Steel Wire Armoured (SWA) Cable Buying Guide
Choosing the right cable for the power transmission cable has never been an easy task, especially if the cables will be used for the transfer of high voltage of electricity. When looking for a cable for the transfer of the mains electricity, one of the things that you need to consider is the physical and tensile strength. It is here that steel wire armored cable which is usually referred to as SWA comes in.
If you have heard of or even used steel armored cable, then you should know what am talking about. The only issue is you may not be sure of whether to buy these cables or not. If you have never used these cables, then spare some moments to read through this guide. We are going to explore everything that you need to know about steel wire armored cable.
Electricians, engineers, contractors, managers, government officials, and all the stakeholders who are involved with the mains electricity projects need to know enough information about the SWA cables. This guide will help them make a sound decision when it comes to buying the cable.
1. What is Steel Wire Armored Cable?
Steel wire armored cable (SWA) is a physically tough cable that is specifically designed for the transmission of mains electricity. This cable belongs to the family of armored cables whose other members include the 11kV cable and the 33kV cables.
Steel wire cable is designed to have physical and external protection against any external factors that can affect its integrity. This explains why it is always regarded as the best cable for external applications
The armor protects the cable from being pinched or undergoing any other form of physical damage. On the other hand, steel is used for providing overall protection.
SWA cables are known for being heavy hence are difficult to bend. With this feature, it means that they are best-suited for underground cabling. They can also be fixed onto the walls with the help of cleats.
These cables are quite popular in all the major installations that depend on mains electricity. This is because of their reliability and effectiveness in such applications.
So, whether you are a government, local authority, public institution or even a private entity and you are looking for effective cables that can be used for the transfer of mains electricity, SWA is the ideal solution.
These cables can be used in any place regardless of the distance that is involved.
2. Structure and Construction of SWA Cable
What are the contents of the Steel Wire Armoured cable? Before you buy SWA cable, you need to have a proper understanding of its contents. This knowledge will help you know what to expect from the cable especially when it is in use.
A typical structure and construction of the SWA comprise off the following:
-Conductor: Just like other power conducting cables, SWA cable uses copper conductors. These conductors are stranded for the purpose of enhancing their flexibility. Usually, the cable is labeled depending on the degree of flexibility that is provided by the copper conductors.
-Insulation: Steel wire armored cables depend on the cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) insulating material. This is a very common material in most high voltage and intense cables.
XLPE insulating material comes with a pack of numerous desirable features that make it an ideal choice of cable for the SWA cable. One of them is its resistance to water and different chemicals. It is also physically strong to prevent conductors from coming into contact with one another or even with external conductors.
-Bedding: These cables feature a polyvinyl chloride ( PVC) material that is used to shield the inner layers of the cable from the outer layers. This is what we call the bedding.
What is the purpose of bedding on a steel wire cable? Bedding ensures that the sheath of the cable is protected from mechanical damage that can be caused by the armoring. In other words, the bedding acts as a shock absorber for the cable.
-Armor: SWA cable has a steel wire armor whose sole purpose is to protect from all forms of external forces. As we have said, the SWA is usually buried beneath the ground. At this position, you can see that it is subjected to different types of forces and elements.
In most cases, the armoring is connected to the earth whereby it can act as the main “earthing wire”.
-Sheath: The sheath is a black PVC material that coats or covers the whole cable. It ensures that all the components remain intact while at the same time protects the cable from various external elements.
Any steel wire armored cable that is in the market should have all the above-listed components. You can even go further and confirm the quality of each component that has been used on the cable. Is it of high quality or is it just a substandard material.
This is important because even though all the components may be similar, they can differ in terms of their quality. Some are of high quality while others are not. A perfect example is a steel. Some grades of steel are known to be superior quality than others. As a buyer, you don’t want to buy SWA whose components are made of low-quality material.
SWABS 6724 cable
One extra concept that you need to know with regards to the construction of steel wire cable is the SWA BS6724.
