Emma Segelov, Head of Marketing at MK Electric, a Honeywell company, discusses why investing in quality cable management solutions has so many benefits.
When it comes to choosing cable management products, it is understandable how a cheaper alternative can be more appealing to an installer taking on a large project. However, opting for a higher quality product can not only provide a more flexible and longer lasting solution, but can save contractors money and time in the long run.
The role of the modern contractor is by no means an easy one. On the one hand, there is the need to ensure on-the-job efficiency to secure a contract amidst a fiercely competitive market. Equally, in an industry where reputation is everything, it is vital to ensure a high performance installation which is safe and durable and meets the needs of the end-user, in order to keep the work coming. This is why choosing the correct tools and equipment to complete the job is vital, and cable management is no exception.
The good news is that cable management has come a long way in recent years. Gone are the days of the standard ‘one size fits all’ approach, as many of today’s solutions are not only designed to save installers time on site but also comply with necessary legislation, without compromising practicality or aesthetically. However, with each project comes a unique set of challenges and requirements that can make for a complex specification process.
When tackling a project in buildings such as hospitals and care homes, hygiene is of the utmost importance, with factors such as cross-contamination and infection control ranking high on the priorities list. Schools and universities, on the other hand, face extremely high volumes of users and often, there is a frequent need for adaptions. It is therefore important that a product is well researched, meets legislation, considers end-user requirements and assists efficient installation.
Today, there are a series of products available on the market to help installers meet all of this criteria. For example, the MK Electric Prestige 3D family of three compartment trunking. This particular product offers a greater trunking depth and caters for Cat 5e, 6 and 7 structured cabling and, as it is made using PVCu – a popular cost-effective material that ensures ease of handling and installation.
“The cable management category may not necessarily have always been thought of for its innovation. However, times are changing, and as the needs of the modern contractor have evolved, so too has this vital electrical commodity to meet changing needs.”
Much consideration has been given to ensure Prestige 3D products are compliant with regulations related to the installation of cat 5e, 6 and 7 cables, so that cable capacity and flow is not hindered by sharp bends in a room or lack of space when contained. Flat angles and tees offer divider walls that are curved to allow data cables to lie in with no loss of capacity, while the bridge of a flat tee can be fitted in two positions increasing the versatility of cable runs whilst maintaining the correct segregation. What’s more, the patented Data Sweep ensures no loss of capacity and eliminates the need for bulky, protruding corner covers.
Products such as the Prestige 3D family also allow easy installation. Features such as ‘open box’ mounting frames and divider knockouts provide unhindered tool-free cable entry, while pre-drilled trunking bases provide ease of fixing. Flexible corners accommodate +/- 5% tolerance on 90-degree bends and so do-away with the need to cut or trim the profile to fit. Whilst hinged lids support cables during installation.
But, the innovation doesn’t quite end there. To cater for the healthcare sector, there are products on the market designed to kill bacteria that can grow on surfaces, such as the Prestige 3D Antibac Blue.
The Prestige 3D Antibac Blue is an antibacterial three-compartment power and data trunking system which uses silver-based additive within the PVCu. This acts as an effective weapon in eradicating bacteria, such as MRSA, rather than just restricting its growth. As the additive is homogenous with the PVCu compound, the protection runs throughout; in this way, there is no loss of effectiveness where the trunking lengths are cut on-site or if the surface becomes scuffed or scratched.
MK Electric’s Logic Plus, a series of wiring devices made from a high grade thermoset material with inherent antibacterial properties, also help keep germs and bacteria at bay. These bacteria-fighting properties make Logic Plus wiring devices the ideal partner for Prestige 3D Antibac when a complete antibacterial solution is required. Perfect for contractors specifying for hospitals, care homes and other establishments where reducing infection is the number one priority; these ranges can be used alongside a robust cleaning regime.
Looking at public buildings, further compliance considerations come into play, such as Part M. Part M is concerned with the entry and use of all building structures and facilities by all people, whether visiting, working or dwelling in them. To meet the requirements of Part M in such buildings, it is necessary to consider installing wiring devices of a contrasting colour in the trunking system to provide a means of contrast, or by using a different coloured flange either side of the wiring device (to provide that contrast).
In premises where vandalism may be an issue or unauthorised access needs to be prevented, such as schools, screw fixing kits can also be used to help secure covers and upkeep a level of safety.
The cable management category may not necessarily have always been thought of for its innovation. However, times are changing, and as the needs of the modern contractor have evolved, so too has this vital electrical commodity to meet changing needs. The recommendation then for the shrewd engineer is to take stock of the best cable management products and accessories from leading manufacturers with robust distribution capabilities in order be assured of availability, reliability and quality – not to mention the benefit of optimised efficiency.