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Fire Alarm Cables now in stock
FS Cables adds NoBurn® to its range of fire cables
Within the industry it is now recognised that in the event of fire the continued functionality of some cables is essential to provide sufficient time for evacuation. Airports, hospitals and train stations are just some examples of areas which rely on maintaining circuit integrity in order to evacuate a large number of people quickly and safely in the event of a fire. FS Cables have increased their stocks of the Ventcroft range of NoBurn® ‘Platinum’ (standard) and NoBurn® ‘Diamond’ (enhanced) fire alarm cables for your convenience. The benefits of these cables are that they are quick and simple to install, have great working flexibility and are Low Smoke Halogen Free throughout. The easy strip outer sheath enables quick termination, saving time and

Spring 2009 Issue 6
it is easily ‘dressed’. This makes it ideal for installations in either fixed straight lines or where bent around corners. The quality management system for both NoBurn® standard and enhanced is fully tested and approved by LPCB and BASEC. Both cables are ideal for installations in alarm systems, emergency lighting systems, air conditioning units and other areas which require continued functionality in the event of a fire. Large stocks of 1mm2, 1.5mm2 and 2.5mm2 configurations are available on either 100m or 500m reels. Talk to a member of our sales team for more information.

Fire alarm cables provide continued functionality in the event of fire

reducing costs, while the Low Smoke Halogen Free jacket offers additional protection in the event of a fire, through greatly reduced emissions of smoke and harmful halogens.

Estimated termination speeds of under 10 seconds can be achieved making it the fastest and simplest on the market. NoBurn® also benefits from great working flexibility meaning

Get your free copy for a chance to win an LED flashlight
Issue 9 of ‘The Little Red Book’ is now available. Expanded to 128 pages, a whole host of new products are included this time in response to your feedback. BS5308 control and instrumentation cables make an appearance for the first time as do PV (photovoltaic) cables for use on solar panels. Dedicated sections on security and rail cables are included with expanded details on armouring, oversheathing and custommanufactured cables.

Issue 9 of ‘The Little Red Book’
As in issue 8, the latest catalogue contains detailed descriptions and technical information for the wide range of products available to you for next working day delivery. This includes data, coax, signal and control, security, telephone, audio, robotics, high temperature, rubber and rail cables, with many available in a range of sheathing options such as armoured, duct grade or Low Smoke Halogen Free.
Continued on page 3

In this issue
• Fire Alarm Cables • Issue 9 of ‘The Little Red Book’ • What's in a Cable? • Antennax™ • Next working-day delivery • Q&A with Gavin Clements • Paper Planet Recycling • In Brief • Editorial

+++ Metal Prices +++ Metal Prices +++ Metal Prices +++
26th March 2009 8th September 2008 Change % COPPER £2,790.47 £3,962.14 -29.57% ALUMINIUM £984.17 £1,475.86 -33.32% SILVER £9.44 £6.85 +37.85% NICKEL £6,828.72 £10,606.53 -35.62% All prices per 1000kg except silver per oz. Exchange rates apply at time of trade

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

In Brief
Great prices on YY Cables...
New lower prices on YY control flex are now standard at FS Cables. Most 2, 3 & 4 core sizes are stocked either number or colour coded and larger multicores are available number coded. Orders are shipped via TNT for next working day delivery and the popular ‘cut to length’ service means you don’t have to buy more than you need.

What’s in a Cable?
Part 4 - Braiding, Screening and Armouring

Braiding can be applied straight over the core bundle or over a bedding or inner sheath. If no inner sheath is used clear polyester tape or non-woven polyester fleece is normally applied. This holds the cores together and reduces wear if the cable flexes. This also helps keep the overall diameter of the cable to a minimum. It is normal to extrude a sheath or bedding over the core bundle if the cable is to be armoured or steel braided. The equipment used to braid cables dates back to the early textile industry and in some factories it is not unusual to see 50 year old machines still working! Nowadays however, most factories have invested in modern computer controlled braiders. The braiding process requires two sets of bobbins, pre-wound with braid wires, to rotate in opposite directions to plait or weave the wires to form a braid. The density or coverage of the braid, often expressed as a percentage, varies depending on the number of wires or strands in each plait, the pitch of the braid and the thickness of each strand. Copper braids such as CY cables are generally used for screening against electromagnetic interference and steel braided cables such as SY cables are used for mechanical protection. Other braid materials used for specialist applications include glass or ceramic fibres for high temperature and Rayon for torsional strength.

