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The Cabling Industry Invests In People’s Safety

Posted by Koen ter Linde on April 12, 2017

CPR_SmallWhen building or decorating our homes, we want to make sure materials such as curtains, carpet or furniture fabrics are safe.  Checking the flammability of those items is highly advisable, given that our loved ones’ safety is at stake. However, we spend our time in other places too: the office, concert halls, public buildings, schools and hospitals.  But how do we know all construction products have properly been selected?

To address this, the European regulators introduced the Construction Product Directive (CPD) to classify fire safety in 1989, which later became the Construction Product Regulation (CPR) in 2011.

As an EU Regulation, the CPR is directly applicable in all EU countries. The classification of the reaction to fire of all construction products including copper and fiber communications cables was published in 2016 and the final mandatory date to establish CE marking of cables is 1 July 2017. All cables manufactured on this date and beyond must have a CE marking on the packaging label, meaning the product meets health and safety standards required for commercial use.

There are seven Euroclasses: Aca, B1ca, B2ca, Cca, Dca, Eca and Fca, with Aca having the highest performance and Fca having the lowest.  Euroclass Eca cables meet the minimum requirement of EN 60332-1-2. Read the CommScope white paper on CPR to find out which fire test standards each of the Euroclasses refers to.

An entity as diverse as the EU could not make the requirements consistent across the entire continent. In turn, each member country can adopt whichever Euroclass the country deems suitable. However, the following philosophy currently applies: 

(a)    If national regulations exist, they have to be adjusted to match the CPR.

(b)   If national regulations do not exist, there is no requirement to institute them. 

(c)    The CPR may be directly applicable to certain applications such as public transport tunnels irrelevant of condition (b).

Simply put, different EU countries may require cables with different Euroclassification for use in the same installation environment. For example, some countries may require Euroclass B2ca cables to be installed in hospitals whereas other countries may accept Euroclass Cca cables.

It’s important to highlight that, since the CPR only applies to power and communications cables permanently installed in buildings, patch cords and work area cords are excluded from the regulation. 

To allow easy identification, every product brought to the EU market has to carry the adequate CE label with reference to the applicable Euroclass.  

However, nothing is free and safety will be no less; it is highly likely that the CPR will increase the testing and manufacturing cost of communication cables, especially for the higher Euroclasses.

Our customers can rest assured. CommScope manufacturing facilities serving the European market have been audited and approved by Notified Bodies. Also, CommScope has carried out extensive testing with multiple Notified Bodies for several years and we can confirm CommScope will have completed testing of all our cables ahead of the July 1st deadline.  CommScope will be ready to provide the proper Declarations of Performance for our cable products prior to that date.

About the Author

Koen ter Linde--thumb-rev

Koen ter Linde

As the vice president of sales Europe for the CommScope Enterprise Solutions Division, Koen is responsible for driving sales within the enterprise arena as well as the development and execution of the strategy and programs for both sales and channel operations in Europe. Koen is ultimately responsible for helping enterprise organizations to strategically plan for the future, ensuring that the network infrastructure they install will handle the emerging applications and demands of their future business needs. Koen has almost 15 years industry experience and since joining AT&T in 1996 Koen has held key positions in marketing, before moving to Atlanta, USA to work at Lucent Technologies Network Products HQ, as market manager EMEA in 1997. He returned to the Netherlands in 2000 to head up Lucent Technologies’  SYSTIMAX enterprise market as sales director Netherlands, before becoming managing director Northern Europe for the Connectivity Solutions division under Avaya in 2001. The following year Koen was given responsibility for the Western European region after the acquisition of the SYSTIMAX business from Avaya by CommScope in 2004. Prior to joining AT&T he held a number of sales and marketing roles in Philips Netherlands and Bayer Germany. In addition to his business and finance qualifications, Koen holds a bachelor of economics degree in international business and management from HAN University in Arnhem, the Netherlands.

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