Gregg Ringer from Mainline discusses the need to integrate new technologies that can help eradicate problems with poor cable management, leading to more work on future projects as a result.
Overloading one power outlet with several sockets and wires not only poses a fire risk, due to the potential for the outlet to overheat, but can also present a trip hazard if not properly managed. As such, electrical engineers must think carefully about new ways in which this issue can be avoided, benefiting the end user by helping to future proof the building in which work is being carried out.
In offices in particular, where many electrical devices are required, it is all too common to come across a power outlet overloaded with several plugs and endless cables. From an electrical engineer’s perspective, this creates a safety risk on several counts – predominantly the increased potential for an electrical fire to start and also the heightened risk of a trip or fall from lengths of tangled cable.
Increasing the number of extension leads is likely to exacerbate the problem rather than overcome it so an electrical engineer will often be asked to install more power outlets to counterbalance this. The issue that can arise as a result, however, is that these too will come up against the same problem; being overloaded with sockets and cables, leading to a continuous cycle whereby the engineer must find a new solution to the re-occurring problem.
To ensure better cable management, and notably, help to make power outlet installation easier for the electrical engineer, it is worth considering the alternative ways in which a building’s power demand can be met. A track based flexible power solution provides the answer and can be used in the same way as a standard plug and socket, without the hassle associated with lengths of unruly cables. For the engineer, a solution such as this can prove to be incredibly useful in terms of cutting down the time ordinarily taken to install a power outlet.
Simple to install, a system such as this can provide access to power spanning 360 degrees of a room as it can be installed either at dado or skirting level to deliver a complete circuit. As such, the user is able to plug their electrical equipment in at any point along the track meaning cables are kept free and untangled and individual power outlets are not overloaded. This can prove to be especially attractive in situations where tangled electrical cables would make physical access in a building an issue.
It is worth remembering that due to the continuous nature of the system, it is possible to unplug a socket and insert it another point along the tracking, providing total freedom in terms of housing electrical equipment and managing wires and cables along the way too.
From an electrical engineer’s perspective, a system of this nature is incredibly beneficial on projects where the need for multiple power outlets is required as installation time can be kept to a minimum. Rather than installing one socket at a time, a track based system makes it possible to provide power throughout a room giving the user the option to plug in at any point they wish.
By introducing a system of this nature, such as that from Mainline, risks previously posed can become a thing of the past, making the solution more attractive and far safer.
The process of installation is very simple – the terminal plate is attached to the wall before connecting to the mains supply cable. The end cap is then attached at the point where the tracking system is to finish. The distance between the two is then measured and a length of recyclable PVC tracking cut accordingly.
The track can be cut on-site, again saving time and hassle for the engineer. The backplate is then screwed to the wall ready to accommodate the track, which is all that is seen after installation. Once in place, the terminal block is inserted into the copper track conductors, and covers are screwed into place to protect the system from being tampered with. The track is then dressed accordingly making it aesthetically unobtrusive.
Once in place, the user simply inserts a power socket, wherever it is required around the system, turning it 90 degrees to safely access power. A standard two metre length of track can accommodate approximately 15 sockets, depending on the load usage on that circuit, making such an installation perfectly suited to large scale projects requiring mass access to power outlets.
A track based power solution can significantly contribute to the effective management of electrical cables. Due to the speed and ease with which electrical tracking can be installed, it is possible to fit more jobs in, leading to more work and so resulting in added income. Similarly, as the use of electrical equipment is only set to rise over the coming years, more and more companies and organisations will request that track based systems are fitted as a matter of course leading to more projects as a result.
With the use of ever more electrical equipment, specifically in the workplace, there is an even greater need to ensure that cables do not cause a problem. A track based power system can help remove this concern by making a space more flexible in terms of the way it can be used ensuring that even though the cables themselves are out of sight, they are most certainly not out of mind.