...and Telephone Cables
Due to special purchasing arrangements we have some fantastic deals on telephone cables including internal CW1308 & external CW1128 with or without an armour. BT drop wire in 2 or 4 pair with integral strainers are also included. This gives you a great opportunity to save money on top quality products.

In this series we have looked at cable manufacturing, starting with the original conductor, the insulation material and the process of laying up the cores. In this instalment of ‘What’s in a Cable’ we look at the next stage – braiding, armouring and screening. After the cores have been laid up they can either go straight to be sheathed/jacketed or braided or armoured. The purpose of screening or braiding is to act

as a barrier, reducing the amount of electromagnetic interference from or to other signals nearby. Types of screening can include woven wire braiding or aluminium coated polyester tape. Armouring, as its name implies, provides mechanical protection to the cable. Braiding Braiding can be used for either mechanical protection, electrical screening against electromagnetic interference (EMI) or to give the cable torsional strength.

Antennax™ is the new range of high performance, ultra low loss coaxial cables designed to carry signals from a transmitter to an antenna, aerial or dish. Developed for microwave, satellite and telecommunication masts, the Antennax™ range is manufactured to ensure optimum levels of performance. Designed to emulate the market leaders such as the Times LMR series, the Antennax™ range is easy to cross reference. Let us have the style or type of the cable you currently use and we’ll advise you on the appropriate Antennax™ product together with costs and availability. Antennax™ combines the lowest loss of cables in its class with the handling and functionality you would expect from an FSC cable. The foil and braid screen delivers high levels of electrical protection while the foamed dielectric and flexible outer jacket ensure that bending and handling characteristics are not compromised. Stocked in LSHF (Low Smoke Halogen Free) and LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene) these cables are ideal for both internal and external installations. The LDPE version offers long life expectancy and weatherability, ideal for runs clipped to masts or towers with a high degree of exposure. The LSHF version offers protection where the evacuation of people or property in the event of fire is critical. A range of high quality N type and other connectors to suit Antennax™ are also available on short lead times. Antennax™ comes with the usual great FS Cables services, including ‘cut to length’ so you only buy what you need, reducing your wastage and saving you money. Next working-day delivery is also standard within the UK mainland, carriage paid on orders over £100. Full technical information on Antennax™ is available in the free, 128 page cabling guide ‘The Little Red Book’, or via the website

Tired of (wrongly!) predicting the fluctuations in copper price, Wired would like to give you some facts in this issue. The electrical industry is the largest user of copper consuming 42% of the annual production with Asia contributing 43% of the total copper production worldwide. Copper was first traded on the LME (London Metal Exchange) in 1877. By 2007, world consumption reached just under 18 million tonnes. In April 2008 LME stocks of copper were 110,000 tonnes. Since then, stocks have increased steadily to approximately 500,000 tonnes. If you apply the rules of supply and demand, copper prices should fall. There we go again with those risky predictions!

When glass or ceramic fibres are used they are normally varnished to make them easier to handle. An important point to watch out for is where suppliers talk about braid coverage but omit to mention the diameter of the wires used to braid it. This can easily reduce the metal content of the braid by as much as 50%. In a screened cable such as a CY or coax cables, this may substantially reduce the performance of the cable and its ability to deal with EMI. With steel braided cables the braid should only be used for mechanical protection. Here the diameter of the braid wires clearly dictates the level of mechanical damage the cable can withstand. Tape and Aluminium Foil An alternative and cheaper form of screening is to wrap the cores in an aluminium or polyester laminated tape. This can provide 100% coverage but is not as conductive as a copper braid screen. If aluminium / polyester foils are used they must be in direct contact with a bare wire to act as an earthing point. The ultimate level of screening is an aluminium / polyester foil in contact with a high coverage copper wire braid as found on some Belden style data cables and the FS Cables Niltox® LF-329 and Risershield screened power or control cables.

one of the toughest forms of mechanical protection but the drawback is that it substantially reduces flexibility and can be slow to terminate. Steel tape armour is also popular in some countries particularly on some fibre optic cables. This form of armour uses two helically wound galvanised steel tapes, wound in the same direction – sometimes it is corrugated or interlocking which helps with both strength and flexibility but also increases the price. The advantage of steel tape armour is its resistance to vermin and termite attack and its relatively quick manufacture and low cost. Once screened or armoured the cable is then sheathed or jacketed. We will look at this process in the next instalment of ‘What’s in a Cable’.


