Naperlou: In some cases, yes that is true, where plastics are recycled by melting them down. However, when it comes to wire and cable, plastic insulations cannot be broken down in the same way and reused all while maintaining their same electrical and physical properties. Thus, they get disposed of and release toxic chemicals and gases. This is where MPPE insulation gets a leg-up on standard PVC insulation. MPPE can be ground and reused several times without the need to add new material, and still maintains its inherent electrical properties in the process. Thus making it truly recyclable and better for the environment.
Tim, generally recycling of plastics involves melting them down. Often they are then used in other types of products. I would assume that the melting process would take care of the bio-hazard situation.
Any way what will be the cost factor of this cables, is it competitive enough to compete with the others, anyway when it comes to medical equipment cost factor is not a big issue. But if it is competitive these can be use other electrical devices also.
@apresher- You're somewhat correct. Most machine builders could care less about the environmentally-friendly attributes. However, the finer stranding and flexibility aren't exclusive to the EcoFlex product; these are common in PVC product as well. The size & weight savings are far & away the biggest differentiator for MPPE products to machine builders (and most customers). Now, I said you're somewhat correct because the smaller OD does make it more flexible than PVC (as flexibility is measured as a multiple of OD, and this has a smaller OD).
I should also add that in certain industries, such as Semiconductor Fabrication Equipment, the low outgassing is extremely valuable, as it doesn't emit a toxic gas that can damage the wafer. Semi equip't manufacturers have been designing around this for years (since they primarily use PVC cable).
Most residential and commercial wiring is #14-#10 gauge, where all the wiring devices are set up to use solid wire. Connecting solid to stranded with a wire nut (as in ceiling fixtures) can be problematic, and the finer the strands the likelier it is that the strands simply wrap around the solid wire and the nut around the fine strands, with nothing to bite into the solid wire and keep the nut and stranded wire from slipping off. Switches, outlets, and other devices that use a simple screw with the wire looped around them, are very difficult, and probably illegal, to use with stranded wire, so a whole new set of wiring devices would need to be developed. Furthermore when using conduit of reasonably short lenghts, it's common to push the wire through directly, without using a fish tape or other pulling device. This is reasonably easy with solid THHN wire, with it's stiffness and slick overcoat, but would be next to impossible with stranded wire, especially wire that is especially flexible.
Note also that the codes specify the maximum number of wires allowed in a conduit based on the AWG of the wire and the current, because the limitation is one of heating rather than physical packing density, so if a conduit was currently packed to the maximum allowed using THHN, the thinner insulation of this new wire would not allow an electrician to put even more wires in that conduit.
I don't see any kind of flexible wire replacing TNNH or NM cable. Where it would be very useful is in control cabinets of industrial equipment where space is at a premium and tight bends are required. Most newer industrial control devices come with terminals that will work easily with stranded wire. That's a lot smaller niche than building wiring, but also a more valuable one if it saves installation time.
The improved wire insulation would also be useful for residential and commercial building wiring by allowing easier pull-through, more conductors in a given sized electrical box, etc. Do all you can to bring the costs down.
Charles- It is definitely not limited to medical devices. That was merely the focus of this article, since we are trying to gain market share in the medical industry.
To be honest, we expect to sell a lot more to Industrial Machine builders, particularly with the EcoFlex product. EcoFlex has finer stranding and is very supple and flexible (hence its name). We are marketing it as a smaller/better/eco-friendlier version of the OLFLEX 190.
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