Right choice of Plasticizers and Compounds for Wire and Cable*

Excerpt: Extracts from the presentation made by the authors at the recent Polymers in Wire and Cables conference held in Mumbai

*Extracts from the presentation made by the authors at the recent Polymers in Wire and Cables conference held in Mumbai.

A safer world

FOR facilitating trade by helping business gain access to global markets with safe environment and health. The focus is on Safety Testing –R&D, mechanical, weathering, flammability certification –safety, performance, system, process market access–innovation, after sales services, engineering regulation and standards.

The aim should be to provide services for product Safety and promote safe living and working environments for people by the application of Safety Science and Hazard-Based Safety Engineering; To support the production and use of products which are physically and environmentally safe by innovative and cost effective manner.

Opportunities/Challenges: Wire & Cable

The Current R&D efforts are to make available new Products offering better Cost-Performance propositions. Now with increasing importance of Regulatory Compliances in major Asian countries like: Korea, China, Japan, Turkey are focusing on:

– REACh Compliant Products

– RoHS Compliant Products

– Product complying to GHS system of Classification & Labeling.

Plasticisers can be classified as two types. A comparison of these two types is given below:

Impact of REACh (EU): Product Safety

(Health, Environmental issues related to Plasticizers)

Many studies have been conducted in recent years to evaluate plasticizers' effects on humans and on the environment, migration of phthalates, their presence in indoor air and dust, and so forth.

Only four low ortho-phthalates – di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP), and n-butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) – have been found to have any adverse endocrine-related effects in laboratory animal studies with specific thresholds.

Data from the last 15 years show that the use of some orthophthalates such as DINP, DIDP, and DPHP has significantly increased, whereas consumption of classified orthophthalates has decreased.

Use of plasticizers such as Diisononyl cyclohexane-1,2-dicarboxylate (DINCH) and Dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP) has also increased, reflecting industry commitment to developing new and safe products through research and innovation.

European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediates (ECPI).

What can be Done to Make products safer?

Product safety is not only linked to the product itself but also depends on the way the product is used in specific applications. This is why the use of plasticizers is strictly regulated and the European legislation clearly defines the specific use of substances in all different applications, from medical devices to cosmetics, building applications to toys.

To enhance the safety of plasticizers, it is, therefore, necessary to have a clear and consistent regulatory framework that enables industries to invest, research, innovate, and grow.

Another interesting aspect is to see how close plasticizers are to people in their daily life, and how these substances can improve their lifestyle with myriad benefits to their health and the environment. Let's just think about medical applications, for example, or innovative and sustainable buildings and constructions. This is why the misconceptions sometimes raised by the media or by inaccurate studies must be addressed by providing scientific data and reliable information about plasticizers and their safe use.

Authorization has been recommended for DEHP and DBP on the basis of adequate control; no authorization request has been made for DIBP and BBP, and these substances cannot continue to be used in Europe as of February 2015 for REACH-related applications.

At the end of 2014, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) Member States Committee concluded that DEHP is an endocrine disruptor of equivalent level of concern for its environmental properties. The science on DEHP does not support such a conclusion, as the weight of evidence shows that DEHP does not cause adverse endocrine effects in fish and other aquatic organisms.

All other plasticizers have not been classified for any adverse health effects and do not cause adverse effects by means of an endocrine mechanism. Hence they are not endocrine disruptors. This has been confirmed by the ECHA after a four-year re- evaluation of the hazard and exposure data for two of the most widely used plasticizers, Diisononyl phthalate (DINP) and Diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP), including extensive reproductive and endocrine data.

European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediates (ECPI) Impact of REACh (EU) : Key Safety (Health, Environmental issues related to Plasticizers).

Impact of REACh (EU): Misconception

Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions related to plasticizers – for example, about phthalates “leaching out” and “easily dispersing/gassing out” from PVC products.

This is unlikely to happen unless very abrasive detergents or solvents are used or if the articulates are exposed to extreme conditions for an exceptionally long time. Plasticizers do not readily migrate /leach into the environment from items because they are physically bound within the PVC matrix. If they could readily migrate, flexible PVC would not remain flexible and perform as intended.

Impact of REACh (EU): Misconception

Other misconceptions are linked to indoor air and dust; in this case, it is very important to emphasize that the presence of flexible PVC particles in house dust does not pose any risks to human health. Recent scientific studies have in fact concluded that household dust does not correlate to human exposure levels for phthalates and is not an indicator of indoor air quality.

