Halogen free cables and materials

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Toxic chemicals and compounds surrounds us in everyday life and there is a growing desire to remove them wherever possible. What are halogen free cables, and how do they help?


When we refer to halogens, we’re talking about a group of elements in the periodic table known to have harmful properties: Fluorine, Chlorine, Bromine and Iodine. Many cable plastics use these elements as a flame retardant, which they do quite successfully (the fluoropolymers: ETFE, FEP and PTFE have some of the best fire performance properties available). However, although they can be difficult to ignite, when the intensity of the fire is sufficient that the cable does finally catch fire, a halogenated cable will release fumes that are both toxic when inhaled and corrosive to circuitry in equipment.

Naturally, this makes them unsuitable for use in areas where people are present and may not be able to evacuate easily in the event of a fire. The challenge is to remove the toxic elements from cables and wires, but maintain the flame retardant properties. 

Halogen Free Flame Retardant (HFFR) cables substitute the halogen content of a material for another non-toxic element such as aluminium. Many can then be irradiated by electron-beam to further increase their fire and temperature resistance properties, along with mechanical strength and resilience.

Our halogen free and flame retardant cables

Since the early 90s, Habia has been at the forefront of designing and manufacturing halogen free flame retardant cables. During this time, we’ve supplied HFFR cables for applications as diverse as nuclear safety critical systems (our Habiatron product range), ships and submarines (our military and lightweight marine cable ranges) and electric vehicles (Hi-Flex ZH range) among many, many others.

Other terms used for HFFR

Low smoke zero halogen (LSZH), or Zero halogen (ZH or 0H) are other commonly used terms and acronyms for the halogen free flame retardant (HFFR) properties. 

At Habia, we specialise in the design and manufacture of custom cables and harnesses – all of which can be made using halogen free materials.