Comtran Cable LLC
Comtran unleashes a new life safety supercable for harsh and extreme environments.
By Kat Zeman
Danielle Braley-Purewal makes cable sound sexy. A national sales engineer for Comtran Cable LLC, Braley-Purewal wears her enthusiasm for high-performance data and communications cable with pride.
Gushing about the company’s newest product – VITALink CI – she compares it to a superhero. “VITALink cables are literally the Incredible Hulk of fire alarm cables,” she says. “It makes it possible for contractors to install a circuit integrity cable without the use of conduit.”
Designed for extreme and harsh environments, this super fire-resistive specialty cable is used in commercial and government facilities that include transit systems, hospitals, high-rise buildings, airports, educational institutions and sports stadiums.
Attleboro, Mass.-based Comtran is a leading manufacturer of high-performance data communications, premise telephone, low-voltage and specialty wire and cable. Its products are sold through authorized distributors all over North America. “Comtran is passionate about making cables and I am passionate about the VITALink Two Hour Fire Rated Cables,” she says about the company’s newest product.
Data communications cables, SAFE (security, access control and fire alarm) products and telephone premise cables are Comtran’s core products, but specialty products, like VITALink, are becoming its fastest growing business. “Those are our bread and butter products, the three legs of our company,” says Braley-Purewal, referring to the core products. “But the fourth, our specialty products, is what we’re branching into and we have a big focus on these products. They are unique.”
Specialty products include transit cables, shipboard cables and circuit integrity cables. “If wire and cable products can be exciting, our Hub-LINK Transit products, DEFENSE-LINK Shipboard cables and VITALink Two Hour Fire Rated products would be the life of the party,” Braley-Purewal says, who travels the country speaking about the technical applications of circuit integrity cables such as VITALink.
Designed to perform for up to two hours while under attack by fire or water, circuit integrity cables serve as protective shields for fire alarm circuits. Providing a pathway to survivability, their insulation system contains a specially engineered silicone formula that hardens when exposed to extreme temperatures. As it hardens, the cable forms a protective layer around the copper conductor that allows for the circuit to maintain integrity when under attack.
Comtran introduced a new version of the VITALink in June. Prior to that, this circuit integrity cable had to be installed in conduit, known as VITALink CIC (circuit integrity in conduit) cable. The newly introduced VITALink circuit integrity (CI) listing allows the cable to be installed without the use of conduit – a unique feature. “It’s making our existing product more versatile,” Braley-Purewal says.
Contractors like using a circuit integrity cable without conduit because it saves them time, space and money on labor. If there’s no conduit, there are no conduit fill restrictions. Also, the VITALink CI is easy to install and does not require special tools or training, Braley-Purewal says. The product is wet-rated and sunlight resistant. It does not require a termination kit and installs in accordance with the National Electrical Code (NEC).
Compared to CIC cables that are installed in a raceway or conduit and listed as an “electrical circuit protective system” or “fire-resistive cable system,” CI cables are installed in free air without any protection of a conduit or raceway.
Like a superhero, the VITALink is a unique character in its industry. Comtran is only one of two manufacturers of circuit integrity cables in the United States. In addition, it is is the only approved manufacturer for this type of product in Canada, Braley-Purewal says.
Comtran developed the VITALink CI in response to growing code requirements and customer requests for improved methods to achieve pathway survivability for critical emergency circuits.
“We have refocused the heart of our communication cable knowledge and have adapted and redeveloped products for extreme environments and more specialty applications,” Braley-Purewal says.
Founded in 1985, Comtran has a long history and solid reputation in the wire and cable industry. It is a government and UL-approved manufacturer that makes its products in the United States.
Since its inception, the company quickly grew to be one of the primary manufacturers of data and communication cable in the Northeast. In 2001, Comtran became a member of The Marmon Group based in Chicago. The Marmon Group is an international association of more than 130 business units that operate independently within diverse business sectors.
In March 2008, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. acquired majority interest in the Marmon Group of companies. As a member of these two prestigious entities, Comtran says it has the management and financial strength needed to sustain its growth and leadership position in the marketplace. In recent years, Comtran’s products have been installed in large-scale industrial projects throughout North America and Asia.