A Complete Guide to Industrial Cable Management & Metal Framing

The management and organisation of cabling and wiring forms a core basis in every employer’s safety plan. From electrical to optical wires, every individual cable must have the appropriate protection and system in place to ensure the safety of the premises and staff. This guide discusses the range of easily accessible industrial cable management ideas and systems to support your business.

What is Cable Management?

Cable management refers to the organisation of electrical and optical wires. The term refers to the simple process of putting together wires, whether at home or at an industrial site, with an appropriate, organised system for safety. Common terms used to refer to the same systems are cable setups or wire management.

Why are Cable Systems important?

When manufacturing and construction companies require a large volume of wires, it is important to ensure that there is an efficient system in place to organise these. There are strict health and safety regulations within the sector which must be adhered to and include the management of cables.

Due to the risk of employee injury by tripping on wires or wires becoming unsafe due to damage, it is a requirement of all facilities managers to ensure safety policies are in action to limit the risk of injury due to cabling. A risk assessment should note which hazards cables could pose within the workplace which then allows for management to identify the best solutions for the safety of their staff.

Practicing cable management solutions also prevents the damage of cables used to operate expensive and essential machinery within the workplace. Depending on the industry, cables can be the core of a business. Such is the case for factories as, if there is a damaged cable that causes equipment to stop working, this could cost the business a significant amount due to emergency repair fees and production ceasing until the issue is resolved. The probability of encountering these problems can be minimised by employing effective cable management systems that limit the risk of damage to electrical wiring.

Industrial Cable Management

Industrial cable management is a common requirement for facility managers as premises within this sector usually have large cables to operate machinery. Often, these machines and tools have been used for many years due to their specialist and costly nature. This makes cable management even more of a priority as damaged or weakened cables could stop machinery from working accurately and cost a substantial fee to fix. Another larger concern is the health and safety for workers on industrial sites. With large cables comes more risks and hazards. Cable management can offer protection of staff by organising wires safely to clear floor space and by protecting wires from damaging due to lack of accurate storage.

Common cable management systems for the industrial sector include cable trunking systems where they are protected by a steel trunk making them less prone to wear and tear and also less likely to trip or become tangled within wires. Cable tray systems are also used for industries where machinery is large and cables need to be ideally kept at a height.

What Types of Cable Systems are available?

Cable Ladder Systems

Cable ladder systems can be used for heavy loads of cables. They are particularly useful for industrial sites that require efficient management systems to support their workforce, and adhere to health and safety regulations. They are used as support for cables and not as enclosures that give full mechanical protection. Therefore, ladder systems should be used alongside other specialist products to offer a complete cable system.

Cable ladder systems offer a range of specifications for workplaces allowing you to install the most suitable management system for your industry. You can find complete cable ladder systems ranging from 50mm deep light duty ladders to 150mm deep extra heavy duty ladders in UK and Europe. These cable systems can also be designed with varying materials and finishes from stainless steel and mild steel hot dip galvanised (an industry standard). Specialist suppliers, such as Metsec, will also offer bespoke finishes upon request by using a chemical cleaning process and passivation of stainless steel parts.

A responsible manufacturer and supplier will ensure that the system is in compliance with safety regulations, such as the BS EN 61537:2007, that are regularly tested for their capabilities. Metsec’s cable ladder systems are supported by independent testing at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde. You should always ensure that a cable ladder system undergoes regular testing to ensure its safety.

Benefits of Cable Ladder Management

  • For industrial sites using large machinery and a vast amount of cables, this system provides an effective way of organising wires and cables that helps to minimise risks within the workplace
  • Offers an effective solution for companies where their risk assessments have noted a problem with exposed and tangled cables that could cause health and safety problems
  • Increased productivity as staff can easily access what they need without having to navigate around exposed cables
  • Maximised work space as cables are neatly stored within the cable ladder system
  • Finishes and design can be made bespoke to suit the exact requirements of the industrial premises

Things to consider with a Ladder System

  • Ladder systems provide cable support only and are not designed to provide full mechanical coverage and protection
  • Cable ladders should not be walked on or used as support by a person are they have been manufactured for the storage of cables only
  • In order to protect your return on investment, consider business expansion plans as you will need to ensure your cable system gives the opportunity for additional cabling when required

Cable Trunking Systems

Cable trunking is a sealed system which has rectangular cross sections with adjustable elements. These systems are designed to protect cabling in the workplace, maximise space, and improve safety.

Benefits of Cable Trunking Systems

  • Ideal for the IT industry as the system offers support and coverage for multiple wires
  • The management system is flexible offering a long lasting solution as businesses can alter the positioning of cables when required, for example if new systems are being installed
  • Increased productivity as staff can easily navigate around their workspace due to better organisation
  • Improved health and safety as there is less risk of wires being tripped on or becoming damaged because they are organised into a system which provides coverage and protection

Metal Framing Systems

These frames consist of single and combination channels, brackets, nuts, and fasteners. The use of these components creates the framing system, therefore each part needs to be installed accurately to ensure the system is safe and functions correctly.

Metal Framing Systems should comply to BS 6946:1988, also known as the British Specification for metal channel cable support systems for electrical installations. This regulation ensures the safety and effectiveness of metal framing systems, reassuring you that your cable management is fit for purpose.

Benefits of Metal Framing Systems

  • There are a variety of options to support different industries. Metsec’s metal framing range includes single and combination channels, assembly brackets, channel nuts and fasteners
  • Reliable framing systems comply to BS 6946:1988. This is also known as the British Standard Specification for Metal channel cable support systems for electrical installations
  • Prefabrication services can be provided to reduce waste, improve the safety of a workplace environment, and provide frames that meet customer specifications by providing cut-to-length services, design support, and prefabricated frames

How are Metal Frames Designed and Manufactured?

In most cases, metal framing can be made bespoke or ordered with specific requirements, as every construction has set guidelines that the frames must adhere to and meet in order for a project to be successful.

Companies like Metsec have metal engineering experts that design and construct framing systems upon a customer’s request to deliver high quality systems that will deliver their purpose.

Where to find Cable Management Systems?

To purchase cable management systems, it is best to contact a reputable supplier who adheres to BSI standards and specifications. Every business from industrial sites to offices have their own unique requirements which the management system needs to cater for. As a result, it is always recommended to speak with experts who can provide you with the most suitable cable management solutions.

Cable management goes beyond simply organising wires; they provide large and robust systems which can carry bulky and heavy items to prevent safety hazards in a work environment. Where large machinery is being used in factories or industrial site, there needs to be a safe cable management system in place to protect employees, minimise health and safety risks, and utilise floor space. Discover cable trays, ladders, trunking systems, framing systems and more to find the most suitable option for your business. Contact metsec experts for support and advice on cable management today.