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[ Spotlight: Counterfeit cable ] How to check

The Approved Cables Initiative is addressing the issue of unsafe, non-approved and counterfeit cable entering the UK marketplace. If you have information or concerns about a suspected faulty or counterfeit cable, the organisation will test samples – and, if they are found to be unsafe, details will be passed to relevant industry regulators and legislators. The ACI can also provide guidance, where appropriate, to installers.

The Approved Cables Initiative can be contacted on 0208 946 6978/07973 636688 or email For further information about the ACI campaign, visit

Supply chain awareness Knowing what to look for and how to check is key in winning the counterfeit cable battle, and a major issue is the route to market. In the UK, some unscrupulous importers are not complying with their legal duties under UK regulations, and dangerous cable – often fraudulently marked or completely unmarked – is finding its way into our supply chain. It is then sold on to installers and end users through cable distributors and wholesalers. Unsafe, non-approved cables will often have copper

Case study: Atlas Kablo

After attending the launch of the Approved Cables Initiative (ACI), UK Cables contacted the organisation over concerns it had following a routine physical inspection of a cabling order from Turkish cable manufacturer Atlas Kablo.

The ACI, on receipt of the cable samples, tested

them and found that they all had insufficient copper, leading to high conductor resistance – which meant that they did not comply with appropriate British Standards. Most samples tested failed on conductor resistance values; the range of products tested showed that some cables contained only 50 per cent of the specified copper, for example 1.5sqmm was actually 0.8sqmm.

Independent testing by BASEC later confirmed the ACI’s findings and led to the suspension and eventual cancellation of Atlas Kablo’s BASEC product certification licence, for a serious decline in quality across a range of products.

conductors that are undersized, with low conductivity, non-fire-resistant sheathing, or insufficient or poor quality armouring. Counterfeit cables have also been found to have copper-coated steel or aluminium conductors in place of copper, posing a serious risk of electric shock or fire if overloaded. Some cables will carry no markings at all but many are

fraudulently marked, showing standards and approvals to which they have no claim, and are clearly intended to mislead the distributor, wholesaler and installer. Unmarked cable, with no manufacturer’s name or

details, should ring alarm bells. There is no traceability with such products, so it is impossible to take action if an issue arises. All unmarked cable tested by the ACI to date has failed against the relevant standard – a 100per cent failure rate. Frankly anyone who buys unmarked cables is a fool – but anyone who installs unmarked cable is a dangerous fool. Fraudulent markings present a particular challenge, as

it is often difficult to tell that a cable is not manufactured to the appropriate standard for its use merely by looking at it. So much so, that many organisations throughout the supply chain are not even aware of the seriousness of the problem.

Creating awareness There can be no excuses for cutting corners and taking risks when it comes to cable choice – and, by following sensible steps, the ACI believes that the problems caused by substandard cables can be minimised. For instance, it is important for all in the electrical supply

chain to routinely check cable markings and cable reels to look in particular for a manufacturer’s identification that they recognise. If there is a problem, it will help trace

Frankly, anyone who buys unmarked cables is a fool – but anyone who installs unmarked cable is a dangerous fool

Autumn 2010 ECA Today 29

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