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LSF vs LSHF - There is a Difference!
See the cigarette lighter test for yourself
Buying LSF data cables is like buying Viagra on the internet – you have no idea what’s in it, you don’t know how it’s going to perform and in very extreme circumstances it could kill you. We have seen confusion from contractors recently surrounding the difference between LSF (Low Smoke and Fume) and LSHF (Low Smoke Halogen Free) cables. LSHF cables are those that, when exposed to fire, emit no more than 0.5% hydrogen chloride. They are not the same as LSF cables. LSF cables, in the case of data, signal and control cables, are often made from a modified version of PVC and can still give off large amounts of dense smoke and hydrogen chloride gas when burned. Ordinary PVC emits approximately 28% hydrogen chloride when burned and, while no specific standard exists for their emissions, LSF cables can still give off a massive 22% hydrogen chloride and still be sold as LSF. To demonstrate the difference, Wired has filmed a very simple cigarette lighter flame test using a piece of unscreened data cable in both LSF and LSHF versions and put it on YouTube. The results are startling. The LSF cable (top right) very quickly begins to burn and give off black smoke. By contrast, see how the LSHF cable (bottom left) gives off negligible smoke when exposed to the same heat source. The sheath swells and will eventually burn through in the same

Winter 2009 Issue 8

LSF Cable when exposed to the same flame - note the dense black smoke given off

way as LSF but it is only producing a tiny amount of white smoke and almost no flame. As a rule of thumb, if the application calls for a data, signal or control Cable in LSF, question it. If it’s a public access building such as an airport, a hospital, a prison, or a hotel, or indeed anywhere that the evacuation in the event of a fire may be restricted you will almost certainly need a LSHF cable.

There is a joke in the cable industry that LSF actually stands for ‘Loads of Smoke and Fumes’ and not ‘Low Smoke and Fume’. The only way to guarantee you know what is being used on an installation is to specify a ‘Low Smoke Halogen Free cable’. Don’t just take our word for it – see the video for yourself. Visit

LSHF Cable when exposed to flame

Customer Feedback Survey - The results are in!
Wired would like to say a big thanks to all those who took part in the customer feedback survey we ran in the last issue. We received nearly 600 responses across a range of industries which has given us some incredibly useful information about what matters to you the customer, the service we provide and ultimately how we can be a better supplier to you. Service Respondants valued customer service as the best aspect of FS Cables service with 48.79% describing it as ‘excellent’ and 40.48% as ‘good’. 95.16% of respondents described our product range as ‘excellent’ (46.46%) or ‘good’ (48.70%). Price is an area a few of you told us we need to improve on and 14.51% rate price as ‘excellent’, 27.98% as ‘satisfactory’ and 50.43% ‘good’. The Electrical Industry 87% of respondents said they were optimistic about the current state of the electrical industry, with 81% confident business will pick up next year. However, 43% of people admitted they were buying less cable than they were this time last year. How you see us We asked respondents ‘what animal would FS Cables be’ to gain an emotional response about how you view us as a company. Big cats were your most popular answers. The majority of customers working in the defence sector compare us to a cheetah while wholesalers and OEM customers compared us to a lion. Interestingly the majority of electrical contractors thought we would be an elephant while security installers saw us as dog!

In this issue
• LSF vs LSHF - There is a Difference! • Customer Feedback Survey • FS Cables Goes Green • KNX Cable Approval • TNT Deliveries • Q&A with Bob Barnard • Pricing • In Brief • Editorial

+++ Metal Prices +++ Metal Prices +++ Metal Prices +++
4th December 2009 1st September 2009 Change % COPPER £4,295.17 £3,844.80 11.71% ALUMINIUM £1,287.58 £1,133.12 13.63% SILVER £11.29 £9.23 22.39% NICKEL £9,721.97 £11,471.76 -15.25% All prices per 1000kg except silver per oz. Exchange rates apply at time of trade

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

In Brief
CY Cables
In response to your feedback FS Cables have increased stocks and looked at pricing on the CY control cables range. Unlike many on the market, our CY cables feature an overall foil around the 70% braid screen for added protection. We hold good stocks of 0.75mm2 to 2.5mm2 in a range of core and colour or number coded configurations in 1000m drums ready to be cut to length. We really believe this is top quality cable at very competitive prices. Try us against your current supplier.

reduction in paper and postage as well as offering greater convenience to our customers.

