How to Select the Right Cable Cleat

Choosing the correct cable cleat to protect your project will assure optimal performance, reliability, and quality. Panduit has solutions to suit a variety of environmental conditions, industrial applications, and short circuit fault current requirements.

Having the right cable cleat provides restraint and protection in the event of a short circuit fault. Panduit has developed the Cleat kAlculator™ to help engineers, designers, and installers determine the correct cable cleat for their application.

To simplify this selection decision, three easy steps allow users to:
  1. Select a cable layout
  2. Input cable outer diameter
  3. Input peak short circuit current

The Cleat kAlculator™ is available for download in the Apple Store
or Google Play.

When Selecting Cable Cleats, Consider a Variety of Factors

Cable Layout: How the cables are arranged and secured will determine which cable cleat fits them best.

Cable Outer Diameter: The diameter of the cable determines what the correct size of cleat is and is also required for calculating the short circuit forces the cleat could face.

Peak Short Circuit Current Rating in kA

Cable Tray Rung Design and Spacing

Environment Performance: The cable cleat should have the material and specification features needed for it to withstand the elements it will face. Examples include flame rating, extreme temperatures, or chemical and corrosion resistance.

Using this data, force between conductors during short circuit event can be calculated and the correct cleats at appropriate spacing can be determined. Cleat spacing is always a function of the peak kA, distance between the centers of neighboring conductors, and the rated strength of a cleat.

NEC 392.20(C) and The Cable Tray Institute provide guidelines for securing cable on horizontal and vertical runs, but cable cleat spacing is determined by the calculated forces during a short circuit fault. For horizontal, vertical and radius sections of the cable run, additional cable restraints beyond the minimum cable cleat requirements may be required for proper cable management. 

Panduit’s extensive line of cable cleat solutions provides various options to fit the needs of the project and provide job productivity, reliability, and safety. Panduit recommends the following solutions: stainless steel locking strap cleat, stainless steel buckle strap cleat, stainless steel trefoil cleat, and aluminum and polymer cleats. These cable cleats are designed to perform in a wide range of harsh environments, reduce material cost, and reduce installation time.

Lab tests performed on Panduit cable cleats verify strength of cleats and provide a baseline rating, in addition to being validated at a third-party test facility to ensure they perform to specifications when needed.

The simple and intuitive design leads to increased productivity, and they are compatible with a variety of ladder racks and cables.
To learn more about Panduit’s line of Cable Cleats and to download the The Cleat kAlculator™ visit Panduit.com/cablecleat

Short Circuit Events and the Havoc They Wreak on Infrastructure Projects

Why NEC 392.20(C) leaves you unprotected

There are many ways for a short circuit fault to develop, and they can happen anywhere along the electrical distribution system. Short circuit faults occur when an abnormal connection between two nodes of an electric circuit is made.

During a short circuit fault, maximum electromechanical stress between conductors occurs at or before 0.005 second. Current levels in these events can range upwards of 200 kA. In the worst case of a 3-phase short, magnetic field induced repulsive forces between the cables can range upwards of 10,000 pounds.

When a short circuit fault occurs, tremendous magnetic forces repel the power cables from each other resulting in violent forces that damage everything in their path. Typical circuit breakers and other protection devices trip and interrupt a fault between 0.06 to 0.1 second, leaving just enough time for substantial damage to occur.

Cable cleats reduce damage and rework by performing their function within those first 0.005 second (i.e. at peak kA) before a circuit breaker trips and interrupts a fault, making them the best option for short circuit mitigation.

Without the use of a cable cleat system, there is no protection for the employees or equipment in a facility when the short circuit forces are at their peak prior to a circuit interrupter engaging. To avoid potentially severe damage to the facility and infrastructure, as well as personal injury, cable cleats are used to restraint cables during short circuit events.

Cable tray systems provide more design flexibility and can be easier to install than traditional pipe and wire but must be properly engineered for protection against short circuit faults. Cable tray applications are only a safe and viable solution when paired with the right cable cleat.

Specifying and installing the right cable cleats when electrical infrastructure is first established is paramount to setting projects up for success. While metal conduit is often used in several areas of a project to distribute power, it is also often distributed by cables in a cable tray system.

In the U.S., NEC 392.20(C) is the National Electrical Code that governs the safety of the cable installations in cable tray. NEC Article 392.20(C) states: “Parallel connected single conductor cables shall be securely bound in circuit groups to prevent excessive movement due to fault current magnetic forces.”

While NEC 392.20(C) includes language for securing cables during a short circuit fault, it does not specify how to design the proper containment system to meet those forces. Often the lack of clear guidelines on short circuit protection in the NEC results in inadequate or no cable containment
to protect against short circuit events in tray cable installations. Europe has been utilizing cable tray systems for several decades and leads the industry in design standards and best practices.

