Cable channel for electrical wiring: types of structures and their classification

Vasily Borutsky
Checked by a specialist: Vasily Borutsky
Author: Marina Sturova
Last update: November 2019

The main purpose of the cable channels is to protect the wiring from mechanical damage, to protect against fire in the event of a power outage. At first glance, the definition of the required type of cable support systems should not cause difficulties. But when choosing, you can get lost from the widest assortment. Do you agree?

We will tell you how to choose the right cable channel for wiring, taking into account the complexity of the wiring diagram and operating conditions. In the article we presented, the most popular varieties are described in detail, their technical characteristics are given. Using our tips, you will not be mistaken in finding the best option.

How to choose a cable channel for wiring?

Even an insignificant, at first glance, characteristic of the electrical installation box may turn out to be a key factor in choosing the necessary option.

So, what properties can be considered when buying a product:

  • Material. Pay attention to safety, durability, level of protection in case of possible fire.
  • Type of construction. Cable channels for wiring can be produced in the form of smooth or corrugated pipes, tracks, trays, etc.
  • Application specifics. The characteristics of the systems used for industrial premises, private houses or equipment can vary significantly.

For example, to the fire safety of the cable box used for installation electrical wiring in wooden houses, more stringent requirements are imposed, and for wiring used in movable mechanisms, static structures will not work.

In addition, pay attention to color.This factor is relevant in the case of arranging open wiring, in which the elements of the cable channel are visible and must meet aesthetic requirements.

Cable Channel Colors
Cable channels are available in various colors. The most popular colors are white, steel, gray, black, natural wood.

Materials for cable support systems

All materials used in the manufacture of electrical boxes meet the basic requirements for safety, strength and aesthetics. But differences still exist, and they have different effects on the quality and operational properties of cable channels, their cost.

Plastic Electrical Boxes

Plastic products are designed for laying open type electric lines, both low-current and power. They can be used for wiring in residential, office, industrial buildings, administrative institutions.

They are made from PVC-based compositions with special additives that provide products with plasticity, resistance to various negative factors - the effects of aggressive chemicals and ultraviolet radiation.

PVC products can be used in the temperature range from -32 ° C to +90 ° C and can be mounted at temperatures from -15 ° C to +60 ° C.

Electro-boxes made of plastic are not subject to corrosion, are easily mounted and have a simple fastening system. They are in a low price category, due to this they deserve the greatest popularity. The shape can be rectangular (found most often), triangular, flat, with a circular cross section.

White cable channel
Cable ducts should have a glossy surface so that they can be easily cleaned of dust, and white products should not turn yellow when exposed to ultraviolet light

The material from which the cable channel is made is self-extinguishing. In the event of a short circuit using an electrical box, it is possible to minimize the risk of fire.

Products from aluminum and galvanized steel

Aluminum cable systems serve as protection against electromagnetic interference. Used for open wiring in premises for various purposes - in medical institutions, industrial enterprises, in offices.

Aluminum conduit
The assortment of aluminum cable ducts makes installation much easier, and the integrated splitter protects against electromagnetic interference.

They are made from anodized aluminum. The material helps to ensure the stable operation of telecommunication systems - it prevents the occurrence of interference, protecting against electromagnetic interference.

In addition, it is resistant to ultraviolet radiation, high temperatures. Accessories for aluminum boxes are made of painted ABS plastic or polycarbonate.

Aluminum products have a strength of up to 20 J and a long service life. This is an especially important quality for floor and industrial electrical boxes.

Metal cable channels
Metal boxes are made of cold rolled steel, hot galvanized, which protects the metal from corrosion for up to 10 years

The wiring device with the laying of lines in aluminum cable channels is made in the following order:

In order to avoid problems during the construction of the cable channel channel, all parts should be bought with one logo. Products from different manufacturers may have millimeter deviations. However, because of them, the assembled system may look messy and will not provide sufficient protection against external influences.

Types of cable channels: classification

It is customary to classify various types of cable channels intended for laying electrical wiring precisely on the basis of structural features. They, in turn, depend on the place and operating conditions.

