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O2 Arena

Sales Manager Andrew Mallard and Lee Girdler from Contractor Sales head down to South London
The O2 Arena, housed in the former Millennium Dome (now ‘the O2’) is one of the largest multi-purpose indoor arenas in Europe. FS Cables supplied a number of specialist cables to this £600m project which is the first of its kind in the UK.
This state-of-the-art development will serve as a venue for music, sport and entertainment and is designed to adapt to meet various demands. It has a capacity of up to 23,000 and features 360° seating offering unobstructed views of the arena floor. Everything in the arena, including the lighting, sound and cameras is digitally managed by computer servers. This enables the lights, sounds and data transmissions to be pre-programmed and controlled from the arena floor. Digital scoreboards can be lowered from the ceiling, depending on the event, and plasma screens operate throughout the bars, suites and concourses. Two members of our sales team were invited down to the site during its construction. “The thing that really strikes you is the sheer size of the project”, said Lee Girdler from the contractor sales team. “From talking to the guys on site, the real challenge was the inability to use cranes within the Dome itself. They had to construct the roof, erect it, and then build the arena around it”. He added, “The ‘bowl effect’ achieved by the 360° seating really captures the sound and light. It’s a real showcase development and it’s important we supply cable that matches the level of performance required.” The LF-329 screened flexible Low Smoke Halogen Free (LSHF) power cable was chosen to provide power to key parts of the arena. Its flexibility enables easy installation and the dual foil & braid screen protects from electro-magnetic radiation and potential corruption of other cables or equipment at both high and low frequency. To meet the need for high performance lighting without compromising safety, a LSHF Mode Lighting cable was used. High level catwalks housed the lighting and lighting controls which illuminate the arena. LSHF alternatives to Belden-style cables were used for data transmissions to equipment including scoreboards and control panels. Some fibre cables for carrying high speed data for telecoms were also supplied. All cables supplied were LSHF throughout. In developments such as this where the evacuation of such a large number of people in the event of fire could be difficult, the use of LSHF cable minimises the effects of toxic halogens released into the air that can form hydrochloric acid. Often in the event of an emergency, it is the poisonous fumes that pose the greatest threat to people and property rather than the fire itself.

Autumn 2007 Issue 3

Opening night of the state-of-the-art O2 Arena
Sales Manager Andy Mallard commented, “It’s great to be associated with a high profile project such as the O2 Arena. The need for LSHF cabling to be installed in projects such as these is very apparent when you consider it will regularly hold over 20,000 people.” “The visit was beneficial to both ourselves and the contractor and really gave us an idea of what had been achieved” he added. A better understanding of the contractor's needs allowed FS Cables to respond quickly to the various demands that a project such as this brings.

Image : Colin Philip
The screened power cables used on the arena are from a range that FS Cables regularly supply to new developments, data centres in particular, so much of the order was available directly from stock, delivered to site next day. For more information on the cables used at the O2 Arena, please visit us online at or call the sales team on 01727 828 828 to request our latest catalogue ‘The Little Red Book’. You can also use the pre-paid reply card enclosed with this issue to get your copy.

Link-Up Approval for FS Cables
FS Cables is pleased to announce its status as a Link-Up approved supplier. Link-Up is the supplier qualification and verification scheme for the UK rail industry and ensures and maintains the quality of products and services to this sector. The Link-Up scheme, administered on behalf of the rail industry by the Achilles Link-Up team is supported and used by close to 80 of the major rail companies throughout the UK. We are able to supply a wide range of cable to this sector, from coax for CCTV to the recently LUL approved Draka Firetuf range of data and coax cables. Our comprehensive range of LSHF cables is also ideal for installations where the evacuation of people is difficult. Membership of the Link-Up supplier verification scheme reinforces our commitment to meeting the high standards of the UK rail industry.

In this issue
• O2 Arena Site Visit • Link-Up Approval • What's in a Cable? - Part 1 • Copper vs. Aluminium • Editorial from Jon Herbert • Draka Firetuf LUL Approval • Composite Coax • Call-Off Orders • Q&A - Warehouse Manager

+++ Metal Prices +++ Metal Prices +++ Metal Prices +++
24th September 2007 20th April 2007 Change % COPPER £3,958.33 £4,013.93 -1.39% ALUMINIUM £1,173.97 £1,411.68 -16.84% -4.03% SILVER £6.66 £6.94 -36.23% NICKEL £16,093.98 £25,238.19 All prices per 1000kg except silver per oz. Exchange rates apply at time of trade

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

In Brief
Great Deals on Telephone Cables
Whilst we have always held good stocks of external telephone cables we are now more competitive than ever on pricing. 0.5mm and 0.9mm in up to 100 pair in the CW1128 unarmoured or the CW1198 armoured type are available from stock. Also ask us about the internal types in PVC or LSHF.

