Tech Talk: Nine Ways to Ensure Neat & Sweet Pro Cabling
Keeping your cables neat from the start of an installation can save you time, money and aggravation in the future.
Cable management is a major part of any professionally wired system, whether it’s an access control system, server room, video surveillance, or alarms. Proper cable management can prevent cable clutter, improve airflow, and make it easier to maintain and troubleshoot the system.
Remember how happy you are when having to service a system that is properly documented, labeled, and organized? Do the same for other techs by considering the below procedures for effective cable management.
Plan & Map Out Routes
The first step is planning. While often required on large systems, this should be done habitually on all size systems. Before you begin, take time to map out your cable runs. Determine where they will go and how they will be routed. Plan for expansion and make sure there is enough space for additional cables if needed. This will help you avoid messy and disorganized cable runs.
Label Your Cables
This is a crucial step. Each cable should be marked with a unique identifier, such as a number or letter, to make it easy to find and trace. You can use labels, tags, or even colored tape to mark. Be sure to label both ends of each cable. For small everyday jobs, consider the inexpensive and handy Hellermann Tyton RO514 Rite-On Self-Laminating Label Dispenser. For more extensive jobs, you may want to check out Brother’s PTE550W Handheld Industrial Label Printer (see Tool of the Month).
Use Ties or Velcro Strips
Cable ties or Velcro strips are essential tools for this work. They can be used to bundle and organize cables neatly, preventing them from becoming tangled or kinked. When using ties, be careful not to over-tighten them, as this can damage cables. A favorite of mine, Velcro strips are more forgiving and can be reused, making them a more sustainable option.
Route Along Cable Trays
Trays are a great way to organize and route cables neatly. They can be mounted on walls or ceilings and provide a safe and secure route. When using cable trays, plan out your runs and avoid overcrowding to help prevent tangling or causing airflow blockages.
Install Covers & Conduits
Cable covers and conduits are another effective option. They can cover and protect cables, again preventing them from getting tangled or damaged. Cable covers can be mounted on walls or floors, while conduits can be buried in walls or ceilings. When using conduits, make sure to plan for expansion and leave enough space for additional cables if needed. Don’t forget to follow the fill requirements of National Electrical Code (a.k.a. NFPA 70) when using conduit.
Keep Away From Heat Sources
Cables can be sensitive to heat and can be ruined if exposed to high temperatures. To prevent this, make sure to route cables away from sources such as servers or other equipment that generate heat. You can also use heat-resistant cable covers or sleeves.
Employ Resourceful Software
Cable management software can help you keep track of your cables and their locations. It can assist in identifying cables that need to be replaced or repaired. Some software solutions can generate reports and diagrams to help you visualize your cable runs. One of my go-to providers is D-Tools, whose applications can take your company to the next level.
Perform Regular Inspections
Regular inspections are essential to maintaining your cable management system. Inspect cables for any signs of damage, such as frayed or kinked areas. Replace any compromised cables immediately to avoid their causing potential issues or downtime.
Train Your Staff
Lastly, make sure to train your staff on best practices. Provide them with the necessary tools and resources to maintain the system and encourage them to report any issues or concerns. This will help ensure that your cable management system remains effective.
Proper cable management is essential for preventing damage to cables, reducing the risk of electrical hazards, and improving the aesthetics of the workspace. By prioritizing these procedures, you can ensure that your cables are organized and secure, and your workspace is safe and efficient.
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