FS Cables ‘Goes Green’
ISO 14001 Accreditation
FS Cables are proud to have been awarded ISO 14001 environmental accreditation. This achievement represents many months of hard work and has taken the best efforts of all members of staff. ISO14001 is an environmental management system aimed at reducing our environmental footprint through a range of measurable improvement actions. It has helped us identify areas where our environmental footprint can be reduced. The ISO standard sets out the framework for an environmental policy which looks at monitoring our impact on the environment, planning and implementing change, taking necessary corrective action and a management review. We have introduced a number of measures ranging from setting up a recycling programme for all office and commercial waste to car sharing and staff cycling to work. We have switched all external lighting from linear tungsten lamps to metal halide lamps which we estimate achieves an energy reduction of 60%. A large number of transactional documents such as invoices, statements and purchase orders are now being sent out electronically providing a huge

Over the coming 12 months as part of our ongoing continuous improvement, further reductions in our energy wastage are planned. These include replacing the sodium low bay lighting in the warehouse with movement detecting T5 fluorescent lamps. Additionally, we are working with all parts of our supply chain to continue to reduce wastage and make improvements in packaging materials. At FS Cables we believe our commitment to reducing our impact on the environment provides not only environmental advantages but also benefits our customers and suppliers. Through reduced costs, reduced wastage and improved efficiencies, we aim to continue to provide high levels of service, quality and delivery. Importantly, by using FS Cables our customers are now also able to demonstrate environmental compliance in their own supply chain. Jon Herbert, a director of FS Cables commented that “instead of an uphill struggle to get staff on board, people responded really positively and were looking at ways in which they could make a difference. It made the whole process of achieving the standard so much easier, so a big thank you to all those concerned.”

LMR Connectors
A full range of LMR connectors are now in stock. This means FS can now to offer a complete solution when supplying cable to the RF transmissions industry. Ideal for installations on microwave antennas or mobile phone masts, the FS LMR range are manufactured to the highest quality and is a fantastic alternative to Times LMR – both in quality and price. Call us today and we’ll send you a sample of both cable and connector.

Customer Feedback Survey - continued
KEY: Excellent Satisfactory Technical Expertise Good Poor
1% 8%

Product Range
3% 1%

Customer Service
6% 1% 44% 48% 51% 42% 49% 47%

New Arrivals
There have been some new additions to the workforce recently. We are pleased to welcome Laura Martin back from maternity leave and Lee Ypey has rejoined the company following 18 months travelling in Asia. The purchasing and marketing departments have grown as well with the additions of Tom Barrett and Chloe Rimmer respectively. Both are settling in very well and are looking forward to the year ahead.

The Electrical Industry
Audio Consultants & Specifiers Defence Electrical Contractors Government OEM Security Wholesaler 1.0

We asked you your feelings on the state of the electrical industry this year and for 2010...

KEY: 2009



Fairly Pessimistic


Fairly Optimistic



KNX Cable Approval
FS Cables have joined the KNX association as a KNX certified cable supplier. KNX is an ideal solution for consultants, specifiers, designers, installers and end users as a flexible, user friendly and energy efficient system. What is KNX? Buildings that are energy efficiently designed are becoming increasingly popular. Most modern buildings incorporate some form of Intelligent Building Technology (IBT) ranging from automatic lighting and climate control to door entry and security systems. The KNX standard is an internationally recognised system for home automation and building control combining ISO/IEC (14543), CENELEC (EN50090) and CEN (13321). It also combines and replaces previous Bus systems – EIB, EHSA and BatiBus. The harmonisation of these standards and systems offers designers, installers and end users a flexible, versatile and ‘problem-free’ solution combining certified devices across a range of approved manufacturers – ensuring conformity, interoperability and quality. All KNX certified equipment has been tested and certified to this high standard and only equipment meeting this can carry the logo. This ensures the quality, reliability and guaranteed compatibility of all KNX devices and equipment. KNX is ‘Green’ With the increasing demand for ‘green’ buildings, KNX systems can contribute to significant energy savings over time. The operation of heating, lighting and blinds among others can be aligned with

external climate conditions or adjusted by an interface to pre-set levels. For example, lighting can be altered depending on the amount of natural light detected or people present in the building. Heating, cooling and ventilation can be measured by temperature sensors and adjustments made where necessary. Substantial energy savings can be achieved through efficient building technologies.

