The hidden gem of cable management

Developers and refurbishment specialists working within the commercial building sector have their work cut out when it comes to delivering projects to tight deadlines and even tighter budgets.

Ensuring the building or refurbishment schedule is maintained is a must for all designers, consulting engineers, installers and sub-contractors working on such schemes. It therefore stands to reason that construction products which offer time (and therefore money) saving advantages have a big impact on this market.

As specialists in the provision of cable management systems, Marshall-Tufflex is well aware of the challenges facing the commercial building sector and has worked hard to develop new and innovative products that enable quicker and more cost-effective installation of power and data networks, whether it be trunking that is designed to be easier to fit or our unique MT32 Power Connection System, which simply clicks together.

We appreciate that for many clients and end users cable management will usually represent PVC-U trunking mounted at dado or skirting level around an office or along corridors. However, we do offer other power distribution systems that are specifically tailored to the larger commercial, healthcare and education environments – our Underfloor to Desk Solutions.

Going underground

Marshall-Tufflex is a specialist in finding the answers to all the challenges posed by carrying cables from main distribution boards to final outlets or accessory boxes. The company has developed solutions for the commercial, education and healthcare sectors worldwide for a great many years. They have been successful market sectors for us and ones that we now hope to grow further following the addition of the MT32 Modular Power Connection system to the Underfloor to Desk range.

MT32 was initially launched only as an option on our cable containment ranges. However, when used in conjunction with our underfloor systems, it holds massive potential to enable design engineers to offer clients and end users much greater flexibility in the use of office space. For electrical contractors the bonus is being able to complete jobs quicker and easier, with obvious and beneficial financial implications. Feeding power and data under raised or access floors is also an architect-pleasing move, given that it negates the need for trunking on walls. Health and safety officers may also welcome the system, which all but clears offices of trailing cables.

The Underfloor to Desk range offers four options which include the Series 507 Powertrack – a traditional powertrack system that uses unwired and pre-wired floor boxes with options of plug and play or permanently hard-wired tap-offs that are key and colour-coded for easy and error-free connection. Powertrack is supplied in two versions – Standard or Clean Earth. Both are 63Amp rated and utilise snap-fit couplers.

The next option is the MT32 pre-wired and reconfigurable interconnecting systems where Steel Wire Armoured cable (SWA) cable feeds directly into an MT32 Master Distribution Unit (MDU), a nine-way underfloor power distribution unit. The MDU can be connected to as many as nine outlets (ie floor boxes or floor grommets) and can also feed an MT32 Slave Unit, which can itself service another four outlets.

In addition there is an option where the SWA cable supplies an MT32 Floor Box Distribution Unit (FBDU). The FBDU is installed at floor level, so there is no requirement for fused tap-offs below the floor. Using five Master Circuit Breakers, the FBDU can supply up to five independent circuits and, importantly, isolate each of them. This means that power can be switched off to selected zones within an office for maintenance work, allowing other areas to continue working. Alternatively, should a problem occur within one of the circuits, for example a power surge or blown fuse, the FBDU ensures the problem is contained within one zone and remaining circuits work unhindered. The FBDU carries a 32Amp-100Amp rating.

The final option is a combination of Series 507 and MT32, a solution that delivers greater floor coverage than if using powertrack alone.

Advantages

Utilising the MT32 Power Connection System in an underfloor installation has a number of important advantages that bring benefits to designers, electrical contractors, building owners, facilities managers and end users, the main one being time savings because the system is pre-wired and pre-tested and so there is no on-site cable preparation required. And, because MT32 is plug and play and simply clicks together, electricians have no hard wiring to carry out. We estimate that installers can achieve double the workload with the same resource by using MT32.

High levels of safety are another major benefit in that keyed connectors guarantee correct polarity and that cable sizes are correctly matched. MT32 is also re-usable, making it ideal for temporary applications or where layouts may need re-configuring post installation, and it is adaptable to work with virtually any other underfloor powertrack system.

In short, MT32 in an underfloor setting provides installation of complete cabling runs from the main distribution board to the final accessory, outlet or application much faster than traditional hard-wired systems. It offers high levels of safety and the ability to reconfigure power distribution should an office be refurbished or require additional power outlets, for example if extra desks are added or a mezzanine floor installed. By minimising power down time through the use of the FBDU’s circuit isolation feature, the efficiency and productivity of office environments can be protected and maintained.

MT32 underfloor in action

The MT32 modular underfloor system has recently been used with great success at a new state-of-the-art school in Lincolnshire. National building services provider NG Bailey was responsible for the installation and commissioning of all mechanical and electrical services for the new building. It needed an underfloor solution to accommodate non-standard, over-sized, interactive wire distribution boards and connectors. Lockable lids, for secure access to the boxes in a school environment, were also a priority. MT32, contained within extra deep, bespoke underfloor boxes, was specified for the project.

Marshall-Tufflex supplied MT32 steel conduit and extra deep, special order 120mm floor boxes to provide an extra 20mm depth over the standard 100mm box. The boxes were delivered with tap offs and lockable lids.

Complete solution

Electrical contractors already familiar with our underfloor systems will know that we offer complete solutions, from powertrack through to desk modules, desk and floor grommets, PowerPosts and the SnakeWay wire support system. PowerPosts are an excellent solution for delivering power and data to island locations within offices and other commercial environments. Cabling is fed under the floor to surface into the PowerPost, from where power and data can be supplied through sockets and data ports. These systems have proved especially popular with architects designing buildings with large areas of internal and external glazing and where large, uncluttered floor areas are required. SnakeWay is a hand bendable steel wire support system that lifts cables off the floor – essential where there is a risk of moisture forming on floors.

All system designs, dimensions and cable capacities meet the latest BS EN ISO standards and bespoke solutions are available through our Specialised Applications department.

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