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Steel wire armoured cable, commonly abbreviated as SWA, is a hard-wearing power cable designed for the supply of mains electricity. It is one of a number of armoured electrical cables – which include 11kV Cable and 33kV Cable – and is found in underground systems, power networks and cable ducting.

The typical construction of an SWA cable can be broken down as follows:

Conductor: consists of plain stranded copper (cables are classified to indicate the degree of flexibility. Class 2 refers to rigid stranded copper conductors as stipulated by British Standard BS EN 60228:2005)

Insulation: Cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) is used in a number of power cables because it has good water resistance and excellent electrical properties. Insulation in cables ensures that conductors and other metal substances do not come into contact with each other.

Bedding: Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) bedding is used to provide a protective boundary between inner and outer layers of the cable.

Armour: Steel wire armour provides mechanical protection, which means the cable can withstand higher stresses, be buried directly and used in external or underground projects.[4] The armouring is normally connected to earth and can also be used as the circuit protective conductor ("earth wire") for the equipment supplied by cable.

Sheath: a black PVC sheath holds all components of the cable together and provides additional protection from external stresses.

The PVC version of SWA cable,[5] described above, meets the requirements of both British Standard BS5467[6] and International Electrotechnical Commission standard IEC 60502. It is known as SWA BS5467 Cable and it has a voltage rating of 600/1000V.

SWA cable can be referred to more generally as mains cable, armoured cable, power cable and booklet armoured cable. The name power cable, however, applies to a wide range of cables including 6381Y, NYCY, NYY-J and 6491X Cable.

The construction of an SWA cable, however, does depend on the intended use of the cable. When the power cable needs to be installed in a public area, for example, a Low Smoke Zero Halogen (LSZH) equivalent, called SWA BS6724 Cable must be used. After the King’s Cross fire in London in 1987 it became mandatory to use LSZH sheathing on all London Underground cables – a number of the fatalities were due to toxic gas and smoke inhalation. As a result, LSZH cables are now recommended for use in highly populated enclosed public areas. This is because they emit non-toxic levels of Halogen and low levels of smoke when exposed to fire. SWA Cable BS6724 – which meets the requirements of British standard BS6724 – has LSZH bedding and a black LSZH sheath.

Steel Wire Armoured Cable

SWA Cable PVC BS5467 - power and auxiliary control cables for use in power networks, underground, outdoor and indoor applications and for use in cable ducting.

SWA Cable LSZH BS6724 - power and auxiliary control cables for use in power networks, underground, outdoor and indoor applications and for use in cableducting. For installation where fire, smoke emission and toxic fumes create a potential threat to life and equipment.

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