As you would expect from an FSC cable it also benefits from being low smoke halogen free throughout making it ideal for installations where the safety of people or sensitive property could be compromised in the event of fire. A quad version of the cable is also available although this is not yet certified. What are the benefits of KNX? The main benefits of the KNX system are twofold. Firstly, the interoperability of devices across a range of manufacturers and regions and secondly, quality assurance whereby product quality is ensured through testing and certification. KNX is particularly attractive to consultants and specifiers at the design stage where the flexibility of an entirely open solution allows for the creation of simple installations right up to complex building management functions.


Using a KNX shading control system for example can achieve energy savings of 40%. A KNX individual room control can offer savings of up to 50% and a KNX lighting or ventilation control system can provide as much as 60% savings over traditional building management systems. KNX also offers advances in home or building security. For example, motion detectors, alarm systems and shutter control can all be automated and controlled through the same Bus network. Notwithstanding the complex technologies it controls, a KNX cabling system is actually remarkably simple with devices and systems interconnected using a single twisted pair cable. This simplicity is one of the many benefits to designers, installers and end users. FS Cables twisted pair cable FS Cables as part of its growing product range now offers a KNX certified cable. This features two twisted solid conductor pairs with a foil screen in a green jacket. It has been tested and certified as being suitable for use in KNX systems and bears the KNX logo.

Installations are made easier through clear and simple wiring and with a KNX certified cable installers can be confident of a hassle free installation. For the end user, a KNX system represents a modern, cost effective and ‘barrier free’ solution to home automation and building technology. Tremendous flexibility is offered as any changes or upgrades to the system over time are possible without the need for rewiring. Further information about the KNX standard can be found at

There is quite a bit in this issue about the customer feedback survey and I’d like to add my thanks to all of those that took part. It’s always good to read positive comments but the real reason for doing it was to improve our service. It’s much easier to learn from people who tell you where you are going wrong and where you can improve than it is from compliments although we do like receiving them! A great many recommendations were made by customers ranging from ‘increase the product range’ through ‘make it clearer when you have a new catalogue’ to ‘better labelling on drums’. Price was an area of concern for several customers. We work hard to keep prices low and we want to provide good quality and excellent service as well as great prices. We believe this adds up to the best value for money for customers. If we fall down on any of these points – quality, service or price – please let your sales contact know. Call me or drop me an email and let’s see if we can correct it. My thanks also go to all those who have enabled us to get ISO14001 accreditation. Green issues often provoke strong feelings at both extremes with indifference in the middle. I am delighted to say it hasn't been a struggle to get people on board and staff at FS Cables have responded really positively looking at ways we can all make a difference. At the end of the day, cutting down waste and reducing landfill is just good oldfashioned common sense. After an initial teething period we have settled down into separating waste and compacting polyethylene and it all seems remarkably simple now that recycling has become second nature in the company. The only downside I can think of is the cost of waste bailing equipment and the storage space needed for recyclable waste. If you’re interested in getting ISO14001 for yourselves please contact me – we’ll be happy to go through our experiences which may be useful to you.

TNT - for those really urgent jobs
When you need cable urgently, we find TNT does the job. Collecting nightly from our distribution centre, TNT deliver ‘next working day’ as standard to most of the UK mainland. For really urgent jobs there is the option of timed or Saturday deliveries and we have no cut off time for orders placed. Last month 99.8% of stock orders were shipped the same day they were received. Orders over £100 are carriage paid next working day. If it’s easier for you we can also arrange for you to collect from your nearest TNT depot from 8.00 am. You’ll just need some ID and the consignment note number.