As such, the IEC 61914:2015 standard provides the testing methodology and process to ensure reliability of cable cleats and ultimate protection in the event of a short circuit event. Cable in cable trays are only a safe and viable solution when paired with the right cable cleat solution to protect against short circuit events.

Unfortunately, NEC 392.20(C) does not currently provide specific guidance on how to securely contain cables in the event of a short circuit when routing cables in a cable tray. To protect the electrical infrastructure when using power cables in a tray, installing an IEC 61914:2015 compliant
cable cleat is the best option when protecting against a peak short circuit fault.


To learn more about Panduit Cable Cleats, visit www.panduit.com/cablecleat

Selecting the Right Cable Cleat has Never Been So Easy

Panduit launches new Cleat kAlculator App that helps design engineers select the correct cable cleat in three simple steps

Selecting the right cable cleat can be a time-consuming process since the key parameters in selecting a cable cleat are cable diameter and short circuit current rating is a complex mathematical equation. The turnaround time to provide a cable cleat recommendation based on these inputs can be lengthy often involving consultation with the cleat manufacturer.

Panduit is proud to introduce the Cleat kAlculator™ App developed for ease of computing and determining what cable cleat is correct for power distribution applications in Oil & Gas, Data Center, Rail Infrastructure,  Alternative Energy and anywhere power is distributed via tray cable.

Balaji Kandasamy, Director of Engineering at Panduit saw the need for this app in August 2018 and spent 20-30 hours per week to figure out the numerous calculations and algorithms to incorporate into an app available for iPhone and Android devices. “There was a problem that needed to be solved for engineers and this is where I came up with the idea to produce an app”.

The app has been built and coded to review thousands of cleat calculations that are available and ultimately recommends Cable Cleat Part Number and Cable Cleat Installation Spacing based on cable diameter and peak short circuit diameter.

The recommended solutions provide:

  1. Multiple Cleat Options
  2. Cleat installation spacing for IEC 61914:2015 Compliance
  3. Level 1 and Level 2 fault installation recommendations

After numerous hours of coding and building out the app, this revolutionary tool will aid engineers in specifing cleats for their projects. This won’t be the last thing you see from Kandasamy, “I have curiosity and love to learn about new things. This is what led to me to develop this app”. By the end of 2019, Panduit will introduce a desktop version to compliment the app.


To download the Cleat kAlculator app, visit: www.panduit.com/cablecleat,  Apple App Store, or Google Play

Having Cable Cleats Now Helps Prevent Re-Work Later

Cable cleats are like home or automobile insurance – you hope you never need to rely on them. And like insurance, cable cleats are an investment worth having. Too often the decision makers involved with industrial infrastructure projects choose to weigh this risk incorrectly, focusing on their bottom line instead of the costly rework a short circuit event without cable cleats can cause.

Future-proofing is a popular subject in the EPC community, but usually the use of cable cleats is not associated with being an effective way to future proof projects in harsh industrial environments. When contractors follow cable manufacturers recommendations and utilize cable cleats accordingly, an opportunity exists to avoid costly disasters that set projects back for years. Instead of taking a risk that can result in costly re-work – the replacement of cables, additional labor time, the cost of operational downtime – EPCs can leverage cable cleats as an effort to prevent these devastating incidents from occurring.

Short circuit events are particularly prevalent in the harsh environments that cable cleats are built and designed for. While it’s become a popular exercise for projects to attach cables to an aluminum rung and aluminum cable tray, what can be overlooked is that these cables are typically copper with steel padding, meaning that once they are affixed and the temperatures change, warping occurs, and short circuit events ensue. This results in an initial explosion, an ensuing catastrophic explosion, and cables being forced from their tray and into unpredictable directions to cause damage to materials, personnel, and anything else in between. This can put any project behind schedule for years, not to mention inflate its cost and leave behind a shaken workforce. Time doesn’t discriminate against this happening in any stage of a project’s lifecycle, but Panduit has built solutions that can accommodate this expected and typical thermal expansion.

Panduit cable cleat products for short circuit protection are designed to perform in a wide range of harsh environments, including industries like Oil and Gas, Power Generation, Mining, and Shipbuilding. Not to mention, they adhere to IEC 61914, the international standard that will soon harmonize with the go-to U.S. NEC standards. Panduit recommends the use of its cable cleat offerings – stainless steel locking tie cleats, stainless steel strap cleats, and clamp-style cable cleats – for many reasons, but one way they benefit EPCs is through their ability to allow for future proofing by preventing short circuit events from ever occurring and costly rework ever being needed.
For example, to prevent damage to cables and mounting brackets to secure the tie to various styles of ladder rack, stainless steel locking tie cleats should be leveraged. Suited for lower to medium peak short circuit current requirements, these cleats have a reduced installation time because they are installed using a manual or battery-operated installation tool.

