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Lifespan of ABC Lines in Moist / Wet Environments

ABC Lines

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Aerial Bundled Cable (ABC) is an innovative concept for Over Head (OH) power distribution. These cables have an aluminium core that is covered by an XLPE insulation.XLPE is an UV Resistant and Environmentally tested plastic which helps protect the cables from environmental degradation and theft from consumers. When compared to conventional bare conductor OH distribution systems, ABC provides higher safety and reliability, lower power losses, stability in voltage regulation and ultimate system economy by reducing installation, maintenance and operation cost. As a result, this system is ideal for rural distribution and especially attractive for installation in difficult terrain such as hilly areas, dense forests, coastal regions, etc.

XLPE Lifespan

The insulation of these cables are made with Cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE). According to the paper “Review of recent research towards power cable life cycle management” published in 2017,”XLPE cables are expected to last or service wellbeyond the 40 year design life under normal circumstances”. However, the paper also states “in situations where water/moisture is present, those designs without special protection have a life expectancy of only 15–25 years”.

This lifespan of XLPE and thus ABC lines can be improved significantly in moist or coastal areas by using proper precautions suchas water swellable tapes, Tree Resistant XLPE (TR-XLPE), or other special protections. The table below,taken from a document by Nexans, shows the lifespan of the XLPE insulation while using various protections:

The paper “Global Trends and Motivation Toward the Adoption of TR-XLPE Cable” presented at the IEEE T&D Conference in Dallas, Texas in 2006 by The Dow Chemical Company representatives describes the advantages of TR-XLPE in moist environments over XLPE. After performing a wet electrical test using XLPE & TR-XLPE, they were able to conclude that “(t)he results after one year of aging provide a clear indication of the longer life expectancy of cables madewith TR-XLPE insulation.”

The paper “Presenting a new method to estimate the remaining life of Aerial Bundled Cable Network” published in 2015 at the 23rd International Conference on Electricity Distribution and the paper “Review of recent research towards power cable life cycle management” mentioned earlier, both state that the most influential factor in aging ABC cables is the use of non-standard cable connectors, accessories and clamps because they allow water ingress which slowly damages the cable. As a result, when installing ABC lines at any location, you should make sure that you only use products that have been tested and certified as per the latest international standards to ensure the longest lifespan for your system.

At Axis, we offer the full range of standard compliant and tested ABC Accessories to make sure that your line performs optimally. Our suspension clamps, insulation piercing connectors, distribution boxes and other products, undergo a barrage of testing as per the best international standards at our own lab and at 3rd party labs to ensure that we only supply the best products to our customers.

For more information on the Advantages of Aerial Bundled Cables, please read our blog post on the topic or watch our video above.

To see our range of Accessories for Aerial Bundled Cables, please visit our website. You can also find our other products, including Lightning Protection Systems, Earthing/Grounding Systems, Brass Cable Glands, Cable Lugs and more on our website.

Please email us at to get in touch.

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