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Trends to better cable routing and ID

11 October 2012

Les Hunt has discovered a variety of new products designed to make cable management and identification easier for systems and panel builders, as well as maintenance staff.

New circular cable entry plates from M Buttkereit achieve both strain relief and IP66 sealing
New circular cable entry plates from M Buttkereit achieve both strain relief and IP66 sealing

One of the most important aspects of cable management is cable identification - not just for the panel builder but for those who come afterwards to maintain or modify an installation.

Boasting something of a first for the industry, Weidmuller is now offering a marking system which can print - in ink - on metal labels - normally a task accomplished by embossing systems. The 'MetalliCard' markers are printed using a standard 'PrintJet PRO' printer, no oven or similar additional equipment required.

The system is easily customised, thanks to its ability to create layouts and import data from other systems. This printer will also print on Weidmuller's MultiCard markers using the same ink and software, so you don't need a separate system if you are using a variety of markers, both plastic and metal.

A special update kit is all you need to print on MetalliCard markers, as the actual printing process remains the same. To fuse the water-based ink to the metal substrate the card is pre-treated with a primer. A slightly longer thermal fixing time is needed, but the markers are ready for handling in under six minutes, says Weidmuller.

It is possible to create colour graphics, characters and logos to suit individual requirements, and users can choose between riveting and gluing or using stainless steel cable ties or holders to secure the metal markers. MetalliCard markers are resistant to high temperatures, UV radiation and other adverse conditions.

Rectangular and circular markers are available in sizes from 27mm x 18mm through to 85mm x 54mm, and 30mm diameter respectively, as well as a cable marking version for stainless steel cable ties. Anodised aluminium is also available if the strength and corrosion protection properties of stainless steel are not required.

Brady has also been active on the cable marking front, introducing a new line of flame retardant wire and cable identification wraps. Targeted specifically at the aerospace and defence industries, the B-472 range of polyimide wraps are self-extinguishing and prevent flame propagation.

They meet a number of industry specifications and standards, including ASTM D1000 (pressure-sensitive adhesive-coated tapes for electrical and electronic applications; Federal Motor Vehicle: FMV 302 (flammability of interior materials); ASTM E162 (smoke and flame); ASTM E662 (surface flammability of materials); SAE-AS-81531 (marking of electrical insulating materials), and MIL-STD-202G, Method 215K (resistance to solvents).

In addition to meeting these impressive specifications, Brady's new wraps also offer a number of other benefits for wire identification in extreme environments, including attack from chemicals such as solvents, fuels, detergents and lubricants, and high temperature resistance. The range is available in white or yellow, in a variety of different stock sizes, as well as in various label formats for component identification.

Cable routing
One of the biggest frustrations installers encounter is when they have to complete an installation and realise they have a need for a fitting that isn't readily available. In such a situation the only option is to fabricate on-site. Now, Legrand has introduced a novel universal bracket for its Swifts perforated cable tray that is able to replicate thousands of different traditional tray fittings. The new universal bracket solves this problem at a stroke.

The bracket, which has nine pre-determined folding points, is designed to fold easily into numerous configurations and when over-folded four or five times can be snapped to provide even more shapes. It can be used as an internal or external riser on all widths of tray from 50 to 500mm and at almost any angle. It can also be used to make a reducer, flat bend, reducing bend, tee, reducing tee, crossover, offset and reducing crossover, flange, side dropout and mid-run riser.

It is available for medium duty (MRF) and heavy duty (SRF) cable tray ranges and has the same Swifts slot pattern as its perforated tray. The brackets are quick and easy to fit and are secured using the company's quick bolt fasteners - a fast-fit system that comprises a square shafted bolt and a nut with integral washer. The bolt is easily held in position, which allows the nut to be tightened using a power tool with just one hand. 

Meanwhile, for applications requiring a high degree of protection against fluids ingress, Flexicon has extended its range of polyurethane coated flexible conduit with the launch of a liquid tight range (with IP ratings of IP66, IP67, IP68 and IP69k), that is also suitable for liquid tight applications requiring high abrasion resistance and high fatigue life.

The new liquid tight LTPPU system is particularly flexible and will even perform down to -40 degrees Celcius). It is halogen, sulphur and phosphorous free, has a smooth, wipe-clean, UV resistant outer cover that does not wrinkle when bent, and is resistant to oils and greases.

Flexicon claims to be the only British manufacturer to offer polyurethane as an alternative to PVC coated conduit, over which it does have certain, depending on the application. It is available in several different diameters, ranging from 10mm to 63mm, with a number of different liquid tight compression fittings that can be chosen to suit the preferred method of termination. It is also compatible with Flexicon's EXd conduit fittings, which are suitable for use in hazardous areas.

Incidentally, on the subject of hazardous area installation, Marechal Electric has a new range of ATEX-certified junction boxes in ten standard sizes for these special applications. The new MXBJ boxes accept up to 402 individual Exe terminals rated at 4A with 1.5mm2 cables. They are IECEx compliant and may be used in zones 1 & 2 (gas), and 21 & 22 (dust) to provide enhanced safety.

Cable retention
Achieving both strain relief and IP66 sealing, new circular cable entry plates are now available from M Buttkereit's icotek range of cable and wiring accessories. Offering an alternative to conventional cable glands, these can be fitted in both standard cut-outs or metric versions covering thread sizes from M32 - M63.

There are ten plates in the KEL-DPZ round cable entry plate range, each offering multi-cable entry facilities for cable of outside diameters ranging from 3.2 to 22.2mm. For example, they can provide high packing densities of up to 35 cables per plate, for wiring sizes from 3.2 to 6.5mm outside diameter.

According to Buttkereit, cable installation can be completed 'within seconds', as individual cables only need to be pushed through the appropriate sized grommet which is pre-formed in the elastomer sealing plate. This action will pierce the thin sealing membrane within the grommet, which also then seals the cable to IP66. A special fixing rib within the grommet ensures a centralised fit of the cable and ST plugs can be used for re-sealing pierced membranes where cables are subsequently removed or re-routed.

Finally, FDB Panel Fittings is offering new range of engineered plastic cable management products that ensure proper bend radii, while eliminating sagging, reducing pinch points and protecting cable integrity. They are available in a variety of styles and sizes, all featuring quick, easy and tool-less installation.

Their snap-in fixing is ideal for upgrades or new installations in vertical or horizontal layouts where they create a clean professional look while saving space and cost. Components fit the standard 9.5mm square cut-outs of 19in racks, as well as 12.7mm square cut-outs for more general use.

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