As a regular feature in upcoming editions of Wired, we are going to take a look at the manufacturing processes involved in cable production. There is a great degree of variation in the cable production process. This makes cables highly customisable and suitable for many different applications depending on their unique requirements.
Conductors are single or multiple strands of highly conductive metal, usually copper. Other materials commonly used include aluminium and nickel. Their purpose is to carry an electric current for data, control or power between two points. Using the example of copper, the raw ore once extracted from the earth is smelted into ingots which then undergo electrolysis to remove impurities. This involves attaching a negative charge to the ingot and submersing it in a tank of copper solution. This has the twin effect of dissolving the copper and at the same time attracting it to reform on the positive element. The impurities drop to the bottom as they won’t take the charge. While not all impurities are removed, this procedure can produce 99.99% pure copper. The purity of the copper has a huge effect on reducing resistance on the electrical charge passing along the conductor, greatly increasing its ability to carry a current. This

strands or smaller diameter strands but still conform to the standard. Another method is the American Wire Gauge size (AWG). This denotes the gauge size as a number i.e 24AWG followed by a number in brackets i.e (7) which shows the number of strands. It’s worth mentioning, the higher the number the smaller the conductor, so a 24AWG conductor is smaller than a 20AWG. Full stranding charts and AWG / Metric conversion tables can be found on page 119 of our catalogue. Using the metric cross sectional area method, Class 5 stranding is the most common flexible grade, as it combines good flexibility with a reasonable cost. Generally, the more strands you have the more flexible the cable, but it also becomes more expensive. Classes 1 (solid) and 2 are widely used in fixed installations where the cable won’t be moved or bent after it has been fitted. Cores are normally made up from multiple strands by twisting or bunching the strands together. In larger or very finely stranded conductors the strands may be first twisted into groups and then twisted together to form a conductor similar in appearance to a rope. Conductors become ‘cores’ when coated with an insulating material. We will look at cores and insulation materials in more detail in the next edition of 'Wired'.


Images above and below: Reducing the diameter of copper strands by drawing them through a series of ever decreasing dies

is just as important for a signal as it is for a power or energy cable. The pure copper is rolled out into rods and then drawn through a series of dies made from a very hard material such as ceramic or even diamond to make very thin strands. It is common to draw copper strands as small as 0.05mm diameter (a human hair is normally between 0.07mm to 0.1mm in diameter). These strands can either be used singly or in bunches to make a larger, more flexible conductor. Depending on the application of the cable, the strands can be coated with an inert metal at this stage to reduce corrosion or enhance heat resistance. Tinning, the process of coating the conductors with a layer of tin either electronically or in molten form is very common for this process as it is low cost and relatively resistant to corrosion. Nickel plating is used where the cables will be working at temperatures between 200° – 400°C.

What’s in a Cable?
Part 1 - Conductors

Conductors are normally measured either by their diameter or cross-sectional area in mm2. The method for measuring cross sectional area (CSA) is standard across Europe and is in accordance with BS6360 and IEC60028. It is important to note that the standards also specify the resistance of a conductor for a given stranding. This means that a conductor can be made up of fewer

Nickel Price
Since we last went to print there have been massive fluctuations in the price of nickel. The spring edition reported a rise of over £8,000 / tonne to £25,238. Since then it has dropped by 48% to around £13,000 / tonne. The use of nickel is common in cable production, as plating on copper for high temperature cables and also as a pure nickel conductor for very high temperatures of up to 750° in cables like the G-Temp 600. We have seen plenty of uncertainty and speculation surrounding metal prices in 2007. After the surge in copper, nickel has fallen back but is still twice the price it was two years ago. As ever, leave the speculating to the traders and try to fix your cost where you can.

In the past few months I’ve amassed a carbon footprint the size of a small island traveling to meet suppliers and look around their factories. Sadly, I haven’t been able to spend as much time as I’d like talking to customers. For me the great value of meeting face-to-face is the real feedback I get. It’s all very well looking at performance stats but it’s so much better hearing directly from the people that matter about how we’re doing and more importantly how we can improve. A quote that caught my attention recently was from Henry Ford who said - “If I had asked people what they wanted they’d have said faster horses”. That may have been true at the birth of the automobile but times have changed. It’s only through listening to our customers and reacting to their responses that we will become a better, more customer focused company. Often it’s the small change that makes the big difference.

