speculating to the London Futures Exchange. If you have a medium or large short-term need, it may be worth buying it in one go - fixing your cost and making the most of any quantity discounts on offer. We want to help where we can, and be as 'flexible' as possible! We are happy to discuss a fixed pricing agreement with you, where cable ordered can be called off over a pre-agreed period of time. This means you don't have the problems of storage but do benefit from consistent prices. Please call us for a chat about these possibilities.

Let's take the example of a 6491X PVC Conduit Wire. Depending on size, this may have a cost make up of 65% copper, 5% PVC and 30% to cover production, packaging, distribution and profit. Assuming of course that all other elements remain the same, it is easy to see that if copper doubles

- New Fire Safety Legislation

Little Red Book
Issue 8 of the FS Cables pocket guide is now available in printed form or on CD. This 120 page full colour catalogue features technical specifications of our wide product range, as well as a Belden page finder and a handy guide to LSHF cabling.

Also included are technical tables featuring current ratings, and AWG / Metric conversion and stranding charts with American, European and UK colour codes. These can be easily referred to when you are placing your order, and the handy pocket size means you can take it with you when you are on site!

- 2006 Exhibitions - Q & A with our Purchasing Manager - Editorial from Jon Herbert - Draka FireTuf Data - External Telecom cables

To order your free copy, please return the enclosed pre-paid reply card or call our sales team on 01727 828 828.

+++ Metal Prices +++ Metal Prices +++ Metal Prices +++
COPPER ALUMINIUM SILVER NICKEL All prices per 1000kg 31st November 31st August 3 Month Change % £3,544.56 £4,007.76 - 11.56 £1,372.14 £1,276.86 + 7.46 £7.43 £6.54 + 13.61 £17,733 £16,484.96 + 7.57 except silver per oz. Exchange rates apply at time of trade

+++ Metal Prices +++ Metal Prices +++ Metal Prices +++

In Brief
Investors in people
We are delighted to announce that FS Cables has been officially recognised as an Investor in People. It took around a year to achieve this prestigious accolade and involved the efforts of all members of the company. The net results so far have been very positive, with effects on increased customer satisfaction, improved staff motivation, and reduced wastage and costs. This is a great achievement for the company, but we are fully committed to continually improving the processes and skills that gained us the Investors in People recognition in the long term. We have a commitment to training and development within FS Cables, recognising the benefits of people performance to the future of our company.

Reigniting an old flame
New fire safety laws came into force on the 1st October this year, and early indications suggest that a number of employers are still unaware of the implications. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRFSO) sets out a change in legislation applying to all non-domestic buildings and emphasises a shift in responsibility onto the employer. This means that business owners will now need to be more aware of the mechanics of fire safety engineering. The reform aims to improve public safety by focusing on fire prevention, therefore taking a more pro-active than reactive approach to fire safety. The implications for the cabling industry are hugely significant. The reform brings to light the need for effective fire safety systems and the need for fire alarm and detection equipment that conform to the necessary requirements. Clearly, there becomes a very definite need for appropriate fire performance cabling to be installed. The impact of the reforms needs to be addressed on two fronts. Firstly, there are the inherent dangers posed by unprotected combustible materials in concealed spaces, which can potentially increase the spread of fire should it occur.

The RRFSO reforms 30 year old fire safe

RiserFlex and RiserShield
The new RiserFlex and RiserShield range of cables have been developed primarily to run alongside power cables due to their 0.6/1kV power rating. The dual screened version uses an overall foil and tinned copper wire braid to reduce both radiated and induced interference. Ideal for running clean supplies to computer rooms and power in close proximity to data cables, RiserShield minimises the effect of high and low frequency interference. RiserFlex is a Low Smoke Halogen Free unscreened, unarmoured version, also 0.6/1kV designed for use in buildings running under floors, in risers and dry ducts. The class 5 flexible conductors in both cables make installation and routing easier, particularly in confined spaces. Both cables are Low Smoke Halogen Free throughout and flame retardant minimising the risk to both property and personnel.

