Shipboard Cable Buying Guide
Shipboard cables refer to the cables used on board ships. There is a great variety of shipboard cables designed for different applications on ships, from power to lighting to communication. These cables can withstand the conditions onboard ships better than other types of cables.
The marine environment is challenging for electric structures and calls for greater safety and efficiency. They need to be lightweight as to not add weight to the vessel. They should also be flame retardant, low smoke and halogen free.
What is Shipboard Cable?
A shipboard cable is the one exclusively designed for application in ships and commercial vessels. You will find these cables on navy vessels, boats, ocean drilling rigs, cruise ships, etc. Some are more general-purpose, while others are for specific purposes only.
These are also used in offshore platforms, mainly for electric power distribution. These may help with power, communication, lighting, and instruments onboard. The reasons why they are ideal for use onboard ships and vessels are that these are halogen-free, flame-resistant/retardant, and with low smoke emissions.
There are myriads of shipboard cable configurations and standards. It comes down to your use as to which type of shipboard cable is best for that.
Shipboard Cable Standards
When it comes to buying cables of any kind, it’s imperative to buy only those that meet marine industry standards. Now, there are many bodies that standardize cables and other electrical equipment. For shipboard cables, there are mainly two standards to consider.
IEC 60092: The IEC 60092 is the International Electrotechnical Commission’s standard for marine shipboard cables. Under the IEC 60092, there are several other classifications, with three more digits after 60092 representing each of them.
For instance, IEC 60092-350 standard cables meet general constructional requirements. These have a voltage rating of up to 18/30(36)kV. This standard excludes coaxial and fiber optic cables used for telecommunication.
JIS C 3410: Japanese Industrial Standards or JIS are the standards set by the Japanese Industrial Standards Committee (JISC). For shipboard cables, their standard is JIS C 3410. This standard specifies cables designed for electrical installations on the ship.
JIS standards are updated frequently. The JIS C 3410 standard was last updated in 2018. This standard encompasses all cables and flexible cords for electrical equipment on ships.
Shipboard Cable Structure
The main structure of the shipboard cables is essentially the same. However, variations in the materials and the structure do exist. That has an impact on the applications they serve.
Here is what you need to know about the basic structure of a shipboard cable:
Conductor: The conductor in shipboard cables is a tinned copper wire. This copper tinned wire is typically for Class 2 and Class 5 circuits.
Insulation: Insulation, much like any other cable, plays an very important role in protecting the conductor and ensuring a smooth flow of current. Shipboard cables typically use XLPE or EPR for insulation. Each type offers its unique benefits, but both are suitable for high voltage applications.
Inner Sheath: The inner sheath provides the first line of defense for the internal conductor and insulation. It can be of any of the following materials:
- PO (SHF1 and SHF2)
Armor: Shipboard cables are armored cables. These are either Galvanized Steel Wire Braid (GWSB) or Tinned Copper Wire Braid (TCWB).
Outer Sheath: The sheath is what provides the ultimate protection to the cable. It also determines it’s flexibility as a very firm sheath can make the cable less bendable. In shipping cables, you’ll mostly find PO (SHF1 and SHF2) and PVC outer sheath.
What is the Difference Between SHF1 and SHF2?
SHF1 and SHF2 are NEK 606 standards for sheaths that provide protection for the cable’s inner structure. The main difference between SHF1 and SHF2 is of hardness, as SHF1 is harder and less flexible than SHF2.
SHF1 sheath would be appropriate for cables used indoors on a ship or offshore stations. On the other hand, the flexibility of SHF2 makes it good for outdoor applications on offshore platforms and ships.
As such, both SHF1 and SHF2 have halogen-free thermoplastics and cause minimal smoke emission.
Shipboard Cable Certificates
Cable certificates help identify reliable shipboard cable manufacturers. There are many different bodies around the world that provide marine cable type approval certifications. Some cable companies may have multiple certificates for their cables, while some may only have one or two.
Much like the standards, these certificates ensure that the cables you are using meet specific safety and quality requirements. The certifications to look for in shipboard cables include:
- American Bureau of Shipping (ABS)
- Bureau Veritas (BV)
- Lloyd’s Register (LR)
- Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (NK)
Shipboard Cable Features
There are certain distinguishing features in all shipboard cables that make them unique for electrical installation on board ships, vessels, and offshore platforms.
Shipboard cables have halogen-free, which makes them safer in case of a fire. The halogens can produce hazardous acids and gases when in contact with other chemicals. The IEC 60754-1, 2 standards specify zero-halogen cables, which shipboard cables of IEC 60092 by default meet.
Low Smoke Emission
Shipboard cables are made from PO (SHF1 & SHF2) sheaths that have low smoke emissions. In case of a fire, these materials will not readily burn and produce smoke. The IEC 61034-1, 2 standards identify this particular feature, which typically all quality shipboard cables meet.
Shipboard cables are fire-resistant and maintain the integrity of the circuits for a certain period of time when there is a fire. IEC 60331 defines the testing standard for such cables, which uses temperatures up to 830 degrees.
As shipping cables use flame-retardant materials, they reduce the propagation of fire. They are usually added as copolymers to the plastics used in the sheaths of these cables. The IEC 60332-3-22 standard indicates flame-retardant material in cables.
Shipboard cables serve an important purpose in many industries, especially shipping, oil, and telecommunication. These cables are in some of the toughest conditions a cable can get. From saltwater to high impact, they need withstand many environmental factors.
Choosing high-quality shipboard cable is the only way to ensure they serve their purpose. For that, it’s imperative that one only get certified and standardized cables from reliable shipboard cable manufacturers. Jiangsu Yuanyang Cable, as the NO. 1 marine shipboard cable manufacturer in China, is worthy of your trust.