Composite Coax Cables
The benefits of running just one cable instead of several are considerable. The FS Cables range of composite coax cables enables you to run a video signal, control and power simultaneously to your CCTV / security camera system. This offers you a huge amount of options such as PTZ (Pan / Tilt / Zoom) controls, running audio alongside video or powering the camera from the same cable that sends the video signal back. Savings in labour and containment can be considerable and routing is made simpler. Applications range from retail, town centres or traffic monitoring masts, through marine to portable equipment such as drain inspection and even bomb disposal! Cables made to a customers own design are commonplace with single or multiple coax cables, power cores up to 2.5mm2 and screened or unscreened data cables. The coaxes available from stock are the RG59 B/U and URM70. These cables are available in PVC, LSHF or with a duct grade sheath or armoured (SWA) if required. For cables made to customers own specification RG179 in PTFE, PVC or LSHF types are often used due to their compactness and durability. Where a coax is required alongside signal and power cores the FS Cables range of composite coaxial cables are the ideal solution. Full details of the composite coax range are available online at or in our catalogue. Please call us with your requirements and for details of the current stock range.

Copper Latest
Fluctuations of between 10 and 12% over a 3 month period would once have sparked fear in the cable industry but are now taken in its stride. The next few months are likely to see much of the same, with perhaps some small increases here or there. China and India continue to dominate the increase in demand with the Beijing Olympics less than a year away.

Copper vs. Aluminium
As mentioned a couple of issues ago the practice of substituting solid copper with copper coated aluminium (CCA) to save money has reached the UK. Cables mainly affected so far are internal telephone cables (CW1308 type) alarm cables and coax. One of the main problems encountered is that aluminium has a higher resistance and is more brittle than copper. When punched down into an IDC or Krone block it has a habit of breaking – if not immediately, some time later. With coax, the braids often corrode at the point of termination and break giving a higher resistance and therefore poorer signal. In some applications the cost savings may be worthwhile, whereas in others, the return visits involved or customer dissatisfaction will be too costly. Which ever you choose make sure you know what you are buying – solid copper or copper covered aluminium. There is a significant difference.
The Draka Firetuf range is ideal where there is a need for critical systems to continue functioning or the evacuation of people could be slowed

New faces at FS Cables
We are pleased to welcome six new faces to the FSC family. Andrew Mallard joins us as sales manager and is in charge of the contractor and OEM sales teams – both of which also benefit from a new recruit, Katy Johnson and Stuart Beagle respectively. Our export division FSC Global has also taken on two new members of staff – Jyldyz Tuibaeva and Rebecca Wills. Last but not least, Kenny Barber has joined to assist our busy warehouse team. It’s great to see everyone settling in and quickly becoming part of the team.

LUL approval for the Draka Firetuf range
FS Cables are pleased to announce that the Draka Firetuf range of data and coax cables have succesfully met the requirements of LUL standard 2-01001-002. As the official distributor of the Draka Firetuf range of data and coax cables FS Cables are delighted with the decision as the LUL engineering standard is both stringent in its testing and internationally recognised as a benchmark for fire safety. The LUL standard comprises tests for flammability to BS4066: Part 3, smoke emission to BS EN 50268 and toxic fume emissions. In addition, both cables have been tested for and met fire resistance BS EN 50200:2000 and BS8434-2:2003 and achieved the required performance of class PH120 and 120 minutes survival time when tested to BS8434-2 for FR (fire resistant) enhanced cables. The results demonstrate the Draka Firetuf data and coax’s ability for continued functionality in the event of fire. This 'rubber stamps' them as the ideal cables for digital signalling and CCTV in many applications including tunnels and train stations. The Firetuf data range has also proved to be the cabling of choice in many public buildings for BMS applications and critical communication systems where mass emergency evacuation is required. The LSHF materials combined with one of the highest levels of Fire Resistance provide unrivalled safety performance. For more information about the Draka Firetuf range please visit us online at or call 01727 828 828 to talk to a member of our sales team.

It’s worth mentioning that I personally read all the emails to, and see all the returned yellow performance monitoring cards that go out with each consignment. If you do have any suggestions or comments as to how we can improve please get in touch – my direct dial is 01727 744050. Meanwhile I’m off to plant a tree – I’ll try and call in on a customer on the way back!