A braiding machine weaves the wires into a braid

Armouring Steel wire armour (SWA) or to give it its correct designation - single wire armour, is constructed by winding galvanised solid steel wires of between 0.9mm to over 3mm diameter around the bedded cable in a spiral form. The individual wires are laid parallel to each other to give almost 100% coverage. This is

It would be difficult to write this without acknowledging the current market conditions. Certainly some projects are being put on hold or cancelled and some sectors will spend a lot less this year on development and growth than they did last year. There is still strong demand in some sectors however and while it appears fashionable to predict gloom, doom and despondency there are still a large amount of projects going ahead. A common problem in the industry has been the fall in copper price which has resulted in practically every distributor holding stock that was purchased at significantly higher rates. With lead times of up to 25 weeks, an order placed in July 2008 with copper at USD$8800/ton would not have arrived until late 2008 when copper had dropped to USD$3200/ton. Many distributors are now sitting on some very expensive stock. With much of the data and signal range we sell, copper is not such a significant part of the cost. On our higher copper content items we have decided to drop the prices to give you a saving immediately and to allow us to restock at new lower prices. We have also seen more customers buying exactly the length they need rather than a standard drum length. This has reduced the average value of orders but increased the number of orders! If you are experiencing cash flow problems please talk to us. We hate putting people on stop but if we don’t have a dialogue we fear the worst. Finally the latest ‘Little Red Book’ has been very well received, expanded to include some new product ranges. If you haven’t got your copy yet send back the reply card with this issue. You could also win a torch! Best wishes

Braiding (left) protects against electromagnetic interference while armouring offers the cable mechanical protection

The Little Red Book Continued from cover...
Other popular features have been retained such as the Belden page finder for cross reference and revised technical tables to comply with the 17th edition wiring regulations. A handy AWG / Metric converter, stranding charts and guides to American, European and UK colour codes are also included. While an increase in length allows for more information and products, the overall size remains the same so it will still fit comfortably in your pocket or toolbox. Whether you are on site or in the office, ‘The Little Red Book’ provides all the information you need. Issue 9 is also available on CD as an optimised PDF. Text in the PDF has been enabled as hyperlinks meaning you can navigate the catalogue like a ‘mini website’. This enables quick browsing of products by name, part number or Belden reference. To launch the new catalogue, Wired is giving away a free FS Cables LED flashlight to every 5th respondent to either the enclosed pre-paid reply card or emails to These pocket sized flashlights feature 12 incredibly bright LEDs in a solid metal housing and are very robust. They come supplied with 3 AAA batteries and are low power consumption. We have 250 torches to give away and these will be mailed out free of charge to every 5th respondent to Wired while stocks last.

Next WorkingDay Delivery on Thousands of Cables
From our 55,000 sq. ft. warehouse based just north of London, FS Cables offer thousands of cables ‘off the shelf’ for next-working day delivery. There is no cut off time for orders – if we can ship your order we will. We also cut to length on many products offering

you both a cost saving and reduced wastage. Only buy what you need! Orders over £100 are carriage paid, under that there is a very reasonable £6 charge. Pre – 9am, 10.30am or 12 noon and even same-day (distance permitting) deliveries are also available for those really urgent shipments. Our large distribution centre allows customers to call off their order over a period of time. This offers a fixed price and guarantee of supply without tying up space and helping your cashflow. Why not make our huge stocks look like your huge stocks?
Next working-day delivery is carriage paid on orders over £100 to mainland UK

