Unmarked Chinese cable fails copper content test

Sep 9, 2015 | Cables and Accessories

The Approved Cables Initiative (ACI) is reminding distributors of the importance of re-testing imported cable following the supply of a number of non-compliant Chinese cables to the UK. 
 
Earlier this year 85,000m of substandard rubber and TQ flexible cables from the Wasung Electric Cable Company in China, a subsidiary of the LongZ Group, were supplied to Doncaster Cables.
 
As Doncaster Cables doesn’t manufacture rubber cables, it sources these products from reputable and accredited manufacturers, usually within Europe, to complement its range of UK manufactured cables. On this occasion Doncaster Cables contacted the LongZ Group to quote for the supply of several sizes of rubber flexible cords. Requested samples were received and tested by Doncaster Cables’ in-house test laboratory and were found to be in accordance with the required specifications.
 
Placing an order with LongZ Group for nine different cables, Doncaster clearly stated that the required cables must fully comply with relevant British and European Standards, should carry the CE mark (in accordance with the Low Voltage Directive (LVD)) and be accompanied by certificates of conformity.
 
While the accompanying packing list and invoice for the ordered cable clearly stated the correct H05RR-F reference numbers and specific conductor sizes, when tested, in accordance with Doncaster Cables’ usual procedures, they all failed due to high resistance and in some cases sticking cores because of uncured rubber insulation.
 
Details of Doncaster Cables’ test reports were sent to LongZ Group where, upon receipt, the CEO expressed surprise at the findings and said that these cables were sold into the UK and throughout Europe on a regular basis without any problems.
 
Once notified the ACI commissioned further independent testing on the cables’ compliance with the required standards. Again all cables failed to meet the requirements of British and European Standards due to high conductor resistance. The cables also had issues with strippability and carried incorrect cable markings with no manufacturer’s identification or country of origin on the cable or labelling. 
 
The ACI has also now written to LongZ Group informing the CEO of its findings and asking for a response, but has yet to receive a reply.
 
The ACI commented, “In this instance, Doncaster Cables has followed a strict checking procedure which ensured that these cables haven’t been made available for installation in UK buildings, although it appears that this may not be the first time these cable have been supplied to the UK. 
 
“Unfortunately not all importers and distributors follow the same preventative measures hence the reason why we are also reminding contractors and installers of the importance of checking what has been specified against what you are actually installing. Had these cables been tested to BASEC criteria they would have been classed as ‘Recall’.”
 
The ACI is taking this case up with Trading Standards and BIS and will inform insurers, fire authorities, LABC and other UK and EU cable manufacturers of its findings.