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Company Claims Flaws in New Standards

Ellis Patents has urged caution over the recent introduction of the new International Standard for the use of cable cleats in electrical installations (IEC61914 – 2009), saying that it fails to highlight the need for compulsory third party certification of products.

The company, which is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of cable cleats, claims that the new standard, although very welcome, doesn’t go far enough to stamp out the significant problems caused by cleats not being adequately tested prior to being brought to market.

Managing director, Richard Shaw said, “No matter where you are in the world, wiring regulations stipulate that cables must be restrained to withstand the forces they will see in service, including short-circuit forces, and that is exactly what cable cleats are designed to do. Therefore, it stands to reason that any cleat should be thoroughly tested to ensure it has the capability to do this, and the only way doing this is through third-party short-circuit testing to the current standard.

“Worryingly, this isn’t the norm. Yes, many manufacturers claim specific short-circuit withstand for their products, even referring to short-circuit tests, but few have carried out any testing to the European Standard that was introduced in 2003. Instead we have a mixture of products that are tested in a variety of different ways, meaning it is nigh on impossible for customers to judge how they compare.

“The International Standard can be used to tackle this issue but it means that the onus is very much on the customer. The validity of manufacturer’s claims must be questioned to ensure the products being specified can be proved to be compliant and therefore suitable for any given installation.

“The questions that need to be asked are simple. Can the product being offered withstand the forces that will be generated by the specific system in the event of a fault? Can documentary third party evidence to today’s recognised standard be provided to prove it?”

Ellis Patents tests all of its products against the current standards prior to bringing them to market and Richard Shaw feels that an industry-wide adoption of such a policy would quickly resolve all the issues currently related to cable cleats and their correct usage / specification.

“Cable cleats are frequently underestimated and the main reason for this is that there are no firm boundaries as to what is and what isn’t suitable. As a result, the market consists of a real mixed bag of products of varying quality and so it comes as little surprise that cleats are frequently lumped in with the electrical sundries and seen as fair game when it comes to cutting costs in order to keep within tight budgets.

“What tends to be forgotten is that all an underspecified cleat would do in a short-circuit scenario is add to the shrapnel.

“The new international standard provides the best opportunity yet to highlight the sheer importance of cable cleats and resolve the associated safety issues, and it would be a shame if its introduction was not seized upon by the manufacturers to ensure the end to un-safe cleating practice.”

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Electrical Products