Armored Cables: MC-HL, ITC-HL, MC and TECK90
Galvanized interlocked armor (GIA), aluminum interlocked armor (AIA) and TECK90 cable systems offer engineers and specifiers a cable system with built-in environmental protection for all types of electrical circuits. They are used whenever mechanical protection is needed: instrumentation, control, communication or power distribution applications can all use armored cable.
Metal clad (MC) armored cables are covered in UL 1569 and can include the following construction types:
- 600 V
- 2000 V
- 2.4 kV to 35 kV Medium Voltage (MV)
- Composite cables that include optical-fiber members (OF)
In North America, armored cable products like AIA, GIA, TECK90 and CCW constructions each offer their own distinct advantages and deliver maximum performance and ease of installation for a broad range of commercial, industrial and utility applications. The unique characteristics of these all-in-one cable assemblies provide an alternative to the traditional labor-intensive cable-in-conduit installation methods. Continuously corrugated welded (CCW) aluminum sheath constructions have excellent crush, heat, moisture and chemical resistance to meet the requirements of harsh industrial conditions and are suitable for installation in Class I, Div. 1 hazardous locations.
MV armored cables are by convention manufactured in three color-coded jackets. 600-volt jackets are black and 5 kV cables have yellow jackets. In the U.S., 15 kV cables are red. In Canada, 15 kV cables are orange.
CCW Constructions (MC-HL)
CCW armor is made by forming an aluminum strip into a circle along its length and then welding it at the seam. This smooth tube is then rolled or crimped to form ridges in order to prevent kinking while bending. This MC type of armor provides an impervious seal against moisture and other chemicals. CCW is an excellent choice for VFD (variable-frequency drive) motor drive applications where the armor offers electromagnetic benefits.
MC-HL (Metal Clad Hazardous Locations) cable is recognized by the NEC as suitable for installation in Class I, Div. 1 hazardous locations in voltages ranges from 600 V to 35 kV. A similar type of construction is available in a 300 V construction as type ITC-HL.
Aluminum Interlocked Armor (AIA) or Galvanized Steel Interlocked Armor (GIA) Constructions
AIA and GIA constructions typically have a strip of metallic material spiraled around the cable core—each turn is interlocked with the preceding turn. AIA and GIA control and power cables typically feature a flame-retardant, sunlight and moisture resistant PVC, CPE, or LSZH jacket over the armor to ensure long-term cable performance. AIA is like TECK90 but typically does not have the inner jacket included under the armor. These cable assemblies can be installed exposed and concealed in wet or dry locations, indoors or outdoors. Applications include instrumentation, control, communication or power distribution applications from 300 V to 35 kV. AIA products are more flexible than CCW but provide less protection in moist or corrosive environments. AIA and GIA products meet the requirements of UL 1569 and are suitable for installation in Class I, Div. 2 hazardous locations, but they do not meet the more stringent requirements of UL 2225 and are therefore not suitable for Class I, Div. 1 hazardous locations.
In Canada, TECK90 armored power and control cable is factory constructed and tested for use as wiring in all hazardous locations when used with certified HL cable glands in accordance with the guidelines of the Canadian Electrical Code. TECK90 constructions are not recognized by the NEC for MC-HL locations in the U.S. This product however is recognized as a cost-effective alternative to installation in conduit in both the U.S. and Canada and is used extensively in the pulp and paper industries all over North America. TECK90 products are designed for the demands of mining, chemical, petroleum and other harsh environments. They can be installed as exposed and concealed wiring in dry, damp or wet locations. TECK90 cable constructions include an inner PVC jacket, an aluminum interlock armor and an overall PVC jacket.