Cablofil has built its reputation in the UK as a market leader for steel wire tray but can the company transfer its clever design expertise to the world of PVC tray? Terry Hobson from WMB Installations Ltd gave us his verdict.
Years ago…..probably at least 20 years ago……I used a PVC tray on a job and found that it discoloured in the sun within quite a short time frame, which put me off using it ever since. But when Cablofil brought out a PVC tray I was interested to see what it could do and happy to bear it in mind if a suitable job came up. Then we won a heavy duty data cable installation job at A university in Manchester giving me the opportunity to find out more about the Cablofil system.
Obviously, a PVC system would be suitable for an external installation like this because it would avoid the risk of corrosion from rain and atmospheric moisture: that’s the first box ticked. But after my previous experience of PVC tray I needed to find out whether it would deteriorate in sunlight. ‘No’ answered Cablofil, this PVC tray is U/V resistant, so we went with it and have been more than happy with the results.
It does what?
Launched in the UK in 2011, the Cablofil PVC cable management range has been designed to provide a complete system of profiles, covers and accessories. It claims to offer optimised cabling capacity and 20% more mechanical strength than other PVC systems and we certainly found it to have a more rigid structure that makes installation easier and helps to ensure a more robust finished installation.
As you’d expect from a PVC system, it’s designed to offer a long service life, and is corrosion free, but it also offers excellent resistance to fire (class M1), chemical agents and UV, making it suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications in very wet locations (it rains a lot in the north!) and very corrosive environments. Available in both perforated and un-perforated options as either standard or reinforced profiles, the range includes 17 variants of profile in three depths (50/75/100mm) and a range of widths varying between 75mm and 600mm. The system also includes a complete range of thermoformed fittings and Cablofil has designed a clever clip together assembly system with an integral marking system for coupler installation, which is pre-calibrated to take account of temperature variations, allowing for PVC expansion.
It’s Cablofil’s usual attention to detail in designing a product to answer the needs of installers that has made the PVC system so versatile and so quick and simple to use. We used the perforated PVC tray for the University’s installation and found that it’s not only easier to cut and fabricate than perforated steel but also much more light weight, which means it’s easier and safer to use when working at height.
For this job, because it’s an exterior installation and the first time that we’ve used the Cablofil PVC system we chose to use M6 roofing nuts and bolts instead of the PVC rivets that Cablofil supply as part of the system. But the fact that we can mix and match with the system just adds to its versatility and we would certainly plan to use the Cablofil quick fixing PVC rivets for future jobs. In fact we’ve been really impressed by the wide range of accessories included in the system, especially the click in coupler that requires no screws to fix securely to the tray, and we’ve used the bends and tees, which provide really easy, tool free installation saving us lots of time on site.
Indeed, it’s the speed and ease of installation that really set this product apart. The clip together assembly is fast and accurate with no need for a screwdriver and there are lots of ingenious little touches such as the in-built cable alignment guide which makes it much easier to keep everything neat and tidy. We loved the rounded safety edge too, which removed the possibility of snagging any cables or snagging our installers’ fingers!
PVC tray might be a commodity product to a lot of people in the industry but the Cablofil PVC tray demonstrates just how creative you can be with the same core product. It’s much easier to install than perforated steel and suitable for installation where you wouldn’t normally specify steel wire tray so, for us, it pays to use plastic!
Cablofil UK Ltd
9 Ashville Way
Ashville Industrial Estate
Telephone: 0845 130 4628