The share of copper in construction wiring exceeds 80%, while the cost of copper wiring is steadily increasing. From January to April 2023, the price of 1 ton of copper in the global non-ferrous metals market increased by 10% and amounted to about $9,000.
To maintain the cost per square meter of housing, developers need to look for alternative materials and solutions. One of them is the transition to aluminum wiring from modern 8 series alloys. Why? It's very simple: the cost of aluminum is $2,200 per ton, moreover, its price has fallen by 5% over the same period - Q1 2023. The material is produced in Russia using the latest technology, and its use is rapidly gaining momentum.
Currently, Russian production offers housing developers and the construction market to use not outdated aluminum is brittle and unreliable, and the latest development is a cable with conductors made of aluminum alloys of the 8th series.
For example, the AsVVG cable from the alloy of the eighth series surpasses the seventh series in all respects. The problem of material creep, which previously led to loose contact and heat, is overcome by adding iron and copper to the alloy. As a result, characteristics are obtained that are not inferior to copper.
By applying intermediate firing, they defeated the main problem of aluminum - brittleness. Now the elasticity of the material is 5 times higher than that of the wiring from the USSR.
Other characteristics have also been brought to world standards. As a result: the Ministry of Construction, the All-Russian Research Institute of the Cable Industry and VNIIPO Ministry of Emergency Situations allowed the use of aluminum wiring in housing construction.
“The indisputable advantage of cables made of aluminum alloys of the eighth series is the strength of the connections, decent plasticity of the material, the senselessness of counterfeiting products and less weight (reduced by up to 30%). When switching from copper to cables made of 8-series alloys, the budget savings reach 50%,” according to Mikhail Rudyk, expert of the Aluminum Association.
It should be noted here that the savings increase in proportion to the cable cross-section: the thicker the core, the more profitable it becomes to use wiring from aluminum alloys of the 8th series.
USA, Canada, Europe and China have been using aluminum alloy wiring for more than 30 years. In Russia, the Kandalaksha and Irkutsk plants, which are part of Rusal, have been producing aluminum alloys of the 8030 and 8176 series for about 10 years.
By the way, in the same China, the price of aluminum alloy of the 8th series is higher than that of the 7th series. Rusal, on the other hand, made the price for both series the same, thereby eliminating the expediency of producing counterfeit products from the 7th series alloy. Why take risks when you can immediately make a quality product at the same price.
The founder of a construction company, Vladimir Volkov, believes:
“The copper cable VBSHB 4x120 and AsVBSHV 4x150 made of aluminum alloy of the 8th series are identical in electrical, strength and mechanical properties. Modern wiring with conductors made of aluminum alloy of the eighth series fully meets the requirements of modern construction. Otherwise, the Ministry of Construction would not have allowed it to be used.”
In his opinion, it is necessary to train new specialists, to issue updated literature, because so far future electricians are not taught how to install electrical wiring from aluminum alloys of the eighth series. Very soon there will be a shortage of personnel, and not only in construction.
“Currently, in housing construction and in the oil and gas industry, there is a demand for the replacement of electrical wiring from copper with a similar one from aluminum alloys of the eighth series. This is justified by the possibility of saving up to 50%. The frequent change in the price of copper complicates the implementation of projects in the medium and long term. The problem is solved by using aluminum, as its price is more stable.
We estimate that switching to Series 8 aluminum alloy wiring will save up to 6 million rubles, during the construction of a high-rise building of 27 floors, ”explained Pavel Moryakov, General Director of Moskabelmet.
The latest aluminum alloys will save huge amounts of money, without losing the quality of electrical wiring throughout the country.