Steel Wire Armoured (SWA) Cable is a strengthened, weatherproof cable ordinarily constructed with Plain Annealed Stranded Copper within the cores, Armouring made from Aluminium in Single Core Cable or Steel for multi-core cable and a PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) Sheathing and Bedding.
As the Cable has armoured protecting the insulating layers within, it is mechanically protected making it damage-proof enough for use in highly corrosive environments and outdoor areas. The Armouring also means the cable is suitable for direct burial beneath roads and buildings as well giving the cable itself a higher pulling load.
Also available is a type of Armoured Cable called LSF. LSF is an abbreviation for Low Smoke & Fume. This means that the Sheathing of the cable is made from a material that doesn’t let off smoke or toxic fumes during the event of a fire.
If you are looking to use the cable to power devices installed up high or on the rooftop of a building, Armoured Cable Cleats are also available as to suit this requirement. Also, as the Cable is suitable and will probably be mainly used for Direct Burial, Warning Tape is available used for alerting workers digging in the area that there is Armoured Cable below, as to abide by Health & Safety regulations.
Armoured Cable is commonly found in 2 variants of voltages; 11kV and 33kV. 11kV is constructed as previously mentioned (Copper Strands within the Cores, XLPE Insulation, Armouring made from Aluminium or Steel and PVC Bedding & Sheathing) but includes a metallic screen made from copper tape between the Cross-Linked Polyethylene Insulation and Steel or Aluminium Armouring, in accordance to whether the cable is single or multi-core. It is also made with a Polyethylene Terephthalate Filler and a Separator made from Binding Tape.
Where 2 Core Armoured Cable is concerned, as it only contains a Live and Neutral Core, it requires a separate Earth Cable whereas 3 Core and above includes the Earth Core, relinquishing the need to purchase one separately. The Armour surrounding the cable can be used an earth when using 2 Core, but it is highly discouraged as there is still a good chance that the area surrounding the cable could become live if the cable fails in any way.
The Insulation made from Cross-Linked Polyethylene is very good at protecting the cable against hazardous chemicals and corrosive materials while also helping with thermal stability. If the environment that the cable is being installed into happens to be corrosive to a substantial extent, such as arctic or extremely hot, desert-like conditions, a certain variant of Sheathing may be required to ensure safe operation.
SWA Cable is commonly used in a variety of different installations, covering a vast array of industries. As well as being found being used on Building Sites, Railway Lines & other Transport Industry-related locations that require a constant power source. The Cable is also common among Panel builders and within automation systems, as well as in Cable Ducting installed into ceilings of warehouses and factories.
Although Armoured Cable is primarily used in Industrial locations and applications, it is also found commonly powering installations within domestic households, such as outdoor lighting, hot tubs as well as grand water features. As with all armoured cable installations, the size of the cable required is dictated by the voltage amount being put through it as well as the length that is being used. Ensure that an electrician or industry professional has checked and confirmed the size of cable that is required for a specific job, as using the wrong size cable (especially when using cable that is too small to support the voltage) could create an extreme health & safety hazard.
As previously stated, SWA Cable is reinforced with Steel/Aluminium Wire Armour meaning it is weatherproof making it suitable for underground applications. Underground Train systems use Armoured Cable for this very reason, as well as a variety of other companies and industries that need to run something that is far away from a source of electricity. Depending on the installation’s location, LSF Cable may be required. As mentioned before, LSF Cable is a Low Smoke & Fume variant of Armoured Cable which is primarily used in industries where the health of the people within it are priority such as a hospital or school. Specific LSF Armoured Gland Packs and Cleats are available to ensure that not only the cable is Low Smoke & Fume, but also all accessories attached to the cable.
As well as powering buildings, Armoured Cable can also be found carrying various currents and voltages via pylons to provide for households and domestic buildings.
Single and Three Phase circuits are also where you’ll find Steel Wire Armoured Cable. Single and Three Phase Circuits require 2 and 3 Core Cable respectively, whereas 3 Core can also be used with Three Phase Circuits as well as 4 Core. 5 Core is commonly found on Three Phase Circuits including Neutrals and Earths.
One thing to bear in mind with Core Amount is Magnetic Fields. When using Single Core, Aluminium Wire Armoured Cable, a magnetic field is created corresponding with the amount of voltage being run on the cable. This is perfectly acceptable when using Single Core Cable but when using multi-core cable, the magnetic field can increase the risk of the cable itself overheating, which could be a cause of fire due to the high magnetic field being created.
Steel Wire Armoured Cable can be identified by a large variety of names including the following:-
- Armoured Cable
- Mains or Power Cable
- Electrical Cable
Always make sure that the cable you are being supplied is being referred to by one of these names. This ensures that you are actually getting the right type of cable, not an alternative that may be required for a different application.
Below are some Technical Specifications when regarding Armoured/Steel Wire Armoured Cable:-
British Standards for Armoured Cable: BS5467
Sheathing Colour on outer part of Cable: Black
Safe Running Temperatures for Cable: 0°C to + 90°C
Core Colour Coding Specifications: Single Core – Brown or Blue
Two Core – Brown and Blue
Three Core – Brown, Black & Grey
Four Core – Blue, Brown, Black & Grey
Five Core – Green/Yellow (Earth), Blue, Brown, Black & Grey
Bending Radiuses – 1.5mm – 16mm: 6 x overall diameter of Cable
25mm and over: 8 x overall diameter of Cable.
Electrical Trader offers a large range of sizes and types of Armoured Cable, ensuring there is a size and type to suit any application. If you require a certain type and cannot see it among the range on the website, please feel free to give our Sales Team a call on 01244 288138 for further information on Armoured Cable.
Electrical Trader is located on Zone 1 of Deeside Industrial Estate near Chester, so if a pick up for Armoured Cable would be more suitable than having the cable delivered, please feel free to arrange one.
Quickbit offer a fast and reliable delivery service available for just £5.95 or free on orders over £100, excluding VAT.
Steel Wire Armoured Cable made of great quality materials, available for the best prices online with a large range of accessories and related products available.