Latest Products
Draka FireTuf Data
The market for soft skin fire alarm cables is now well established and some might say over subscribed! However it has taken years to develop a high performance data cable to meet the same standards. Draka FireTuf Data is a totally new product which has been developed to meet the increasing needs for high speed data transmission approaching Cat 5 standards. Building Management Systems (BMS), CCTV, access controls and traditional local area networks (LANs) for critical systems are increasingly looking for continued functionality in the event of fire. The cables can be terminated using traditional LAN Insulation Displacement Connectors (IDC) making them ideal for use in horizontal backbone wiring systems in offices and public buildings. The patented design of Draka FireTuf Data has successfully passed both BS5839:2002 and the 3 in 1 enhanced BS8434-2 test. It is also fire resistant to IEC 60331-23 and is Low Smoke Halogen Free throughout. Applications include airports, hospitals, prisons, high rise office buildings and anywhere that continued transmissions in the event of fire are important. The red Low Smoke Halogen Free jacket also offers excellent flame retardance, further reducing the spread of fire. FS Cables are the official distributor of the Draka FireTuf range of data and coaxial cables. We have a large amount of both available directly from stock. The FireTuf Coax performs in a similar way electrically to 75Ω RG59 which is widely used in the CCTV sector. This maintains the integrity of video signal in the event of fire, enabling continued monitoring of fire exits and evacuation routes. Applications also include video surveillance with digitised screening capabilities, for example where smoke detection systems are used.

Cat 6
We have recently added the Cat 6 Duct Grade cable to our product range. Featuring a heavy black polyethylene sheath and a flame retardant PVC inner jacket for easy stripping, the Cat 6 offers high speed data transfers where underground duct or a weatherproof cabling solution is needed. The cable has an overall diameter of 9.8mm making it possibly the most robust version on the market. Please call or email our technical sales team for more information or to request a datasheet or sample.

Due to the Low Smoke Zero Halogen properties of the FireTuf Coax, it is ideal for use in public, commercial and industrial environments. We also stock a suitable BNC connector. For full details of the Draka FireTuf Data range please visit our website where you can download a full technical specification sheet. Alternatively please call our sales team for a quote, or more information.

ety legislation

Covent Garden in 1999 and the Heathrow Airport fire in 1997 are known to have spread through buildings via cabling systems and act as a sobering reminder of the dangers that exist. Secondly, there is a need for cabling systems which retain their integrity in the event of an emergency, for safety dependent systems such as alarms, fire detection equipment and emergency lighting, right down to the protection of networks and information storage systems. High performance fire safety cabling systems, once the preserve of large institutions and data centres are now being seen as strategic investments to protect lives, property and vital business assets. Fumes are the greatest cause of damage to electrical equipment in offices, rather than heat or flame. Even if a fire has been successfully extinguished, the smoke that has been created can wreak havoc with circuitry, even in equipment located a long way from where the fire started. Specifying LSHF cabling can reduce this risk. Advances in cabling materials have enabled the installation of systems which go a long way to addressing some of these dangers. In light of the new legislation, building owners and managers, architects, electrical engineers and installers of cabling systems need to be aware of available options to improve fire safety. One such option is the Draka FireTuf series which is designed to emulate as closely as possible the performance of Cat 5. These high performance fire survival data cables are designed to carry on functioning even in the event of fire, allowing safe monitoring of evacuation without putting lives at risk. Where a video signal is carried the coaxial version performs in a similar way to RG59

which is widely used in the CCTV sector. This allows continued monitoring of fire exits and evacuation routes in the event of fire. Whilst it is important to recognise the important part that cabling plays in the recent reforms, it certainly doesn't end there. Increasingly, business owners need to recognise that fire safety doesn't simply begin and end with cable. Of course, installing a LSHF system goes some way to reducing the spread of fire, but so often people overlook the amount of other combustible materials that are present and the other contributing factors that need to be addressed. Appropriate cabling can go a long way to improving fire safety systems and help business owners conform to the new legislation. But when it comes to protecting your people and your property, don't take any chances. For more information or to read the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order in full, please visit


