Fushi Copperweld's American research and development center has announced production of 4THOUGHT, a new copper-clad steel (CCS) grounding product for use in electrical substations. 4THOUGHT is a 19-wire Copperweld CCS cable produced to exactly the diameter of 4/0 AWG solid copper grounding wire, which is the current accepted industry standard for substation grounding applications.
"Using solid copper wire as a ground conductor in substations represents ampacity overkill, largely because the copper has to be dramatically upsized in order to satisfy the tensile strength requirements of a substation," said Joe Longever, CEO of Fushi Copperweld.
CCS wire of a similar size to solid copper 4/0 AWG has long been available and works well as a grounding conductor. However, because steel is so strong, it is not sufficiently flexible for easy installation. Copper, on the other hand, is much more ductile than steel, but also more susceptible to fatigue and breakage.
4THOUGHT consists of several smaller CCS wires stranded together, which renders it easy to bend and shape, and allows for simple installation. Also, because it has been manufactured to the same diameter as 4/0 copper, it does not require any adapters and can use exactly the same connectors as the current industry standard. By implementing a 19-wire configuration, Fushi Copperweld's engineering team has been able to provide sufficient ampacity for grounding applications in the same size conductor, which continues to offer greater tensile strength at a lower price than that of pure copper. Conversion to the new product is simple and offers not only initial savings over pure copper, but over time, the durability of the center steel core lowers replacement costs due to breakage. In addition, the scrap value of Copperweld CCS cable is that of steel, making it unattractive for thieves.
In the United States and Canada, 4THOUGHT will be sold exclusively by Fushi Copperweld's distributor, ACA Conductor Accessories. Fushi Copperweld will market the product directly in the rest of the world.