Multi-section cable channel
For electrical installations, consisting of different types of cables and a large number of electrical equipment, multi-section designs are used (+)

Trunk electrical channels

To protect the electricity network during the construction and reconstruction of buildings for various purposes, trunk cable channels are used. They differ in a large assortment of sizes and can be used as electrical installation lines.

In the latter case, complemented by a wide range overhead wiring accessories different manufacturers. Typical sizes allow you to carry out projects of any complexity.

Box installation
The trunk or parapet cable channel is installed directly on the wall using screws, double-sided tape, adhesive solution

The complete set of the system includes boxes 2 meters long and various accessories that serve to connect the channels on straight planes, at external and internal corners, for T-shaped joints.

Cable duct systems that are planned to be used as wiring systems are complemented junction boxes, framework-calipers for the installation of sockets, switches, etc.

Mini cable channel
There are also mini cable channels that are used when wiring telephone or power lines, information cables. The capacity of such a box is designed for one or two wires

Skirting and floor cable ducts

Floor cable ducts are used in rooms with a large area, as well as where wiring passes under the floor. They help in organizing a functional workplace.

Floor constructions have a streamlined shape and are characterized by high compressive strength. To connect wiring products, columns, turret modules are used, which can be expanded, installed one on top of the other.

Skirting cable ducts with rubber seals
For a tight fit to the floor and additional protection for wiring, floor cable channels can be equipped with rubber seals. At the joints of two boxes use protective pads

Floor structures are subject to special strength requirements. The manufacturer achieves increased resistance to mechanical stress through the use of more durable materials, such as aluminum.

The design of plastic products is strengthened with the help of partitions, which simultaneously serve as forced dividers for different types of wiring.

Additional features of cable channels
Corner connectors facilitate and improve the installation of cable channels, and forced distributors provide high-quality laying of information communications

Skirting channels are used as skirting boards and are mounted around the entire perimeter of the room. To branch off the floor or wall channel from the baseboard, special adapters are used that can simultaneously serve as a junction box.

Accessories and additional features

For ease of installation and to improve the appearance, manufacturers are constantly working on improving cable channels. Sockets and switches can be installed above the boxes or in the box itself.

Multimodular boxes and caliper frames allow you to install several wiring accessories side by side. Built-in dividers in boxes and accessories prevent cable breaks in corners, and create two independent channels - for power and telecommunication wiring.

Some models of electrical boxes have a double lock, with the help of which the lid with the box is more tightly connected. This allows installation on the ceiling, as well as more tightly lay the cable inside the channel, place a corrugated pipe next to it.

In a box with a tight lid, up to 100% of the usable area is used, while systems with a single lock can be filled no more than 70%. Variable external and internal angular connectors make it possible to change the degree of angle, they are available for all sizes of boxes.

To hide the gap between the duct and the wall and to prevent dust accumulation in the duct itself, a soft seal is used, which the manufacturer fastens on the base of the duct and accessories.

The principle of wiring
It is much easier to mount the wiring if there is a holder that is installed on the partition or on the side of the box. The frame for cable ducts can be suitable for ducts with a cover width of 75 mm and for a cover 60 mm wide

Perforated plastic box

The purpose of the perforated duct is to be installed in power distribution cabinets. It is well ventilated, has a small weight, allows for accurate and aesthetic wiring. Inexpensive design is often used where the appearance of the product does not play a role.

The channels have teeth that can be removed in the right place if necessary, for example, when you insert the wire into a branch, socket or switch. The perforation pitch is designed to match the pitch of the contact clamps of modular equipment.

Perforated box
Holes on the base of the perforated duct speed up installation and increase installation quality. The teeth can be easily removed if necessary.

Flexible cable systems

Flexible cable channels can be produced in the form of chains - multisectional structures that bend in one plane along the entire length. The individual elements of the truck are interconnected by an articulated hitch. They are made of aluminum, plastic, nylon, steel and can vary in height, length and pitch.

Tracks serve to prevent mechanical damage to power, signal cables, their getting into moving parts of mechanisms. They also protect against dust and dirt, serve to lay the wiring and cable to the required distance.