Also featuring a polyurethane cushion sleeve to prevent damage to cable and mounting brackets to secure the strap to various styles of ladder rack are stainless steel strap cleats. A manually-operated installation tool makes their installation quick and they are suited for a broad range of peak short circuit current requirements, including some of the higher peak kA requirements.

A widely used cleat solution, clamp-style cable cleats are also suited for a broad range of peak short circuit current requirements and are the most durable for high peak kA requirements.

Cable cleats aren’t currently top of mind when it comes to developing industrial infrastructure projects, but they certainly should be. They are a crucial barrier to minimizing disruption and damage to personnel and property, and they allow EPCs peace of mind.

Set your project up to avoid disaster and remain compliant with short circuit protection

When the decision is made to launch infrastructure projects, the engineers responsible for their design undoubtedly look forward to seeing their vision come to fruition. They want to create a lasting impact, and they want to help those needing their work, but there are several ways for projects to go wrong before they can benefit those they’re being worked on for.

It is imperative that engineers know how to protect their designs, and at the forefront of avoiding significant setbacks is the prevention of short circuit events. By preventing these occurrences downtime can be reduced, damage to equipment can be avoided, and the workforce can be protected from significant injuries or death. However, when it comes to short circuit event protection, the U.S. is far behind Europe and Asia.

When it comes to U.S. electrical code, like NEC, cable cleats are not mandatory like they are elsewhere in the world. While they are designed and tested to ensure the retention and support of cables, the U.S. has lagged in the benefits. The approach to cable cleats in North America historically has involved just throwing cables into a tray with no coding, meaning if a short circuit event occurs, the cables and cable trays will fly out and immediately cause catastrophic damage. This is especially common when it comes to thermal expansion, which Panduit has created solutions to be properly ready for.

However, internationally the IEC 61914 standard has been adequately used, especially in Europe and Asia, to calculate the forces between two conductors in the event of a significant fault in order to specify the correct type of cable cleats being used in those regional projects. This European standard, not officially used on U.S. soil, especially helps with cable routing in harsh industrial environments.

Fortunately for the U.S. this disparity won’t always be the case. As American projects continue to experience setbacks because of their struggle to anticipate thermal changes and expansion, the future holds the likelihood of standards migration and harmonization. By anticipating this change, EPCs can future proof their projects to remain compliant while avoiding the disasters that come from short circuit events.

Panduit recommends the use of its cable cleat offerings – stainless steel locking tie cleats, stainless steel strap cleats, and clamp-style cable cleats – for many reasons, but one particular way Panduit benefits EPCs, is through their ability to allow for future proofing.

Stainless steel locking tie cleats feature a polyurethane cushion to prevent damage to cables and mounting brackets to secure the tie to various styles of ladder rack. These cleats are suited for lower to medium peak short circuit current requirements and can be installed using a manual or battery-operated installation tool, which helps reduce installation time.

Stainless steel strap cleats also feature a polyurethane cushion sleeve to prevent damage to cable and mounting brackets to secure the strap to various styles of ladder rack. These cleats are suited for a broad range of peak short circuit current requirements, including some of the higher peak kA requirements. A manually-operated installation tool provides quick installation.

Clamp-style cable cleats are a widely used cleat solution also suited for a broad range of peak short circuit current requirements and are the most durable for high peak kA requirements.

Not only do these offerings allow the EPCs who use them to rest assured that their projects will be successfully completed without short circuit events, but they will also be given the peace of mind that comes from knowing their project will be compliant and need no re-work when international standards are harmonized and migrated here to the U.S.

This means that, not only will the engineers creating infrastructure project designs be assured their vision won’t be altered by the potential for a short circuit event, but they’ll also know and be assured that their vision will stay intact for the duration of its lifecycle because of its adherence to any impending standards harmonization and migration.

Short Circuit Faults – Are You Protected?

When running power cable through a facility using a ladder rack, the design considerations on how to affix the cables to the ladder arise. Options such as nylon cable ties, stainless strapping, cable cleats, tie wire and, believe it or not, even doing nothing at all, are all practices that have been witnessed in the field. In addition to cable management, engineering firms must also consider the implications of a short circuit fault as part of the design process. When a short circuit fault occurs, tremendous magnetic forces repel the power cables from each other resulting in violent forces that damage everything in their path.

Continue reading

“Life is Not a Malfunction!” Don’t Let a Short Circuit Affect Your Cabling

Nathan Pascarella, Global Solutions Manager, Energy

Nathan Pascarella,
Global Solutions Manager, Energy

Although there are no similarities between the 1986 movie Short Circuit and a short circuit explosion, the quote from the movie holds true. Life is not a malfunction and neither should your cabling infrastructure. Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) communities are tasked with the responsibility to deliver robust, reliable physical infrastructure solutions that safely and securely route, manage, and protect (the 3-phase AC) medium voltage cables.

These cable installations are often deployed in harsh environments and reside close to personnel, making it critical that the health and safety of workers and equipment is protected. Common applications include:

Continue reading