Welcome to Wired from FS Cables. Our ambition is to bring you news from around the industry together with information and updates about our company. Being the first edition, I would really appreciate your feedback so please take the time to fill in the enclosed prepaid reply card and send or fax it back to us. We are fortunate to have a great bunch of people here who always make meeting your needs their priority. We operate a ‘no cut off time’ policy, put simply, if we can ship it, we will. Whilst it is always appreciated when you get your orders over early in the day we understand this isn’t always practical. If you do place an order late, we will confirm that we can ship it at the time of booking so you can receive it the next working day. Although we really do try hard to meet your needs I am also realistic enough to know we don't always get it right. But, please tell me how we can improve. If you have any comments about any aspect of our service I would welcome them either by email or by telephone. Yours, Jon Herbert

The threat of cabling systems spreading fires is a real one. A continued build-up of combustible cable can add greatly to the fuel-load within ceilings, which can cause a fire to reach extreme temperatures, produce excessive smoke, and enable fires to spread throughout a building. The Seven Dials fire in

The average 10 storey commercial building with 100 work stations per floor can contain around 1 million feet of cabling in concealed spaces. Where inappropriate cable is used, in the event of fire this is the equivalent of 5,700 litres of petrol.
Source: Cable Fire Research Association

M&E 2006
The Building Services Event 2006
M&E 2006 is the annual building services exhibition based at Olympia, London. As one of around 100 exhibitors at the show, FS Cables was please to meet many existing and potential customers to discuss our varied product range. Around 6,000 visitors attended what was a very successful two days for all concerned. We were able to talk to many prospective and existing customers face to face about ways we can work together in the future. We had a very positive response to the show, with many new contacts being made from various sectors within the industry. It was apparent how much this

sector has grown in the past few years, and the number of building services visitors only served to reinforce this. Building relationships is a key aspect to our commitment to service at FS Cables. We are very aware that meeting and exceeding customer needs is based on understanding the individual and unique requirements of every project. We value our relationships with our customers and are always looking at new ways to better serve their needs. If you missed us at M&E 2006, be sure to check our website for future exhibitions that we will be attending. It would be a great opportunity to meet you.

FSC Global Goes to Kazakhstan
FSC Global, the export arm of FS Cables exhibited at KIOGE 2006, the premier exhibition in Kazakhstan for Oil and Gas exploration and distribution. With 600 exhibitors and around 14,000 visitors, there really was something for everyone, from pipelines and valves to drilling rigs and trucks. We were promoting the range of marine and offshore cables we stock. Kazakhstan is a fascinating place with a predominantly young and female population. Out of town the scenery is spectacular and beautiful with friendly people and mad drivers! This was the first exhibition we have been to in Kazakhstan and the furthest away from the UK, with the stand having to be packed up and shipped out 6 weeks before the show began. One interesting experience was the visit to the ambassador residence. The food and drink were excellent but the clincher was the Union Jack toilet seat! It’s good to know we are working as a team to promote Britain! Gavin Clements Director FSC Global Ltd.

Special Offers
If you’ve an eye for a bargain be sure to take a look at the brand new ‘Special Offers’ section of our website. Here you’ll find a regularly updated list of products that we were either over stocked on, or cables that are discontinued lines. This gives you the opportunity to purchase top-quality products at hugely reduced prices. Be sure to check regularly however, as when it’s gone it’s gone!

With Purchasing Manager Gary Banfield
What effect has the current state of the market had on lead times?
We are definitely seeing an increase in lead times at the moment due to the ever decreasing number of production facilities within Europe. This is a challenge we are facing but we are working with our suppliers to find ways to make them reflect customer needs.

External Telecoms
Wide range of Telephone Cables in stock
The increasing use of External Telecom cable for private networks has led us to extend both the range and quantity of cables stocked. Manufactured in accordance with the BT specifications CW1128 and also the armoured versions CW1198 in 0.5mm or 0.9mm, interestingly unlike most cables the conductor size is measured as a diameter not a crosssectional area 0.5mm dia = 0.2mm2 and 0.9mm dia = 0.63mm2. By far the most popular are the 0.5mm range mainly unarmoured (CW1128) often used in low pair counts for access control and security applications, in particular gates on entry phones. We stock bulk lengths on drums so on lower pair counts continuous lengths of up to 2000m are available, as are multiple cut lengths. But if you only need a short length please give us a call, we almost certainly have what you are looking for.

