Cable Components Group, Pawcatuck, Conn., has launched an economical FEP-based pellet masterbatch to chemically foam insulation for plenum cable. Called FluoroFoam, the pellets are a UL-recognized component for plenum cable insulation. The product is especially suited to thin-wall insulation of 0.006 to 0.010 in. for Category 5e, 6 and 6A. Unlike physical foaming of FEP, FluoroFoam does not require use of extruders with gas injection lines. Standard high-temperature extruders enable chemical foaming. Enhanced electrical performance and lower material content are benefits claimed for this patented technology.
Processing benefits include the flexibility to run FEP in either a tube or in a pressure-insulating extrusion crosshead setup. Pressure extrusion is inherently the most forgiving technique in that it eliminates the need for long drawdowns and the resulting cones, which have a propensity to break, and the corresponding likelihood of spark failures at elevated extrusion speeds.
Using a pressure setup, FluoroFoam can insulate thinwall 24, 23 or 22 AWG at greater than 1500 fpm. Tube extrusion or pressure extrusion may be used in less critical high-speed applications such as thicker wall coaxial cables. FluoroFoam insulations of 0.015 to 0.030 in. enable foaming rates of 55% to 60%. Typical foam cell size averages 0.001 in.
A FluoroFoam version also has been developed for chemical foaming of ETFE. A PVDF FluoroFoam version will be available early this year.
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