Jon Herbert

with FSC Global Director Gavin Clements
Becky joined us last year and looks after much of the office administration and dealings with freight companies. Artem is a Russian speaker and recently moved into sales from the warehouse. He also brings with him plenty of ‘hands on’ experience of the products! How do you promote the business globally? Exhibitions are a good way of reaching new customers – we are typically doing around 2-3 per year. They are mainly energy related shows such as oil and gas and offshore. Last year we attended KIOGE in Kazakhstan and ADIPEC in Dubai. This year we will be at Offshore Technology Conference 2009 in Houston and Trako 2009 in Poland. We are also members of various export organisations aimed at developing business for UK exporting companies. You mentioned that customers’ needs tend to be different overseas? Yes that’s right. First of all the average order size tends to be larger but less frequent than the UK side. We also have to provide all the paperwork such as certificates of origin and legalised documents, as well as arranging packing of goods suitable for shipping by road, sea, rail or air. We aim to offer the fastest, most efficient service of any cable distributor wherever the customer is working. Just like at FS Cables, building customer relationships is critical to ensure we supply what is required on time and to the correct location. What about on the product side? It tends to focus around the larger power and instrumentation cables, armoured or unarmoured types. Cables to NEK 606, IEC 60092-3, and BS6883 are popular, as are power cables to BS5467, BS6724 and IEC60502. Fibre optic, coaxial and microwave cables are also stocked and like FS Cables, many cables are available in Low Smoke Halogen Free versions. We are often asked to provide custom manufactured cables with various options to cope with contaminated ground, UV, heat, chemicals, or LSHF sheathing, fire resistance or armouring. Often solutions can be found with short lead times and low minimum order quantities. Tell me about some of the projects you have supplied to? Over the years FSC Global have worked on a variety of projects around the world, from hospital fire safety systems in Malta, UN emergency supplies in Iraq, to oil pipelines and power stations in the Middle East. We have also supplied large amounts of LSHF and fire resistant cables for mass transit systems such as the Porto Metro and Bangkok underground.

Right to Left :- Gavin Clements, Greig Martens, George Richardson, Rosie Howell-Hughes, Rebecca Wills, Artem Arseni and Daniel Butterfield

How was FSC Global formed? FSC Global Ltd was formed in November 2001 when the amount of overseas business we were doing justified creating a dedicated company. Typically the markets we serve such as marine, power generation and petrochemical are very different to the UK side of the business which tends to centre around electrical contractor, OEM, security and specifier type work. Why form a separate company? The requirements of export are quite different to the UK home market, particularly in the areas of specification and documentation. Customers’ needs tend to be a lot more bespoke as well with much of the work being project based. Having a dedicated company allows us to focus on the customers’ unique requirements and ultimately provide a better service.

Like FS Cables we are based at Alban Point in Hertfordshire, with over 55,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space plus a large yard for packing goods into containers on site. The 5,600m2 of stock we hold plus a manufacture to order facility means we are able to provide cable for many different applications quickly and efficiently. Goods can be shipped by courier, air, sea, rail or road to meet the customers’ needs. How many of you are there in FSC Global? Starting with a team of three, the company has more than doubled in size over the years to seven members of staff. Greig, Daniel, Rosie, Becky, George, Artem and myself. Daniel and Artem look after the Kazakhstan and CIS markets while Greig, Rosie, Becky and George focus on Europe and the Middle East. Dubai and the UAE represent big markets for us.

Paper Planet Recycling - Tree Planting in Marston Vale
On a chilly November morning last year, David Keene and Suzi Coggins from FS Cables went to The Forest Centre in Marston Mortaine, near Bedford on a tree planting mission. This was in aid of Pearce Recycling whose Paper Planet recycling programme is widely used in offices around the country. The scheme encourages the recycling of office waste such as paper, plastics, tin cans and card. Pearce Recycling invite companies using this programme to plant trees according to how many bags of recycling they have produced over that year. Fifty bags of paper is equivalent to one tree and we were allocated five trees to plant. Upon arrival, David and Suzi were ushered onto coaches to be taken to the planting site. After brief demonstration on how to plant a tree correctly, shovels were handed out and the tree planting began. David and Suzi rose to the challenge and planted 36 trees in total, 31 more than the allocated amount! Over a 1000 trees were planted on the day by the 120 companies who participated. The paper planet recycling programme is part of the FSC commitment to reducing detrimental impact on the environment. Currently work is being undertaken to achieve ISO14001 status, expected during the summer.

Alban Point, Alban Park, Hatfield Road, St. Albans, Herts AL4 0JX
General Sales: 01727 840 841 Fax: 01727 840 842 OEM Sales: 01727 849 801 Contractor Sales: 01727 849 802 Credit Control: 01727 849 827 Purchasing: 01727 849 805 Marketing: 01727 849 806