Cable Tray Systems for Every Environment and Cable Type
Cable trays are the perfect solution for running large quantities of power or data cables overhead or under-floor. Also known as baskets, trunking, or cable ladders, these systems are designed to both route and provide support for vital wiring. They range from simple to highly customized, so it's a good idea to know what your application requires before you start shopping. Here's a quick rundown of a few basic tray styles and what they work best for...
Basket-Style Cable Trays
These trays get their name from the fact that they look like long baskets made of wire. Basket trays can be mounted along walls, suspended from the ceiling, and even run below raised flooring that's often found in data centers and other facilities. Their "open" structure allows air to easily flow through and ensures that cables stay well-ventilated and cool, preventing heat-related malfunctions. Typically, they're made of steel, and come in different finishes, including powder coat and zinc plating.
Solid PVC Cable Routing Systems
Designed with bend-sensitive fiber optic cabling in mind, the defining features of PVC trays are their solid floor and side walls. Unlike basket-style cable trays that have spaces between each wire rung, these are only open on the top, and their smooth, solid styling creates a perfectly even support system that makes sure delicate fibers don’t sag or get pinched at sharp angles.
Fiberglass cable trays are completely non-conductive, so they don't need to be grounded in order to meet electrical codes. They're lightweight, strong, won't interfere with signals, and are often times more resistant to UV, corrosion and chemicals than comparable metal trays.
A type of basket tray, Snake Trays are able to bend and flex in many different directions to accommodate the twists and turns your network cables need to take. The installer can bend them by hand without cutting out rungs or using any special tools, making them very convenient.
Now that you've been introduced to Cable Trays, you might be interested in some further reading. Check out how to make sure your cables stay compliant and meet the current standards, and how to combat the problem of Zinc Whiskers.