Subject

This section of the Hitachi Case Study provides the subject of PVC controversy related to the use of PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) by Hitachi Cable Manchester in its cable products.

PVC is a thermoplastic polymer widely used in construction because it is relatively inexpensive, durable, and easy to assemble. PVC can be made softer and more flexible by addition of plasticizers. Phthalates are one of the plasticizers that have been used in general purpose PVC, but on a very limited basis in wire and cable compounds.

PVC cable spools
In this photo: PVC cable spools within Hitachi Cable Manchester’s production floor.

For more than fifty years, PVC has been the preferred thermoplastic insulating and jacketing material for most indoor wiring and cable applications. It is widely used in telecommunication and data communication cables, which accounts for approximately 80% of all Hitachi Cable Manchester sales.

Why PVC and what are its benefits?

Why has PVC been the preferred insulator of the cable industry for so long?


PVC cables have a number of benefits. They provide strong electrical and insulation properties over a wide temperature range. They are inherently flame retardant, and possess excellent durability and long-life expectancy. They are cost effective, easy to process and recyclable. And they are also highly resistant to degradation by ultra violet light.

Lynne Humenik, Executive Vice President at Hitachi Cable Manchester

In this video: Lynne Humenik, Executive Vice President for Hitachi Cable Manchester explains some of the reasons why PVC has been the preferred thermoplastic in the wire and cable industry. (0:26)
(interviewed in May, 2011)

In the United States, cables must meet strict standards of flame resistance. NFPA 262, also known as the Plenum code, ensures that cable located in spaces that facilitate air circulation for heating and air conditioning systems meet strict adherence to fire safety standards. PVC is inherently flame retardant and is a perfect material for meeting the Plenum code.

Mike Patel, Industry Manager for wire and cable compounds within the Vinyl Division at Teknor Apex, discusses how PVC is a durable and versatile material that is inherently flame retardant. It is biologically and chemically resistant, and the addition of appropriate plasticizers, stabilizers and lubricants makes it well suited for wire and cable. The addition of flame retardants and smoke suppressants further enhance its safety value.

Continue reading this Hitachi case study in the next sections below to find how Hitachi Cable Manchester assessed both sides of the PVC controversy.

In this video: Mike Patel, Teknor Apex, explains how additives in PVC are continuing to evolve with raw materials that are more sustainable. (0:38)
(interviewed in May, 2011)

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Customer:
Teknor Apex

Industries:
Diversified material science

Region:
U.S.A.

Release Date:
July, 2011, prior to the merger of Hitachi Cable Manchester with Hitachi Cable America

Products & Services:
RoHS-compliant cables and cable products

Solutions By:
Hitachi Cable Manchester