Flexible cable channel
Cable channels are used for automated mechanisms, CNC machines, for connecting electrical devices installed on the doors of switchboards

Cable tracks can be open or closed. Closed cable channels for electrical wiring are used if it is necessary to provide high-quality protection against ingress of dust and foreign objects into the channel. Open energy chains are installed in those cases where it is necessary to give preference to the ease and simplicity of installation.

One of the flexible systems is also a cable channel with the function of three-dimensional circular rotation. Such channels are used to create robots and robotic mechanisms. Their design consists of separate elements, each of which, if the need arises, can be added or removed.

Flexible cable channel with circular rotation function
Protect the electrical wire inside such flexible cable channels with cable ties. The electrical channel itself is protected from tension by means of mounting brackets

Pipes for wiring

For the installation of electric wires, both ordinary PVC pipes and products created specifically for electric networks are used.When choosing a rigid or flexible pipe, take into account where the cable will be laid, its operating conditions, the need for protection from ultraviolet rays, aesthetic preferences.

Smooth PVC pipes

PVC pipes are used for the installation of open type wiring indoors or outdoors. They protect the wiring from damage, contact with moisture, and are used to increase fire safety. With the help of pipes used as cable channels for electrical wiring, the most difficult installation tasks are solved.

Pipes for electrical installation
Smooth inner walls allow pulling the wire through the pipe without the use of any devices. The cable channel from the pipe is supplemented with fittings, which facilitate the installation of the mains

Corrugated and reinforced pipes

Like other cable support systems, electrical corrugated pipes designed to protect against fire, moisture and dust, mechanical damage to the wiring.

Thanks to their flexibility, they are easy to install and do not require the use of additional accessories. They are used for laying concealed wiring for power and low-current lines.

Flexible tube with probe
On sale there are pipes with a metal probe and without it. The probe makes it easier to pull the wire after the installation of the channel. The smooth internal walls and the flexibility of the pipe make it easy to carry out installation even in the most difficult areas

The pipe reinforced with PVC is used for laying power lines and data cables of hidden and open type. It can be used in the construction of communications inside the building and on the street. Compared with a regular corrugated pipe, the reinforced one is more durable and provides better protection against dust and moisture.

It is made of a reinforcing spiral from impact-resistant PVC, and a connecting, covering spiral, plastic PVC. Since the reinforced pipe is able to withstand dynamic loads, it is often used in mechanical engineering.

Pipe holders
Pipe installation is carried out using special holders that are designed for different diameters. Several elements can be interconnected

For quick and easy connection of a rigid smooth pipe and a flexible reinforced PVC pipe, various couplings are available. They can be used for rectilinear connection, connection in different planes and at different angles. Thanks to the couplings, you can easily connect one pipe to another, to the box, to connect pipes of different diameters to each other.

The conditions for using different types of accessories may vary: some are used in indoor areas protected from moisture, others can be mounted outdoors, in humid and dusty rooms, have protection against moisture penetration during temporary immersion in water, strong exposure to a stream of water.

Protection Levels Table
Pipe selection should be in accordance with the marking. It indicates, among other things, the level of protection that pipes can provide to electric and telecommunication networks (+)

The process of installing electrical wiring in a corrugated pipe, which is produced purposefully to protect power lines, is as follows:

After completing the pulling of the electric cable through the corrugated pipe, we proceed to the installation of the wiring:

Hose for cable protection

Metal leaky sleeve is made of galvanized steel tape. It is used to protect the wiring from excesses and damage of a mechanical nature, protects against fire. Serves as a screen from electromagnetic interference.

A metal hose is recommended for wiring on flammable surfaces, including wood. The maximum operating temperature at which the cable channel +100 ° C can be used.

Metal hose
In wooden houses, wiring should be mounted only in an open way or with the full placement of the wire inside the cable channel. Fix the metal sleeve to the surface using galvanized steel staples

Hanging trays for cable systems

Metal cable trays can be used for open routing along the elements of the building - the ceiling, walls, floor. Their installation facilitates access to the electrical network during its maintenance and modernization.

They are used inside commercial, office, industrial premises, in residential buildings and in the open air. There are also tray-shaped systems made of plastic.