The new generation Plasticizers must meet the “Increasing challenging Regulatory, Performance and Commercial constraints".

The New Generation Polymer compounds call for safer and greener cable solutions to meet "Innovative building cable solutions to ensure safety, performance and environmental friendliness”.

Wire & Cable Compounds

Wires and Cables are present in our everyday life. Energy and data are transmitted by cables. Polymer compounds used for electrical insulation of conductors and mechanical protection of cable constructions from ignition and flame spread.

Different technologies exist to produce cable compounds. The best choice for a certain case depends on the property profile of final product as well as on the applicable base polymers, the additives and the available compounding and extrusion technology.

  • All types of polyethylene are cross linked like LDPE, LLDPE, HDPE, MDPE.

  • Branch structure is more suitable for cross linking.

  • Cross linking leads to the formation of three dimensional network structure.

  • Cross linking can be done by different process.

New Gen W&C

Dynamic building Market

  • Number of trends are emerging among cable customers often expressed in new expectations and demands.

  • Health and comfort, low environmental impact calls for safer & greener cable solution.

  • Safety especially term of fire performance to protect people building, sustainability-energy-efficiency.

  • Specialised cables and network solutions to meet the growing demands of information rich modern home, while providing new levels of security and comfort.

  • For specific building types, new function like; data centres, security services and storage area networks. In some cases, this involves upgrading to higher grade copper and optical fire cables.

Low Voltage Energy Cables

A full range of standard cables up to 1 kV for lighting, heating, air conditioning, etc., in residential and public buildings, with special sheathing designed to survive in harsh conditions.

LV fire protection cable up to 1 kV (HFFR), prevents fire propagation and low smoke emission.

Low voltage fire resistant cables, allow fire alarms, smoke evection, lightery, sprinkles etc. to continue operating.

Low Temperature Ozone Resistance Cables

Provides: Weathering stability (light, UV), Better Electrical Properties, Low temperature flexibility @ -50°C; finds application in LV insulation & Flexible wires.

Solar Panel Cables

Photovoltaic cables provide reliable, durable links between solar panels and the “inverter” which transforms solar energy into usable AC electricity.

Their halogen-free compounds assure optimum fire protection for rooftop installation.

Elevator Cables

Flat, continuous-length energy and control cables in PVC or halogen-free versions, these cables are delivered in easy-to-install kits.

LV Flat Cables

240-600 V cables provide a backbone into which junction boxes can be attached for quick, flexible and easy installation.

MV Cables

For large collective buildings and those with high energy needs, these 12-20 kV and 20-30 kV PVC cables also come in HFFR versions for fire-protection, and chemically- reticulated polyethylene versions to resist chemical attack and high temperatures.

CCTV Cables

These coaxial cables are used to deliver television and Internet to apartment blocks, hotels and clusters of small homes. A hybrid version combines coax with Cat 5 copper.

CATV Cables

Developed for surveillance and security, can be delivered as a hybrid cable with a coaxial cable for video, plus two conductors for camera command.

LAN Copper Cables

Provides Cat 5e, 6, 6a, 7 and 7a copper cables for horizontal LAN structures, along with connectors, cords, patch panels and all accessories.

LAN Fiber Cables

Used for vertical backbone and campus cabling, KLJ fiber cables can deliver 1 Gbit/s up to 800 m, and 10 Gbit/s up to 550 m with high density and integration of diverse applications. All inside LANs are Low-Smoke, Zero-Halogen (LSZH), while outside fiber is protected against humidity, rodents, extreme cold, etc.

Concluding Remarks

The potentials are as demand growth continues to drive new downstream developments. Export will still be a major requirement.

The Key Issues are Pace of economic recovery; Government enablers for investment and Job Creation.

In the Short Term the trends are Poor industry margins Economic downturn Significant new product additions available.

Mid Term

  • Economic recovery to trend levels in the 2-3 year window?

  • Proliferation of downstream specialty chemicals.

  • Success of future government measures starting to pay off.

The Future outlook for the longer term is still positive, although short-term difficulties still remain.

In the long term the fundamentals remain in place; strong growth.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein has been presented on request. The same is based on data that KLJ believes to be reliable. KLJ makes no claim about the completeness or accuracy thereof and assumes no liability resulting from its use or for any other claim, losses, or damages of any third party. Recipients receiving this information must exercise their own judgment regarding the correctness and appropriateness of its use and it is the user's responsibility to assess the information's suitability (including safety) for a particular purpose prior to such use.

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