02/02/2010

RS Introduces EcoWire

RS Components announced the introduction of Alpha Wire’s new environmentally-friendly hook-up wire, EcoWire™.

EcoWire achieves expanded functionality over standard PVC-based hook-up wire with insulation that is fully recyclable. Using a modified polyphenylene ether (mPPE) thermoplastic that is inherently lighter, tougher and more durable than PVC, EcoWire is non-halogenic and contains no heavy metal pigments. The result is UL-approved AWM wire that helps manufacturers meet Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) requirements.

While PVC insulation is currently a mainstay of the wire and cable industry because of its mechanical and electrical properties and low cost, it presents environmental concerns. PVC is a halogen-containing material that emits toxic gases, toxic smoke, and toxic acids when burned that are hazardous to health and equipment. Newer materials, principally low-smoke, zero-halogen (LSZH) plastics emit no dangerous gases or smokes when burned. The drawback to LSZH is that it cannot be conveniently recycled and reused. Like PVC, it will sit in a landfill for centuries.

Alpha Wire’s new EcoWire hook-up wires use flexible Noryl insulation to provide an environmentally-friendly alternative to PVC. Noryl is a modified polyphenylene ether (mPPE) thermoplastic that is inherently lighter, tougher and more flame resistant than PVC. As a replacement for PVC, mPPE offers many advantages including:

• Environmentally friendly: mPPE contains no halogens, phthalates, or heavy metals. It meets RoHS and WEEE requirements.

• Better dielectric strength: mPPE offers a reduced wall thickness while maintaining the same electrical properties as PVC. The diameter of equivalent wires can be 25% smaller with mPPE.

• Low specific gravity: The 1.03 specific gravity of mPPE is 25 to 40% lower than other insulation materials, such as PVC, polyethylene, and cross-linked polyethylene. Along with the reduced wall thickness, the low specific gravity yields significant weight savings of around 25%.

• Durability: Even with the thinner walls, mPPE offers 10x better abrasion and pinch resistance than PVC.

• Flame resistance: mPPE offers the same high flammability rating as PVC, meeting UL VW-1.

• Good temperature range: Wires and cable with mPPE insulation meet UL 1581 requirements for operation at 80°C and 105°C. With a higher temperature range than PVC, mPPE does not require such secondary processing operations as is required with cross-linked polyethylene.

• Recyclable: mPPE is a thermoplastic much more easily recycled because it does not contain the hazardous materials.

• Approved by UL: Underwriters Laboratories has approved mPPE as a suitable insulation for over fifty AWM cable styles, so it can be confidently applied when a tough, compact, and non-halogenated wire or cable is required.

James Howarth, Product Manager at RS Components commented: “We are delighted to have added Alpha Wire’s new green EcoWire range to our offer. Customers committed to reducing their environmental impact will benefit from the recyclable properties of EcoWire as well as customers looking for enhanced performance through applications requiring a thinner, more durable wire.”

The initial EcoWire offering available from RS is a UL AWM 11028 hook-up wire in sizes from 28AWG (0.07mm²) to 10AWG (5.37mm²) in a variety of colours.