The Communications Cable and Connectivity Association, Inc. (CCCA), Washington, D.C., recently applauded action by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Northbrook, Ill., to stem the flow of non-compliant communications cable being imported into the North American market. UL has taken strong actions to maintain the integrity of its UL Mark and cable performance certifications by publicly identifying manufacturers and their distributors who are supplying substandard and unsafe cable products into the market. In addition, UL has established further initiatives to verify the integrity of UL listed cables through detailed analytical testing of cable component materials and new marketplace surveillance. These efforts by UL are, in part, a result of CCCA sharing information and encouraging each of the two independent testing/certification agencies to develop stronger measures to assure compliance to national fire safety codes and telecommunications industry standards for transmission performance.
"CCCA is pleased to have been an important contributor to UL’s development of improved, tougher quality assurance procedures that led to this significant and decisive action. UL is to be commended for its industry leadership and for being the first testing agency to take additional steps to protect users from poor quality as well as the serious fire safety hazards from non-compliant cable being imported into North America,” says Frank Peri, CCCA's executive director.
An independent research program, started by CCCA in 2008, showed that some cable brands entering the North American market from offshore manufacturers seriously failed flame and smoke tests required by the NFPA and appeared to be manufactured using inferior materials. The hidden placement of these communications cables within building infrastructure makes their flame and smoke characteristics particularly critical because combustion would not be evident to inhabitants until after the fire had significantly progressed. Also, communications cables that fail to meet minimum standards for physical and transmission performance can, in some cases, result in network failures and lost productivity. Replacing substandard cable is extremely costly because of the cost of new cable and the intensive labor needed to re-route cables in crowded and difficult to access building pathways and spaces.
“Several of our CCCA member companies should also be acknowledged for their individual and ongoing support of UL through educational events such as UL’s Wire & Cable Materials Symposium 2010, conducted in Dongguan, China, in June for the region’s cable manufacturers," says Peri. "These CCCA members included AlphaGary, Daikin America, DuPont, and Solvay Solexis. They volunteered considerable time and resources to support CCCA and UL in preserving the quality and integrity of the structured cabling industry.”