This is simply a standard that defines the construction of SWA which will be used in a public area. It is equivalent to the Low Smoke Zero Halogen (LSZH) standard which restricts the use of certain sheathing materials that are known for emitting toxic gases.
The cable should fully comply with the SWA BS6724 policy restricts the use of particular bedding ad sheath on the SWA cable.
3. Types of Steel Wire Armour cable
Steel wire armor cables are divided into two broad categories. The differences are based on their construction. The two types are SWA PVC cable and the SWA LS0H cable.
(i) SWA PVC Cable
As the name suggests, this type of SWA cable features a polyvinyl chloride material which forms both the sheath and the bedding of the cable. The conductor of this cable is a Class 2 stranded copper while XLPE is its main insulating material.
Also known as booklet Booklet Armored Cable, this type of SWA is used on the mains or power cable. Its voltage rating is between 600V and 1000V.
(ii) SWA LSoH Cable
This version of SWA cable is popularly known as the Low Smoke Zero Halogens (LS0H) cable. Its construction is quite similar to the PVC SWA cable in many ways.
It also features a stranded copper conductor, steel wire armor and XLPE insulating material.
The main unique point of this cable is the LSoH sheath. This type of sheath is recommended in public places and it means that the cable produces low levels of smoke and halogen gas when it is exposed to fire.
4. What is the difference between AWA and SWA Cable?
When it comes to buying a cable for power mains, you may be split in between Aluminum Wire Armor (AWA) cable and steel armored wire (SWA) cable. What is the difference between these two cables and which one should you choose?
Aluminum wire armor is a single core cable and unlike steel, it is a non-magnetic cable. The difference between these two cables lies in their magnetic properties.
When the electric current passes through the cable, it produces a magnetic field. The strength of the field depends on the amount of current that passes through the cable.
The magnetic field will induce eddy currents on the steel cable, something that can lead to overheating. Since the AWA is non-magnetic, there are no eddy currents that can be induced by the magnetic field.
However, the effects of the magnetic field on the SWA cable are minimized by the armor and sheath layers. This means that cases of overheating are quite rare.
When it comes to the areas of application, both SWA and AWA are used for the transmission of the mains electricity.
Steel wire armor cable is quite popular in underground and external projects. Of course, this is due to the mechanical protection that is provided by the armor. You can use these cables in various industries including construction, power generating and distribution companies, mining, transport among others.
On the other hand, aluminum wire armored are also used for the transmission of mains electricity. They are quite popular for supplying power in the automation and process controls.
5. Advantages of Steel Wire Armored Cable
By looking at the construction of the Steel wire armored cables, it is easy to predict the benefits that you stand to gain. Here are some of the advantages of the steel wire armored cable (SWA).
1. High-temperature resistance
When a cable is armored with steel, no amount of temperature can affect it. Steel metal is not affected by either too hot or too cold temperature.
Just to put things in a better perspective, the melting point of steel is 15000C. Can you imagine the amount of heat that will be needed to melt this material?
This means that even if there is fire or extreme variation of temperature, the cable will remain intact. It will continue transmitting electricity without any interruption.
2. Physical and mechanical strength
When it comes to the cables for mains electric transmission, physical and mechanical strength matters. This is because these cables are used for carrying high voltage over a long distance. This means that they are exposed to various forms of physical and mechanical elements.
The steel armor of SWA gives the cable the needed physical and mechanical strengths. Whether you install the cables overhead or underground, its physical structure will remain the same.
The steel armor protects all the components of the cable. The XLPE insulator is also a strong insulating material that can be credited for the extra strength of the cable.
The strength of SWA means that you will not have to worry about any interruption as a result of the damaged cable. It also means that the cable is durable and you won’t spend lots of money dealing with the replacement costs.
3. Minimum Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)
When strands of cables are used on a single line, there is a high chance that they will be emitting electromagnetic interference. Even two neighboring cables that are on the electric mains are capable of generating this interference.
There are several negative effects of electromagnetic interference on a powerline. Apart from interfering with the main flow of current, it also causes the generation of heat which can damage the physical structure of the cable.
