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.

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“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:

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