In the information age, data centers and their task of continuous, safe storage of data make them critical facilities. If the data center isn’t reliable, productivity decreases immensely. Data centers house the organization’s most vital and proprietary assets. Hence, they are crucial to the continuity of daily business operations and the power required to operate the data racks in the data centers.
A study by Uptime Institute, an advisory organization, focused on improving the performance, efficiency, and reliability of business-critical infrastructures, surveyed 1,600 owners and operators in the data center sector. Ten percent (10%) of all respondents said their most recent significant outage cost more than $1 million.
Also, nearly 34% of all respondents have had a severe outage in the past three years, causing operators’ substantial problems. (1) Hence why Cable Cleats help to provide uninterrupted, safe power in the operations of data centers.
Assurance and Insurance Bundled Together
What is a Cable Cleat? Defined by the IEC International standard, a cable cleat is simply “A device designed to secure cables when installed at intervals along the length of the cables”. (2)
When it comes to a power distribution system, the potential damage from a short circuit fault can be catastrophic ― resulting in an arc flash event at a piece of equipment or power cables whipping about violently. These types of events pose a serious safety hazard to anyone nearby at the time it occurs, either during the initial power-up or afterward.
However, worker safety and equipment damage concerns are minimized by adhering to proven engineering design criteria and meeting documented codes and standards requirements. The best way to protect personnel and equipment near power cables during a short circuit fault is to restrain the cables.
The technology used in the creation of infrastructure projects continues to receive substantial investment. Still, according to a March 2020 survey by Panduit and EC&M, the majority of electrical engineers and electrical contractors are struggling to collectively understand the full benefits of cable management in electrical design—and the risks of ignoring it. Short circuit calculations aren’t being performed, and proper cable management solutions aren’t being specified.
The result is that nearly half of the survey’s engineer respondents (48 percent) indicate that cable cleats currently protect none of the power cable they specify. Only 44 percent of electrical contractor respondents specify cable cleats’ use on their power cable designs and puts the safety, productivity, ROI, and future scalability of entire projects at risk. Seventy-two percent of contractors still depend on plastic zip or cable ties to secure cables, and another 20 percent don’t use any cable fixing system. This leaves infrastructure and workers unprotected from potentially deadly damage. (3)
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.” (4). 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 the reliability of cable cleats and ultimate protection in the event of a short circuit event. Cable in cable trays is 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 adequate guidance on how to securely contain cables in the event of a short circuit when routing cables in a cable tray. To protect electrical infrastructure when using power cables in a tray, installing an IEC 61914:2015-compliant cable cleat is the best option when facing a peak short circuit fault.
An Undefined Standard
All of Panduit’s electrical cable cleats have been third-party validated to meet IEC 61914:2015. Because they exceed safety requirements of current U.S. electrical codes, they help future-proof your project against subsequent standards harmonization. Panduit’s cable cleat solutions were designed to withstand the stress of a short circuit event using a state-of-the-art ANSYS simulation software to model the dynamic forces at play.
Also, our design and testing process has led to the development of the Cleat kAlculator™ mobile and desktop app. Many engineers do not specify cable cleats in part due to the necessary, but time-consuming fault calculations required. The Cleat kAlculator™ streamlines the process significantly by allowing engineers, designers, and installers to determine the correct cable cleat simply by inputting the cable layout, cable diameter, and peak short circuit current.
Data center optimization requires reliable infrastructure to address power, cooling, assets, and connectivity challenges. Protecting personnel and equipment should be an organization’s number one priority. With proper specification and installation of cable cleats, these solutions will support the critical goals.