Marshall-Tufflex top tips for successful cable management projects

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British cable management manufacturer Marshall-Tufflex is celebrating 75 years in business in May 2017. With age comes wisdom and a depth of knowledge that is unrivalled in its sector. Here Nick Hayler, Marshall-Tufflex Technical Services Manager, gives his top tips for successful projects:


1. Early specification

Our experience constantly reinforces the need for cable management to be considered early in the design process. The benefits are massive, allowing the most appropriate solution to be selected and ensuring installation is planned. Late decisions reduce cabling options, can create installation issues and add cost to projects. They also leave little or no time for creating bespoke solutions.

2. Understand the job

For larger contracts knowing what the architect or specifier is trying to achieve is key to delivering the correct cable management solution. The Switch House, Tate Modern’s £260m extension is a good example. Architects Herzog & de Meuron designed flush-mounted electrical accessories but with no voids for cable concealment in floors, walls and ceilings. Marshall-Tufflex’s MT Supertube was specified to feed electrical services through the 10-storey building’s concrete core, the first installation of its kind and the perfect solution to answer the dilemma of the building’s design.

3. Easy to install

Ease of installation is a key contractor requirement and should not be underestimated. It is frequently mentioned when we speak with installers; a Marshall-Tufflex trunking solution may have been specified for its design or capacity but often it is also praised for ease of installation. And this is where good, thoughtful design pays dividends; pre-punched holes, easy clip-on/clip-off lids, trunking that can be divided into two or three compartments and a full range of accessories can make a job run smoothly and deliver labour-saving costs.

4. Quality

Using cheaper trunking can be an expensive false economy, taking longer and being more difficult to install and negating savings made on purchase price. Inferior quality products will wear badly, may discolour and give rise to call-backs. A quality supplier should also provide a full range of accessories via one source and, importantly, surety of supply. No one wants a supplier/manufacturer going out of business mid-contract or being unable to provide the ordered quantities at the right time. Stocking levels, both for manufacturers and wholesalers, are also crucial to the smooth running of a contract so again, it pays to choose wisely.

5. Functionality

Knowing what type/how much cabling the trunking will carry – and understanding the environment it is going into – is vital. More data than power? Is screening required? Security an issue? Compliance with Cat 6 or higher? If so minimum bend radii will need addressing to prevent data cables being pinched, affecting performance

6. Design

Cable management manufacturers, Marshall-Tufflex included, have invested heavily in designing systems – particularly perimeter and dado trunking – that are as good looking as they are functional. Marshall-Tufflex has adopted the use of 3D printing which enables new designs to be brought to market quicker and more effectively. It also remains the only manufacturer to offer a fully curved profile with its Odyssey system, which is also available in antimicrobial BIO version, delivering a trunking solution that prevents 99.9% of bacteria growth. BIO is effective against MRSA, Klebsiella Pneumoniae, E-Coli and a range of other harmful bacterium. It is always worth remembering that a more expensive but well-designed and manufactured trunking system can work out far cheaper once labour costs are factored in.

7. BIM

For government building projects Building Information Modelling will dictate which systems can be considered, ie those that have been created as BIM objects within a recognised library. Having our range of products readily available in Revit format direct from our website or our BIM host with all the relevant parametric data enables our customers to embed our products into their designs, allowing the automatic creation of material schedules (BOMs) and ensuring the systems can be installed by the contractor with minimal fuss and no costly surprises due to clashing with other services and structures

8. Material

As a pioneer of the British plastics extrusion industry, Marshall-Tufflex is market-leader for aesthetically pleasing, cost-effective and easy to install PVC-U cable management systems. It has a solution for most applications. For more onerous projects there are aluminium, steel and GRP systems to consider. Marshall-Tufflex is currently supplying a project with perforated GRP tray to carry air conditioning pipes and cables at a seafront South Coast hotel. The GRP offers a robust, corrosion resistant solution that is lightweight yet high capacity; the perfect specification for this contract

9. Compliant product

Last but not least is the topic of compliance and compliant product. With regulations and directives such as CE Marking, RoHS, REACH, LVD to name but a few the importance of maintaining compliance is crucial to ensure safe, reliable and product fit for purpose. Marshall-Tufflex is a long-serving member of BEAMA, the leading trade association representing manufacturers of electrical infrastructure products and systems from transmission through distribution to the environmental systems and services in the built environment. BEAMA and its members ensure their interests are well represented in the relevant political, regulatory and standardisation issues at UK, EU & international levels