Mesh Cable Tray as a Conduit Alternative
James R. DukartCalling it a lower-cost, lower-risk and faster install, Wiremold offers its Cablofil Wire Mesh Cable Tray as a conduit alternative, citing five reasons why mesh cable management beats conduit installation.
Those five reasons include: fewer parts; a bolt cutter as the only install tool; adaptability to any installation; ease of forming sweeps and bends on-site; and, finally, single-person installation capability.
Expanding a bit further, mesh cable management beats conduit, Wiremold says, because it is much simpler to design, manage and install. While conduit requires special pieces to make corners, t-fittings, up and down angles and intersections, installers of cable tray simply cut the mesh to the desired configuration.
Beyond installation, moreover, mesh cable trays allow for on-site and as-needed modification of cable pathways in, for instance, cases such as the installation or removal of equipment.
The company further points out that cable management sometimes gets relegated to one of the last considerations in new construction or retro-fits, and thus the adaptability of cable trays over conduit is another benefit; trays and pathways can be adapted to other buildings systems and equipment, whose final destinations, elevations and specifications may not always be known in advance.
Open mesh cable trays also offer ventilation and cooling of cable and wire, a consideration that may be important in heat-sensitive structures such as data centers or manufacturing facilities.
Finally, unlike conduit, mesh cable trays do not carry the risk of trapping moisture or transporting gases, and conductors within conduit cannot dissipate heat as readily as those installed in open wiring, which might effect the capacity of conductors, particularly if many are installed in a single conduit. And when installed and grounded correctly, wire mesh cable management significantly reduces electromagnetic disturbances. The steel structure of the tray absorbs electromagnetic interference and drains the disturbance away from cables causing minimal effect to the connected equipment.
Wiremold claims on its website that contractors can save up to 30 percent on installation costs and up to 70 percent on commercial installations using cable tray over conduit. The savings, the company says, come not only from ease of installation and reduction in pre-engineering parts ordering, but also in reduced training needed to install cable tray versus conduit.
Photo courtesy of Legrand/Wiremold