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What is the difference between a cable tray and a cable ladder?

Are you about to choose a cable support unit to house your wiring for your industrial engineering plant? You may have to choose between a cable tray and a cable ladder. This choice is not simple, particularly if you don’t have sufficient information on the properties and advantages. By the time you get to the end of this article, you’ll know the difference between a cable tray and a cable ladder. You’ll have enough information to choose one for your industrial plant project. Let’s start by looking at what cable ladders are used for.

What is a cable ladder used for?

A cable ladder is the most robust option for supporting heavy-duty cables – even over very long distances. Engineers use them to distribute and carry large amounts of wiring and enhance the safety of the space in the plant.

What are cable trays used for?

Cable trays are also referred to as troughs or ventilated cable trays. A plant engineer uses cable trays during the planning phase for projects. They are considered a better option for project planning because engineers can simply lay additional cables on the tray when the project requirements evolve. It is more of a challenge to plan projects and move wiring with conduit piping. What is the difference between a cable tray and a cable ladder

What are the advantages of cable ladders?

Five main advantages of cable ladders include cost benefits, ease of cable access, increased safety, indoor and outdoor compatibility, and reduced moisture.

Cost benefits

Since the installation costs of cable ladders are low, and it takes less time to install cable trays, there are double cost savings to look forward to when you choose cable ladders.

Ease of cable access

Whether you have installed the wiring at the top of the cable ladder or the bottom, you can effortlessly access the wiring. Therefore, if you’re expecting a plant engineering inspection and need to access your wires, you will have no difficulties with cable ladders.

Increased safety

Increasing safety is another advantage of using cable ladders. The hazard of having cables trailing on the floor of a plant engineering site can be significant, but when you manage your cables using a cable ladder, you mitigate these hazards.

Indoor and outdoor compatibility 

Because cable ladders are robust, you can use them in many locations. They are suitable for indoors or outdoors and are ideal even in extreme weather. The optimal cable ladder for your project should also have corrosion-resistant properties.

Reduced humidity accumulation

With perforated cable ladders, you can also get the benefits of reduced humidity as the moisture drains through the perforations. The perforations also increase ventilation to help the wires remain cool.

What are the advantages of cable trays?

Now let’s consider the main advantages of cable trays: a better aesthetic appearance, less electromagnetic interference, and less drooping.

The aesthetic appearance of the wiring is enhanced

A significant advantage of cable trays is that the aesthetic appearance of the wiring they support is enhanced. If you don’t have a paneled ceiling, you still hide your cables and manage them effectively.

Reduced electromagnetic interference

When you choose a cable tray, you also reap the benefits of reduced electromagnetic interference to your cables, which prevents damage and increases the longevity of your wiring.

Better performance from wiring with reduced drooping

A cable tray will support heavy wiring and ensure there is no drooping. This can ensure the circuit performs well over a long time and leads to a better performance of your systems.

Where would you use cable trays?

Depending on the cable tray you select, there are plenty of locations where you can use a cable tray. You can find perforated cable trays in many industries such as hospitals, airports, and industrial plants.  You can choose a ventilated cable tray in outdoor locations, also known as a trough, with ventilated covers. Selecting the right cable tray will help it withstand severe weather elements outside.

What are the different types of cable trays?

You can select between four main types of cable trays, which are:
  • Channel type cable trays
  • Wire mesh type cable trays
  • Perforated type cable trays
  • Solid bottom type cable trays

Channel type cable trays

If you are only going to install small-scale cables or wires, the channel-type cable tray is a good option for this project. It is a metal tray with a channel through it, which is where you store your cables.

Wire mesh type cable trays

When you need to install low-voltage wiring, fiber optic wires, or wires used for telecommunication purposes, use a wire mesh type cable tray.

Perforated type cable trays

Use perforated cable trays to support power cables or control cables. A perforated cable tray is very strong and durable. It is considered a more robust option than a cable ladder and features a ventilated bottom.

Solid bottom type cable trays

Choosing a solid bottom-type cable tray can help you avoid the damaging impact of radio frequency interference and electromagnetic interference.  What is the difference between a cable tray and a cable ladder?

What are the key differences between a cable tray and a cable ladder?

Some of the key differences between a cable tray and a cable ladder include the structure, the amount of airflow and moisture accumulation, and the level of safety for your industrial plant.

How is the structure of a cable tray different from a cable ladder?

Cable trays are structured with one sheet of metal and feature slot patterns. The main difference between a cable tray’s structure and a cable ladder is that a cable ladder has two main rails and several rungs that help it carry significant loads. You can select different load-bearing types of cable trays, such as medium and heavy-duty.

How is the airflow and moisture accumulation different between cable trays and ladders?

In a cable ladder, there is maximized airflow and hardly any moisture accumulation because the structure of the ladder permits the air to flow freely. For this reason, cables stored in a cable ladder will normally overheat less than a cable tray, which has less airflow.

How is the safety level different between cable ladders and cable trays?

It is generally accepted that cable trays are a safer option than a cable ladder. You can add a cover to enhance the protection of your cables from UV rays and severe weather conditions.

Cable trays and cable ladders: Make your choice and choose the right one 

Your project depends on the right cable tray, so choosing the right one is important. Since there are several differences between these two, note which properties are best suited to your project and choose accordingly. Select Pro Support Solutions and partner MEFA to find the right cable tray or cable ladder for your project if you still require assistance. Leave nothing to chance. Complete your project with the right components and get the best results with Pro Support Solutions and MEFA.

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