Wiring Trays
Various types of brackets are provided for mounting the cable support system. Their choice depends on the type of surface to which the tray is attached (floor, ceiling, wall)

Rolling metal trays

Perforated and non-perforated trays are manufactured for installation and protection of wiring. Hole systems contribute to better ventilation and prevent overheating of wires.

Metal trays for wiring
The system consists of metal trays, connecting and fastening elements, wall and ceiling brackets, dividing partitions. The range of sizes and accessories allows you to lay cable routes of any complexity

If desired, the trays are equipped with lids that are fixed with a simple press and do not require additional latches. The lock on the lid is firmly held on the tray even in the case of vertical mounting. The connection of the trays is carried out using the provided connectors "mom-dad" or connecting plate.

Swivel Plates
Special hinge plates are used to interconnect two sections of the electrical tray at an adjustable angle

Wire trays for production lines

The material of production, installation and the principle of using wire trays is slightly different from metal tray systems. The main difference between them is that the wire structures are folded with a minimum number of accessories and contribute to greater ventilation of the cable route.

Wire trays
The simple design is screwless mounted, using a screwdriver, provides easier access to information cables and wiring during operation

For mounting trays, use a special connection kit. It allows you to more securely fasten the elements of the cable system with each other. A set of wire suspension systems may include a cover that reliably holds wiring inside the cable channel, even in the case of a vertical arrangement of the route.

Using the connection kit
When installing, it is important to follow the rule: the connector head should be located on the inside of the tray so as not to damage the cable during pulling

Wires are laid in a box and secured with clamps. The design of the wire trays can be quite roomy. This characteristic is especially relevant when installing the power grid in industrial buildings, warehouses.

Rotate the wire tray
To perform a smooth rotation of 90 °, it is necessary to cut with metal scissors through one four sectors. The remaining sectors are interconnected using a connecting kit.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

Video # 1. What are the types of cable channels:

Video # 2. Installation of a skirting cable channel for electrical wiring:

Video # 3. Using corrugated pipe to protect wiring:

In the case of open wiring, in which the potential source of ignition remains not localized, the main criterion for choosing among many types of cable channels for electrical wiring should be safety.

That is why it is necessary to carefully study the technical characteristics and operating conditions of the products. Better yet, consult an electrician.

Please write comments in the block below. Tell us about how you independently laid the wiring using cable channels. Perhaps you have valuable information that is worth sharing with site visitors?

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Visitors Comments
  1. The materials from which the cable channels are made are durable and non-combustible, regardless of which option is used, whether it is plastic or metal. The choice is simply huge. The main thing is to decide what you need.Modern decorative cable channels allow you to conduct external wiring throughout the apartment, which will fit into any interior picture. If you want to lay the cable on the street - at your disposal are durable, sealed boxes and corrugations for any placement: even underground, even under water.

  2. Artyom

    I agree with the previous opinion, but only a little I will make small amendments. Cable channels of various systems are designed for a certain power of current-carrying wires and this must be taken into account during its installation and not laid in any way intended for laying low-voltage wires and antenna cables wires with high or ordinary mains voltage.

    • Expert
      Vasily Borutsky

      Good afternoon, Artyom.

      You will have to adjust your comment too - structurally cable channels limit the cross-sections of the used wires. In other words, you can’t put a cable, for example, with a 3x240 cross-section into apartment cable channels, which are considered in the article.

      Relatively high, low, other voltages mentioned by you - they do not use such categories as “Electrical Installation Rules”. All electric power industry, electricians are guided by the ranges: electrical installations up to 1000 V; electrical installations over 1000 V.

      Regarding the laying of wires of different voltages in the cable channels - see the PUE section "2.1 Wiring" (to facilitate the search - attached a screenshot).

      Please note that power engineers are guided by their own rules, signalmen, internet users and others - by their own. No one confuses their postings with “strangers”.

      Attached photos:
  3. Sergei

    I am quite happy with the standard plastic cable channels. I have trunk lines everywhere. Now there is a rather wide choice, you can take plain white, or you can try to match the color of the walls so that it is striking to a minimum. In cases where there is an opportunity, I try to do without them at all, if you can hide the cable behind the furniture or under the windowsill.