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The demand for materials with high fire resistance has led to the adoption of compounds such as HFFR (Halogen Free Flame Retardant), especially in cables intended for outdoor environments. Delta Tecnic, a leader in innovation in masterbatch for cables, has developed a safe and reliable solution for the manufacture of HFFR outer sheaths.

Traditionally, the addition of carbon black to plastic compounds for outdoor cable sheaths has been the solution adopted by the industry when it comes to XLPE, TPU and PVC, to protect the sheath from UV light rays.  

Delta Tecnic Revolutionizes HFFR Covers with its UV Protection Masterbatch

In the case of sheaths with HFFR compounds, this solution has always been a handicap, since these amounts of carbon black, despite protecting the polymer, worsen the mechanical properties in this type of compound, which due to its formulation with high percentages of fireproof fillers are at the very limit in terms of mechanical properties.

However, Delta Tecnic has overcome this obstacle with an innovative approach: The company has a masterbatch that incorporates a smaller amount of carbon black, accompanied by ultraviolet filter additives to protect the polymer against the damaging effects of the sun. This solution allows the cable to maintain excellent performance outdoors, while minimising the impact on its mechanical properties.

Most impressively, this innovation not only ensures superior performance, but also keeps the cost of the cable at competitive levels. This masterbatch is dosed at just 2%, making it a cost-effective and efficient option for cable manufacturers.

Manuel Miret, Area Manager & New Product Developer at Delta Tecnic states: “We have been offering this innovation for more than five years, and the results speak for themselves: excellent acceptance and superior performance compared to standard solutions.”

Optimising dosage: the Delta Tecnic approach

According to Delta Tecnic, in the manufacturing process of a cable jacket, it is crucial to ensure adequate protection of the polymer used. The addition of carbon black plays a fundamental role in this aspect. However, achieving the precise proportion of carbon black can be a challenge.

When a specific carbon black content is required, such as 2.5% in a polymer filler, it is essential to understand how to properly dose the masterbatch. If starting from a masterbatch containing 40% carbon black, the dosage must be adjusted to 6.25% to achieve the necessary concentration in the cable sheath. This precise dosage process is critical to ensuring the integrity of the material and its ability to effectively resist fire.

Fire containment and prevention

The importance of cables in the fire safety of buildings is a factor that cannot be underestimated. These elements not only provide electrical connectivity, but also play a critical role in containing and preventing the spread of fire within a structure. In buildings with high public attendance, such as hospitals or shopping centres, regulations require compliance with strict requirements to ensure that cables do not contribute to the spread of fire.

The CPR regulations at European level establish standards to evaluate the behaviour of plastics used in cables when exposed to fire. One of the key requirements is that the cables must not drip when burned, which implies the need to incorporate significant quantities of flame retardants in their composition. However, this need for flame retardant products can compromise other performance requirements, such as the mechanical properties of the material.

This is where Delta Tecnic’s innovation makes the difference. By developing a masterbatch with a lower amount of carbon black and UV filter additives, the company manages to maintain an optimal balance between fire resistance and mechanical properties. Therefore, this solution not only meets rigorous fire safety standards, but also ensures reliable and long-lasting performance of the cable in outdoor environments.