What are the biggest problems you face in purchasing?
The biggest problem we face is the unreliability of delivery dates from our suppliers. It is incredibly frustrating to be let down in this way, as we pride ourselves on our service and delivery. We put great emphasis on this, and we need the same from our suppliers.

What are lead times running at now?
On simple cables, there has been a shift from around 6 weeks to between 8 - 9 weeks. On more complicated cables, seeing lead times of between 16 - 18 weeks is not uncommon. Some heavy power cables and medium/high voltage cables are between 30 - 40 weeks. Lead sheathed cables are currently running up to a year.

What are you doing about this?
We are constantly working to increase our stocks to try and insulate the customers better from the poor service provided from these factories. In this way we take a pro-active approach to managing our supply chain and minimise disruption to our customers. Regrettably, some factories have unique production facilities or expertise so placing the business elsewhere is not an option.

The recent rise in copper price has had a large impact on the cable industry, how has it affected the purchasing department?
While it has risen rapidly over the last 12 months, it does appear to have stabilised recently. We were hardest hit in May 2006 when the price rose by around 50% in a 6 week period.We are taking a longer term view on copper and realise that the price will bounce around over the next 12 months or so. We are putting a great deal of emphasis on maintaining good stock levels to minimise the effect on our customers.

You mentioned that there have been closures in cabling factories recently?
Yes that's right. I heard a statistic recently that in a 10 year period, something like 80% of UK cable production has ceased. BICC was of course the biggest casualty, as well as numerous other smaller cutbacks.

How do you maintain the quality requirements FS Cable sets?
We have comprehensive specifications against which pre-production samples can be checked. ISO 9001 also plays a big part in both assessing and monitoring suppliers. We also regularly visit the factories to ensure we both understand and appreciate the other party's needs. Our relationship with suppliers and customers are blending into partnerships - ultimately we all rely on each other.

What impact has this had?
A lot of production has been moved to the Far East, particularly on more complicated cables where the better factories are able to produce a top quality product. However this has left a huge vacuum for fast deliveries on short runs.

LF319 - The LSHF alternative to PVC YY
The demand for Low Smoke Halogen Free flexible control cables is increasing. Where previously PVC YY Control cables were being used in vast quantities, more and more users are starting to see the benefit of specifying LSHF in their place. Hospitals, airports, prisons, and shopping centres are just some of the larger users where the benefits of Low Smoke Halogen Free cabling are now widely recognised. Stocked from 2 core to 25 core in 0.75mm2, 1mm2 and 1.5mm2 and up to 10mm2 in lower number of cores, these cables can be cut to length to reduce your wastage so you only buy what you need. The outer jacket is grey as standard, although white or black can supplied as an option. Core identification is normally by white numbers on black cores, although colour coding on up to 5 cores can be offered in some sizes. Steel braided types to replace PVC SY are also occasionally requested. To date, this is achieved by taking a standard product and braiding and oversheathing the cable in a Low Smoke Halogen Free compound. It is worth mentioning that so far a clear or transparent LSHF compound has yet to be developed so these cables are usually black or grey. For a few hundred metres this is a quick and cost effective solution, with delivery around 2 weeks. For large quantities these can be manufactured to order and offer considerable cost savings although they do incur a normal production delay. Screened options with tinned copper wire braid screens, known as LF329, are also popular and are increasingly available from stock. If you would like samples, prices, or to place an order, do call us with your requirements.

Here in Britain it is often remarked that we don’t complain enough. At FS Cables we know it's true – although we send out pre-paid "Service Cards" with shipments we get relatively little feedback and even less people point out our failings. We want to know what you think of us, from when we take your enquiry to when we deliver the cable and if we failed to get the order in the first place what can we do better next time. Enclosed with this issue is a pre-paid reply card with your address already on it, so all you have to do is add your comment and put it in the post box. Please let us have your views – good or bad. Alternatively you can send us an email at

Wellington Road, London Colney, Herts, AL2 1EY
General Sales: 01727 828 828 Fax: 01727 824 825 OEM Sales: 01727 744 066 Contractor Sales: 01727 744 077 Credit Control: 01727 744 063 Purchasing: 01727 744 055 Marketing: 01727 744 056