What do you know about cable trays? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. It’s a fact that you will see that it has become increasingly common to find large quantities of cables being bundled into a limited area, whether it’s the electrical wiring of a building or data and communication cables of an industry. Storing all these cables together haphazardly is not a good idea because it leads to an increase in the temperature of the cables wherein precise temperature control is critical to their performance.
Here is where cable trays enter the picture as an efficient tool that is used to manage cables and wires properly. Cable trays are employed for offering mechanical protection in settings where large quantities of cables are present. Apart from providing mechanical support, these trays also assist in facilitating the expansion, up-gradation, and reconfiguration of the cables.
Cable trays are usually either suspended from ceilings or present underground. These trays are capable of supporting wirings such as control cables, fiber-optic cables, power distribution cables, telecommunication cables, and high voltage power lines.
Installing them offers a variety of advantages, which include:
- Lesser maintenance required
- More reliable as compared to conduits
- Compatible with all types of industries
- Provide proper ventilation for the cables
Cable Tray Materials
Cable tray systems are generally made from metals with a corrosion-resistant finish applied or from corrosion-resistant metals. The choice of raw materials used depend on the electrical and corrosion considerations, installation environment, and the cost. Now, let’s look at some of the generally used materials for cable trays:
1. Stainless Steel: Stainless steel provides greater mechanical strength and higher ambient temperature. These cable trays are roll-formed from AISI Type 316 stainless steel, which offers resistance against organic and inorganic chemicals, and dyestuffs at high temperatures.
2. Aluminium: Cable trays made with aluminium are lightweight and are usually employed due to their high strength-to-weight ratio, ease of installation, limited maintenance requirements, and resistance to specific corrosive environments. Since these aluminium trays are non-magnetic, the electrical losses are restricted.
3. Steel: Steel cable trays have the advantages of low cost and high mechanical strength. However, their disadvantages include low electrical conductivity, greater weight, and poor corrosion resistance. The rate of corrosion depends upon the environment and the composition of the steel. For attaining low corrosion resistance, steel cable trays are often finished with galvanized, pre-galvanized, or hot-dip galvanized coatings.
Cable Tray Types
1. Ladder Cable Tray: This is the most commonly used type of cable tray, and it has an application span of 12-30 feet. Ladder cable trays have two side rails that are connected by rungs, which gives easy accessibility to the cables. The rungs also act as anchors for tying the cables in the non-horizontal cable tray Ladder trays usually do not have covers as this helps in the free flow of air across the cables, which allows the produced heat to dissipate quickly and efficiently.
2. Solid Bottom Cable Tray: This type of a cable tray is generally meant for fibre-optic and telecommunication applications within the span of 5-12 feet. These trays are chosen because they protect against electromagnetic interference.
3. Wire Mesh Cable Tray: Wire mesh trays, also known as basket cable trays, are made by welding stainless steel wires together, thus forming a basket-like mesh. These trays are primarily used for low voltage applications relating to telecommunications and fibre-optics. They have a short support span of 4-8 feet.
4. Channel Cable Tray: Channel cable trays are preferred in situations wherein the cables exit through the ventilation openings, and the cable channels experience vibrations. They are also used in installations where a limited number of trays are required. Channel cable trays offer economic support for cable drops and have a long service life. These trays are used for applications within the span of 5-10 feet.
Choosing the Right Cable Trays
Before purchasing cable trays, you must explore the various brands that are offering premium cable trays. Furthermore, it is a good idea to approach professionals and consult them regarding your requirements. This is because they can assist you in selecting the trays that are best suited to your facility, thus helping in the short and the long-run.
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