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Plenum PVC compound replaces data cable insulation and jacket materials


Major Global Cable Manufacturers challenged Mexichem Specialty Compounds to develop a Low Smoke Plenum PVC compound. This new compound would allow the manufacturers to utilize a single material as both the insulation and jacket, in the variety of cable designs, for fire alarm (FPLP) and for security (CL2P / CL3P) cables.

The problem

Current demands on fire alarm and security systems require any cable, used for these systems, be installed in plenum air handling spaces and comply with the low smoke and combustibility requirements of NFPA 262 / UL 910. Cable manufacturers wanted to source a reliable material that could work as both cable insulation and jacket.


Fire alarm and security systems


Mexichem Specialty Compounds needed to develop a Low Smoke Plenum PVC compound that would meet exacting benchmark standards:

  • Conform to the Low smoke and combustibility requirements of NFPA 262 / UL 910;
  • Conform to the Insulation and jacket requirements of UL 1424 (Power-Limited Fire-Alarm Circuits) & UL 13 (Power-Limited Circuit Cables);
  • Perform optimally at high extrusion rates;
  • Produce shielded and unshielded cable designs that vary in conductor count and AWG size; 
  • Be cost-effective to produce.

The Solution

SMOKEGUARD® 1042, 1045, and 1046 series were developed after an extensive development effort - with each product optimized for various customers’ process and cable designs. Customer extrusion trials were performed with acceptable processability and produced cables that complied with the NFPA 262 test, as well as all other requirements outlined in UL 1424 & UL 13.

The Result

Customers had access to a new and plentiful Low Smoke Plenum PVC compound for commercial cables. The compound satisfied the extreme safety demands of fire alarm and security system applications, met the processing and economic goals set for it, and allowed the consolidation of inventory with the use of a single compound. Being able to use one product, instead of two, led to considerable cost and production savings.


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