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The Ultimate Guide On How To Protect Cables

Effective management of network and power cables is crucial to keep businesses operating, however, without the proper protection, these cables are vulnerable to damage and corrosion, which ultimately results in economic losses and compromised data. When considering the best cabling practices, it’s important to think about how to protect your cables from excess damage, which comes into consideration during the initial design stages of creating new builds or planning a re-fit.

This is your ultimate guide to exploring various techniques to provide effective safeguarding strategies for power and communication cables, ensuring their integrity, safety and performance.

What Materials Are Used In Cabling?

Power and communication cables are primarily made using copper, which is widely recognised as the standard material for cable construction as it provides several advantages over alternative materials like silver, this includes availability and cost-effectiveness. In cases where soldering is required, copper is often tinned or plated and despite silver generally being the more expensive option, it is occasionally used as a coating for copper to enhance the copper’s existing electrical conductivity which allows for efficient signal and power transmission through the cables. This is in addition to providing extra protection against cable corrosion due to copper’s naturally high ductility that allows the cables to withstand bending and flexing without compromising their structural integrity.

Other benefits of opting for copper as the main cabling material include its cost-effectiveness as it is generally the more affordable option for cable manufacturing purposes due to it being readily available. Similarly, it exhibits good thermal resistance properties and ensures the cables can be managed effectively under elevated temperatures without degrading.

For communication networks, fibre optic cables with a glass core are becoming more widely used, primarily where longer distances and higher bandwidths are required, often as an external backbone link between comms locations. Fibre optic cables are especially prone to damage due to the nature of the data being transmitted down a glass core, which is no more than 9 to 50 microns in diameter.

How Important Is Cable Protection?

Protecting power and communication cables is an essential step in maintaining the stability and reliability of information flow within modern construction. Implementing proper cable protection offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Reducing construction costs by preventing cable damage and the need for frequent equipment replacement.
  • Preventing safety hazards and financial losses associated with damaged cables.
  • Mitigating electrical noise and minimising electromagnetic radiation for a safer and healthier environment.

Cable protectors enable the effective safeguarding of cables from potential damage caused by foot traffic, vehicles, or other hazards. These protective devices are commonly used in high-traffic areas or construction sites where cables are at risk; by utilising a durable casing, cable protectors prevent them from being stepped on, crushed, or pulled.

The protectors are available in various designs and sizes to accommodate different cable types and environmental conditions, therefore significantly reducing the risk of cable damage and ensuring the safety of both the cables and the people around them.

When properly utilised, cable protectors can effectively minimise the chances of disruptions and maintain the optimal performance of the protected cables.

In essence, the importance of cable protection cannot be overstated. By prioritising comprehensive cable protection measures, construction projects can reap a multitude of benefits and ultimately enhance the initial construction efforts carried out.

How Can I Prevent Cable Damage?

There are many ways to prevent cable damage that yield significant benefits to your business; understanding your equipment and using it correctly are two important measures in cable protection.

Planning & Preparation

Failing to cable your business properly can be a major health and safety concern due to the hazardous risks involved, therefore, one of the main considerations involved in preventing significant cable damage is the design layout of the cables upon installation. By having this prior level of understanding before implementing cable structure you are able to assist with preventing damage due to overfilling cable management devices due to effective learning of how to protect cables. This includes cable management devices such as cable trays as this may have a detrimental effect and can lead to overheating, thus causing concern regarding health and safety measures as it poses a potential fire risk. Similarly, posing a potential health and safety risk is the improper usage of cable ties as over-tightening these may cause damage to the insulation and therefore compromise the cable integrity. As well as posing a potential hazard, excessively tightening the cables may result in a poorer quality signal transmission, thus reducing the effectiveness of connected devices.

Signal quality can also be affected by exceeding specifications around cable radius limitations which is particularly important for network cabling systems as this can end up causing greater financial losses, due to occurring costly repairs and replacements where significant damage has been done. Adhering to the manufacturer’s guidelines surrounding these regulations ensures that cables maintain their structural integrity.

Another thing to consider during the initial stages of planning the cabling layout is ensuring that there are specific pass-through areas to facilitate the housing and organisation of cable routing. One way of helping with this is to use grommets as some benefits of grommets include the protection of cables via extra insulation and maintaining reliability in months/ years to come.

Underground Cabling Design

When installing cables underground, it’s important to consider the protection of cables against underground influences whilst also making sure that signals can be transmitted effectively; High-density Polyethylene (HDPE) conduit can assist with this as it offers durability due to its resistance to corrosion and chemicals. Its pairing of durability and flexibility makes it the preferred choice over PVC, however, PVC is a lightweight, robust option which can be implemented as a form of protection during excavation works.

What Is The Best Way To Protect Outdoor Cables?

Protecting outdoor cables is essential due to the unique challenges they face from weather conditions and physical hazards as well as the same environmental factors that can be noted indoors from dogs and cats, with the addition of outdoor pests including rats and mice. 

Some comprehensive methods of protecting outdoor cables include;

  1. Installing HDPE

    Whilst being a useful method of protecting cabling underground, which will also assist with pest control issues, HDPE also works well as an outdoor protection method due to its durability.
  1. Employing weatherproofing measures

    Due to the electrical implications involved with cabling, it’s important to protect cables from moisture, as well as other weather conditions, by utilising weatherproof cable connectors and applying appropriate sealants where necessary.

Ensuring Your Cabling Needs Are Properly Met

Utilising implementing each of the above methods, you are able to minimise construction costs, have efficient data transmission and significantly reduce the potential health and safety risks associated with data or network cabling.

To ensure your cabling needs are met, we at Data Path are able to provide you with peace of mind knowing your cabling has been properly installed with the essential protective measures.

To enquire about our network and data cabling services or to book a FREE survey, please contact us today.