Poor-quality cable is a 'hidden danger'

Poor-quality cable with less copper hard to detect on appearance alone

AEI Cables commercial director Clive Sharp.
AEI Cables commercial director Clive Sharp.

Poor-quality cable is a hidden danger that is “difficult to detect on appearance alone,” says AEI Cables commercial director Clive Sharp.

“We have discussed this issue with many customers, who tell us they need information to guide them away from the dangers of purchasing or installing faulty cables.

"We are therefore providing a range of online materials to help them further understand this issue before they make important purchasing decisions,” said Sharp.


“As raw materials reach record price levels, some manufacturers are cutting corners and using less copper. There is very often a high price to pay for installing faulty cable either through injury or in having to retrofit.”

More than 27% of all electrical fires are attributed to faulty wire and cables. In the past five years alone, there have been 1,200 non-fatal injuries and 15 fatalities.

Common issues emerging in the marketplace include undersized conductors, wrong-size armour wires, no identification on the sheath of the cable manufacturer and false or misleading information on the cable, labels and packaging.

AEI is advising its customers of a number of steps they can take to prevent the purchase of faulty cables. Through its web-based ‘Setting the Standards’ initiative, it is offering practical information in how to avoid purchasing faulty cables in the first place and measures that can be taken by the contractor particularly.

“When cables are purchased, they should bear a recognised manufacturer’s name, the cable standard should be quoted and the cable should be independently third-party tested.

"The number and cross-sectional area of the cores should be clearly stated, along with the voltage rating. There should also be a clearly-marked, industry-standard cable reference number,” said Sharp.

“It is crucial to check that the materials delivered to site correspond with the order. There is evidence emerging that this is often not the case. It is good practice, and could potentially safeguard an individual’s position in the event of faulty cable being discovered, if records of purchase are retained,” he concluded.

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