/images/NEC_button.jpg/images/southwire_100x70.jpg2008 NEC Change Permits Self-grounding MC Cable in Manufactured Wiring System2008NECChangePermitsSelfGroundingMCCableInManufacturingWiringSystem.htm
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2008 NEC Change Permits Self-grounding MC Cable in Manufactured Wiring System

Southwire’s MCAPTM cable can reduce COGS and increase installation productivity

Southwire’s new MCAP cable has been on the market for approximately 2 years and is gaining rapid acceptance amongst market leading electrical contractors who use MC cable and are continually seeking a competitive advantage.  Southwire’s MCAP cable is a patented cable design that allows the interlocked armor to serve as the ground path for the cable and provides a ground path performance that is equivalent to a copper grounding conductor.  The primary benefit to the contractor is the elimination of the ground make-up process at every outlet, j-box, light fixture, and panel, which equates to approximately a 30% productivity increase in branch circuit make-up.  The entire ground make-up process is simplified because there are less parts and pieces needed to complete grounding connections without giving up any grounding performance.  Based on a recent 2008 National Electrical Code (NEC®) change, the MCAP cable benefits can now be realized in Manufactured Wiring Systems

2008 NEC Change
Every three years the National Electrical Code (NEC®) undergoes a revision cycle during which proposals to change sections of the code are reviewed and voted upon. The latest revision cycle covering the 2008 NEC was completed in May of 2007.   One key proposal covering the permitted cable types in Manufactured Wiring Systems, NEC Article 604, was accepted.  Specifically, Section 604.6(A)(1) was revised as follows:

604.6 Construction

(A) Cables or Conduits

(1)    Cables. Cables shall be one of the following:

(1)    Listed Type AC cable containing nominal 600-volt, 8 to 12 AWG insulated copper conductors with a bare or insulated copper equipment grounding conductor equivalent in size to the ungrounded conductor.

(2)    Listed Type MC cable containing nominal 600-volt, 8 to 12 AWG insulated copper conductors with a bare or insulated copper equipment grounding conductor equivalent in size to the ungrounded conductor.

(3)    Listed Type MC cable containing nominal 600-volt, 8 to 12 AWG insulated copper conductors with a grounding conductor and armor assembly listed and identified for grounding in accordance with 250.118(10).  The combined metallic sheath and grounding conductor shall have a current-carry capacity equivalent to that of the ungrounded copper conductor.

Benefits to Manufactured Wiring Systems Manufacturers
Since the armor of MCAP cable can serve as the ground path for the cable, there is no need to strip, crimp and terminate a green copper equipment grounding conductor in the clamp shell housing of manufactured wiring systems.  If sufficient electrical continuity can be maintained between mating connecting cables connections to light fixtures, metallic boxes or enclosures, a ground pigtail lead and push-wire connector, where applicable, can be eliminated.  Based on redesigning the connector and clam shell housing, the pin and socket connection for the ground path can be eliminated along with reducing the overall size and material need for the connector and clam shell housing.  Another option could be to utilize the vacated ground pin and socket connection in the connector housing for an additional neutral to accommodate harmonics or an isolated ground applications.  

Additionally, utilizing MCAP cable will reduce the overall weight of the cable by 10 – 20% depending on the cable size and length.  MCAP cable also has a smaller cable diameter, which provides for a smaller and tighter bend radius.   The lighter weight and smaller cable diameters can increase packaging efficiencies along with reducing cube and storage space.  

Contractor who utilized manufacturing wiring systems incorporating MCAP cable will realize increases productivity benefits by not having to terminate a green ground pigtail and having a cable that is lighter with a smaller bend radius.

Incorporating MC cable may necessitate a redesign and re-qualification of your Manufactured Wiring System but my yield significant product savings and easier contractor installation.  If you are interested in exploring opportunities to utilize MCAP cable in your Manufactured Wiring System, contact Southwire and find out how we can assist.