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RS Components has introduced Ecowire, Alpha Wire’s new environmentally friendly hook-up wire.

Ecowire achieves expanded functionality over standard PVC-based hook-up wire with insulation that is fully recyclable.

Using a modified polyphenylene ether (mPPE) thermoplastic that is inherently lighter, tougher and more durable than PVC, Ecowire is non-halogenic and does not contain any heavy metal pigments.

The result is UL-approved AWM wire that helps manufacturers meet Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) requirements.

While PVC insulation is currently a mainstay of the wire and cable industry because of its mechanical and electrical properties and low cost, it presents environmental concerns.

PVC is a halogen-containing material that emits toxic gases, toxic smoke and toxic acids when burned that are hazardous to health and equipment.

Newer materials, principally low-smoke, zero-halogen (LSZH) plastics, emit no dangerous gases or smoke when burned.

The drawback to LSZH is that it cannot be conveniently recycled and reused.

Like PVC, it will sit in a landfill for centuries.

Alpha Wire’s new Ecowire hook-up wires use flexible Noryl insulation to provide an environmentally friendly alternative to PVC.

Noryl is an mPPE thermoplastic that is inherently lighter, tougher and more flame resistant than PVC.

As a replacement for PVC, mPPE contains no halogens, phthalates or heavy metals and it meets RoHS and WEEE requirements.

It also offers a reduced wall thickness while maintaining the same electrical properties as PVC.

The diameter of equivalent wires can be 25 per cent smaller with mPPE.

The 1.03 specific gravity of mPPE is 25 per cent to 40 per cent lower than other insulation materials, such as PVC, polyethylene and cross-linked polyethylene.

Along with the reduced wall thickness, the low specific gravity yields weight savings of around 25 per cent.

Even with the thinner walls, mPPE offers 10 times better abrasion and pinch resistance than PVC, according to RS.

In terms of flame resistance, mPPE offers the same high flammability rating as PVC, meeting UL VW-1.

Wires and cable with mPPE insulation meet UL 1581 requirements for operation at 80C and 105C.

With a higher temperature range than PVC, mPPE does not require such secondary processing operations as those required with cross-linked polyethylene.

The mPPE thermoplastic is more easily recycled because it does not contain hazardous materials.

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has approved mPPE as a suitable insulation for more than 50 AWM cable styles, so it can be applied when a tough, compact and non-halogenated wire or cable is required.

The initial Ecowire offering available from RS is a UL AWM 11028 hook-up wire in sizes from 28AWG (0.07mm) to 10AWG (5.37mm) in a variety of colours.

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