Cable Management Innovation
…cable management has seen a natural progression into more innovative, cost–effective products to meet current demands.
Despite being one of the most competitive sectors in the electrical industry, cable management is often dismissed as an insignificant part of the whole specification process and you could be forgiven for thinking it is a relatively stagnant area. However with advancements in technology, a growing demand for flexible products and of course, lower prices, the category has in fact seen a plethora of innovation over the last few years.
Cable Management Meets Demand
Generally specifiers, contractors and installers all demand the same requirements from a cable management system. They want the products to be safe, reliable and meet relevant standards where applicable. However in today’s economic climate, they also want to achieve cost savings on installation, reducing both onsite time and labour figures. As these two areas remain a strong influence in the electrical sector, cable management has seen a natural progression into more innovative, cost–effective products to meet current demands. In order to stay competitive, it’s essential to be at the forefront of new technologies, ensuring the right solution is provided for the customer.
Easy Installation Saves Time & Money
In recent years, cable management solutions have become a greater part of the initial planning and specification process, due to the pressure felt by specifiers to ensure tight budgets are met. Another key consideration is time and the threat of large penalty clauses incurred for late installations. Whether the delay is caused due to complications, or because highly qualified or skilled installers aren’t available on site, the cost can easily mount up into thousands of pounds, so it is imperative to keep to schedules.
One way to reduce the cost of labour is to utilise less qualified/skilled workers by specifying products which are quick and easy to install, thereby reducing the risk of complications and ensuring the project is kept on track, as skilled tradesmen need only sign off the completed work.
It is also important to specify solutions that guarantee a quick and easy installation, at the right price. There are many established products within the cable management sector that have evolved to become easier to use as well, as meeting new pricing demands in these more challenging times. One area which has seen a great transformation is cable trays and baskets.
Cable Tray & Basket Innovations
With steel cable trays renowned for their heavy weight and lack of flexibility, steel wire basket alternatives have recently increased in popularity. Not only does this solution achieve the same results as the conventional steel tray, its versatility and lower cost allows it to meet growing budget and time constraints by allowing easier handling and more importantly, faster installations.
Favoured for its lightweight, versatile structure, the wire tray can be cut and formed onsite with minimal tools, providing a responsive solution, especially in cases when previously unforeseen obstacles could spell disaster for traditional, more rigid products. Innovations like the fast–fix accessories, such as snap–fit connectors further reduce installation time, fuelling the growing trend for such fast–fix cable management products.
One innovative material being utilised for more heavy duty cable management solutions is glass reinforced polyester. This type of tray not only offers a lightweight, cost effective solution, it is also contains fire retardant, self–extinguishing, anti–corrosive and anti–aging properties, ensuring the utmost safety in hazardous environments.
Lightweight Metallic Hanging System
Another area of cable management which has recently benefited from advances in technology is the hanging system. This lightweight metallic rope, plus a variety of adjustable end fittings, suspends fixed loads securely with ease and is beginning to replace the old fashioned threaded rod or chain.
Slowly replacing the usual threaded rod or chain and cutting installation time in half, lightweight metallic rope and a variety of innovative adjustable end fittings grip the rope to securely suspend fixed loads with ease. Offering the same strength and safety properties as traditional solutions, this reliable option offers adjustment to the configuration after initial installation, saving on waste material if the needs of the application change. These solutions also provide a more aesthetically pleasing finish, which is paramount in today’s ever design conscious environment.
Modular Under Floor Distribution Systems
Modular under floor distribution systems are another innovative cable management product which have been developed to meet time and cost demands. These ‘plug and play’ type installations are pre–wired, which not only saves time during the installation but, as with other technologies, they also allow for a less qualified installer to carry out the work. Other added benefits include the systems’ flexibility which allows for re–configuration of the whole layout or specific sections, where additional modules can be added with minimal disruption.
In the current climate, commercial buildings are in a constant state of flux and therefore the demand for flexible cable management has grown and this is likely to continue. This is why, despite the innovation and new emerging products to meet these needs, some of the existing solutions have also been updated to allow for easier installation and reduced waste material. One example is flexible conduit, along with new push on fittings, some kits also include fitting removal tools, further reducing unnecessary waste and making reconfiguration easier.
With the focus on helping customers to work well under increased time and cost pressure, manufacturers and wholesalers all strive to expand their product offering to meet these growing demands. Although this influx of new products may seem daunting to specifiers and contractors, updating their knowledge of these new, innovative solutions will not only help them to stay competitive, it will ensure the most effective product is specified for every application.