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Mark Shinner, Insulation and Protection Products Manager at cable management specialist HellermannTyton, explains what they need to consider.
How the right cable management can create the perfect panel show
As panel builders know, keeping panels tidily and efficiently organised is key to supporting the long-term performance and maintenance of control panels. Given the variety of legislative requirements faced by customers, this means that different cable management products are needed to suit specific applications.
Some design features are more common than others. A smooth, burr-free edge is the most commonly requested element – not only to reduce the risk of damage to cables, but for a cleaner, clearer appearance.
Beyond that, though, a panel builder needs a comprehensive choice of narrow- and wide-fingered ducts and a variety of fast-fix accessories, to suit the particular needs of their project. With export increasingly important to the panel builder market, panel builders also need ducts in a range of DIN-compliant sizes to meet European quality standards.
Many environments must be kept halogen-free to protect the public from toxic inhalation in the event of a fire. In this case it’s essential to have ducts manufactured in a material that is not only halogen-free but also easy to cut and handle during installation. The best material for this is PC/ABS.
Ducting can also be available in ‘intrinsically safe’ versions, for example coloured in blue to house critical wires in an easy-to-identify manner.
For large-scale installations such as elevator or lift shafts, it is helpful if end users can incorporate conduit systems into the ducting, using circular knockouts to integrate the two product systems. This is ideal if dust and debris ingress must be avoided.
Keep it covered
Last but not least, a panel builder should keep wires neatly retained within the ducts. In some instances ducts are filled to capacity and housed horizontally or vertically. This means when the cover is taken off, wires can easily fall out, causing the electrician lots of hassle and time fitting everything back in.
The use of wire retainers means this isn’t a problem. Look out for fast-fit, quarter turn installation, so that contractors can keep wires neatly integrated. Temporary wire retaining fingers are also available to prevent wires from moving during the installation phase itself.
It’s also worth looking out for fast and simple ways to fix the ducts themselves to the back of the cabinet, such as plunger-style screwdrivers for fixing rivets.
It is to meet all of these concerns that HellermannTyton has recently launched HelaDuct, our new suite of plastic ducting products. By listening to our panel builder customers to learn what is most useful to their day-to-day working practices, we’ve made sure they can get everything they need to insulate and protect cables in control panels within one range.
For more information about HelaDuct and other cable management solutions from HellermannTyton, please visit www.hellermanntyton.co.uk
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