When it comes to the SWA, the steel wire sheath shield hence preventing the occurrence of EMI.
4. A wide range of applications
The desirable physical, mechanical and electrical properties of SWA make it versatile. This simply means that it can be used for a wide range of applications.
Although the steel wire armored cable is designed for power transmission, it can still be used for the transmission and distribution of data.
The versatility of this cable is also based on the fact that it can be installed anywhere. You can install it underground, overhead and even on the walls for support.
In terms of the location, SWA cables are not limited by climate or geographical factors. They can work in both extremely hot and extremely cold areas. The rugged nature of these cables makes it possible to install them on the rough terrains.
5. Reasonable prices
Are you looking for an affordable budget for the mains transmission? Then you should consider buying an SWA cable for sale. They are among the best cables that will give you the true value of your money.
Although SWA may not be the cheapest cables ion the market., the quality of cable that you get is directly related to the price. On the same note, you won’t pay exorbitant prices for these cables.
As expected, the only way of getting the best price of the cable is by buying from reputable manufacturers and suppliers. This is why SSG Cable Group is there to ensure that you get the best steel wire cable at a very reasonable price.
6. SWA Cables are simple to work with
When it comes to the power mains cable installation, you don’t want something that will give you a hard time. You should be able to install and maintain your cables without straining.
The physical and tensional strength of the SWA means you don’t have to worry about causing any form of damage during the installation. The installation of the cable will be a walk in the park.
The simplicity of these cables is another reason why they are easy to work with. You don’t have to worry about the cable having many components which can complicate the installation process.
One thing that you can gain from the mechanical and tensional strength of the SWA cable is durability. The steel wire armored cable can serve you for many years without undergoing any form of damage.
With durability, you will not be stressed by the issue of frequent replacements. It will also ensure that there is a minimal interruption of electricity after the installation.
Frequently Asked Questions About SWA Cable
Would you like to get some clarifications about SWA cable? Here are the most common questions that people ask about SWA cable
|Q: What is the SWA cable used for?
|A: Steel wire armored cable functions as both power and auxiliary cable. It is mainly used for the supply of mains electricity. The cable is used in power networks, outdoor applications, indoor applications, cable ducting, underground networks among others.
|Q: Is SWA cable waterproof?
|A: The steel wire sheath of the SWA cable is waterproof. It protects the cable against groundwater and any other water that has the potential of causing severe damage to the cable.
|Q: Is SWA cable fire rated?
|A: The armor of the cable provides adequate resistant against fire. This explains why this cable is used for fire alarms.
|Q: Can I lay SWA cable above the ground?
|A: Yes, there is no problem in laying the steel wire armored cable above the ground. The sheath will still protect the components of the cable from different types of elements.
|Q: How deep should SWA cable be buried?
|A: The most recommended depth of the SWA cable is 600mm. Most manufacturers recommend this depth though you can go deeper depending on your application needs.
|Q: What is the price of SWA cable?
|A: Generally, SWA cables are generally affordable especially you buy from reputable manufacturers. The price of the SWA cable can also vary depending on the specifications. This is why you should contact the SWA cable manufacturer directly for comprehensive pricing information.
Where to Buy Quality and Affordable Steel Wire Armor Cables?
Now that you have decided to buy SWA cable, the next step is to locate SWA cables manufacturers and suppliers in China.
If you are looking for a reliable and reputable supplier of these cables, then you should consider SSG Cable Group.
We are a reliable and reputable SWA cable manufacturer in China. We design and construct quality armored cables that will serve their purpose perfectly. We adhere to strict international standards and this is why our cables are competitive in the global market.
We have a competent team of experts who will do all that it takes to manufacture the best cables. This team is supported by high-end machinery which is powered by the latest technology.
In addition to the quality of the cables, we also put immense efforts in meeting the full needs of our customers.
You might be interested in these XLPE insulated cables:
Low Voltage Power Cable
Medium Voltage VFD Cable
Medium Voltage Power Cable