Tube Trivia
• The London Underground is approximately 253 miles long • Each tube train travels approximately 73,500 miles every year • The busiest tube station is Kings Cross St. Pancras with 77.5 million passengers travelling every year

Yours, Jon Herbert

With Warehouse Manager Kevin Rainbow
Do you have a collections service?
Yes, it is mainly local wholesalers or contractors but we do get people driving a couple of hundred miles to pick up cables for breakdown situations. We’re open 8 6 and later or earlier by arrangement. We like customers to send through their orders before they arrive so we can have the cable ready, however this doesn’t always happen. In these situations they can have a cup of tea while we cut or process the order. most of the problems relate to bad packaging or damage. Digital cameras have made it very easy to explain the problem to suppliers!

Do you have many errors or problems sending goods to customers?
Not at all, we have an excellent record. We keep our picking procedure under constant review and each item now gets three signatures before it’s dispatched to the customer. It’s too early to say an exact percentage but it’s at least halved the warehouse errors.

You mentioned goods coming in, what’s the procedure?
Back row from left to right – Scott Smith, Matt Morland, Kenny Barber, Ben Thorp, Gareth Dickinson and Peter O’Connor. Foreground: Kevin Rainbow, Warehouse Manager
We receive products from all around the world. It falls into two groups – product for stock or product for customers. Both have to be checked in the same way, first to make sure the cable is what the label says it is, and secondly that it is what we ordered. We also look for damage and shortages. If we have a new supplier we’re even more thorough, double-checking packaging, winding, labelling, cable construction and quality.

What about the yellow cards you send out?
The first thing is that we don’t get enough back. It really helps us improve the service if we are informed of a problem, however small. We send out a yellow card with each delivery asking for comments and feedback, they are postage paid so please use them.

What’s your role in the company?
I manage the warehouse which really means looking after eight guys and making sure customers get their products when and where they need it.

Sounds like a real party – cleaning up from the night before!
We wish! We don’t have a cut off time. If sales take an order at 5:45pm and we can ship it we will. All effort goes into getting the product to customers when they want it.

How did you get the job?
I joined as a warehouse man eight years ago when there were just two of us. As the company grew, an opening came up for a warehouse manager. I’ve been on quite a few management courses both inside and outside the company since then.

Do you run your own vans?
No, I’ve worked for companies that do and it usually ends up giving the customer a poorer service. We supply to all over the UK and working with a good parcel and pallet carrier is essential. We can have cable to most of the UK mainland by 9am the next day – we couldn’t do that with our own vans. If it’s really urgent we use a dedicated vehicle with an owner / driver who makes sure it gets to the right person as quickly as possible. They’re not expensive either, £45 into central London. Some days we may use them six or seven times, other days it may be only once, it gives us flexibility.

What is the cut to length service you offer?
Some customers don’t want to buy in standard 100m, 500m or 1km lengths so on most cables we will cut to the length needed. If you want 170m in one length, 2 x 100m is no use and 500m may give you unacceptable wastage. Finally I would like to say thanks for the business you continue to give us. You certainly keep us busy! I’ve been with the company for eight years now and have seen the company grow a lot in that time. The growth is down to the support of our customers and we never forget it. Long may it continue.

You must have reasonable product knowledge?
You can’t help but pick it up over the years but we’re always learning. Before I started the job I thought cable was just cable – you learn something every day. Also, there is always someone to ask if it we’re not sure.

How do you organise the work?
Everyone can do most jobs so it’s more a case of how we divide up the day. In the morning we’re usually clearing the decks up from the night before, unloading lorries, checking goods in and putting them away. There will always be a couple of guys cutting customer orders in the morning with five or six as it gets really busy later in the day.

Do you have many rejects?
No, not many. We’re ISO9001 certified so any problems go into the quarantine area, but purchasing do a good job and

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 for 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!

Call-off Orders
If you have a regular requirement for a particular cable you may benefit from using our call-off order service. Contracts can be up to 12 months in length and enable you to fix your cost. Cable calledoff will normally be invoiced when it has been delivered, spreading the cost over the length of the agreement. In most cases the entire order will be manufactured in one go and held in stock for next working day delivery. Whether it is a contractor who has limited storage on site and wants the cable delivered as and when required or an OEM customer who may require a regular amount of cable for a particular application, call-off orders are proving to be extremely popular.

Call-off agreements have many benefits. • Prices fixed for 12 months or the duration of the agreement. • Volume discounts – even if the cable is called-off in relatively small amounts. • Cables can be made to your exact design or with a special print without costly storage or financial penalties. • Peace of mind. Your cable is allocated and stored in our warehouse, delivered next working day to mainland UK. Having a particular cable available at the right place and at the right time is a must for many of our customers. Talk to our sales team for more details about how the benefits of improved flexibility and cost savings by calling-off your orders could work for you.

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

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