FS Cables Delivery Menu
Next Day Delivery on orders over £100 Collection of orders over £100 from local depot Orders under £100 Pre 12.00am Pre 10.30am Pre 9.00am Saturday AM Tel: 01727 840 841 FREE FREE £6 £12 £18 £25 £45 email:
TNT collect nightly from our distribution centre north of London

Best wishes

Jon Herbert

With Quality & Environmental Manager Bob Barnard
What’s your role at FS Cables? I work externally for a few clients including FS Cables and I’m responsible for assessing and managing both the quality and environmental management systems. I’m delighted that FS Cables have recently achieved their ISO14001 accreditation. It’s been a long time in the making and has taken the best efforts of all members of staff. Tell us a bit more about ISO14001 and what it covers. ISO14001 is a framework for an environmental management system which enables an organisation to operate in a more environmentally sustainable manner. As with ISO9001 it is about identifying areas of weakness, implementing strategies for improvement and then continually measuring this improvement over time. What made FS Cables decide to work for ISO14001 accreditation? I think all organisations need to recognise that they have a part to play when it comes to protecting the environment. There is a social responsibility attached to commerce and the way waste and energy are managed. We are all going to have an environmental footprint of some sort but there are lots of ways in which we can reduce it. An important aspect for any business also is that any reduction in waste is going to make a company leaner and more efficient. There are also cost savings to be made by being ‘green’. These are all benefits to businesses and ultimately customers too. It also means that customers can say that they are using an ISO14001 accredited supplier which helps with their own compliance. The upcoming Olympic work is a good example of this where we are increasingly seeing contractors being asked to demonstrate sustainability within their supply chain. We shouldn’t forget that ISO9001:2008 was also attained. That’s correct – although the company has held ISO9001 status for a number of years now. Regular audits are necessary though to ensure that company is performing as it should be. Continual improvement is a requirement of ISO9001 and new methods for reducing errors and improving efficiency are being introduced where appropriate. One initiative implemented recently is to get every picking note triple signed prior to dispatch. This enables us to catch any snags before they leave us and has a significant impact on reducing the number of goods returned. While we can take verbal orders from customers ordering from site or where they really have no way of getting an order over, we prefer to receive written or emailed orders. This avoids situations where the

customer thought they asked for 1 x 200m but we thought they asked for 2 x 100m. How long has FS Cables held ISO9001? The very first quality audit took place in the mid 90’s. FS Cables have come a long way since then and there has been a strong emphasis on quality ever since. You seem to have had a good response to the feedback survey? It was great to get so many positive responses and there were many examples of really constructive criticism which have helped identify areas of improvement to bring greater levels of customer satisfaction. While monitoring customer feedback is a requirement of ISO9001 this survey was really about getting a better understanding of what is important to customers and how they perceive the company.

Ultimately FS Cables want to be the customer’s first choice and we will have a better chance of achieving that if the customer’s needs are being met. How else is feedback measured? Feedback is monitored regularly through the yellow cards which go out with each order. They give customers a chance to tell us how their goods arrived – hopefully on time and in good condition! Currently around 99% of orders are received on time, correct to the customers order and in good condition. This is obviously no consolation to the remaining 1% but we are never complacent and are always looking to improve. The cards are a great way of catching any issues as they arise. It’s also worth mentioning that all emails to are read by a director.

Over the past 12 months we’ve reduced hundreds of prices by looking critically at the supply chain and where possible cutting out costs without reducing either quality or service. One key area is working with product managers to calculate optimum manufacturing quantities for individual products. In some cases this means we hold up to a year’s worth of sales in stock, which not only drops the price (in some cases significantly) but also cushions us against sudden large orders and limits ‘out of stock’ situations. The second great saving comes from getting factories to pre-pack cable into popular lengths, namely 100m, 200m and 500m reels. This reduces double handling and saves on wages and packing materials. We still hold large reels to cater for ‘cut to length’ requirements but far more products are arriving pre-packed from the factory. Cutting margins and becoming more efficient at all aspects of the business has helped us offer you even better value for money while continuing with the service levels you need.

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