Install Cable Tray

After installing all of your equipment on the data center floor, the next step is to install your cable trays. You will need to have the following information collected and organized prior to putting this into your IT Studio drawing:

  1. Each tray requires a unique ID.  If you have not already assigned a Cable Tray ID to each tray, you will need to do this. Make sure to setup or define a system standard. For trays that carry copper, you may want to start with an identifier of 'C'. For trays that carry your fiber, you may want to use an identifier of 'F'. Another suggestion is for trays that run North and South label them with odd numbers and for trays that run East and West label them with even numbers. This will help you to identify your trays faster.

  2. How many 'T' intersection, 'L' intersection and/or cross intersection trays are there? Where are they located in the grid?

  3. What is the length, width and depth of each tray?

  4. If the tray is a 'T' or a 'L' shape, then you need to know the Style of tray, i.e., where is the bend? On the left? the right? the top? the bottom?

  5. Do the 'T', 'L' and/or cross intersections curve or not?

  6. What is the elevation from the cement floor for your tray? For example, if you have a two-foot false floor, then you might have all your cable trays installed 18 inches above the cement floor and six inches below the floor tiles.

By default IT Studio will install your cable trays in their own layer - "ITST_CABLE_TRAY" - and the default color is green. You can, of course, change this is you wish; but it is not recommended to do so.

Good data center management will have power installed in one tray in one aisle and data in another tray in the next aisle so that there is no crossover. In this section we will only be reviewing how to install cable trays for data cables. The process is basically the same for power and once you have completed the work for the data cabling, you can apply the same techniques for your power. If you are going to install trays for power, we would recommend that you change the tray color from green to another one your choosing. We would NOT recommend that you change the layer or make a new layer to accommodate power trays. Changing the color should be enough to distinguish between the two different types of trays. Of course, the final decision is up to you and what best suits your individual needs.

If you have not already done so, and are going to be gathering the above information, you may want to record your data in an Excel spreadsheet or an Access database. This will make it a lot easier for you when you go to sit down and work in IT Studio installing the trays. As an example, look at the Excel spreadsheet below:

Note: For the example above we assumed that all trays were installed at the same height.

You may wish to put together something similar. Another option is to record the data for all of the intersection pieces separately.

Once you have gathered all of your data you are ready to begin. The correct process to installing your tray system is to do all of the INTERSECTION pieces FIRST. By doing this first, you will have a much easier time of installing the straight sections afterwards as it will be a point-to-point process.

Below is the procedure you should follow in install your cable tray system.

  1. From the Main Menu, select IT Studio, then Cable Management. From the expanded menu, select Install Cable Tray. This is shown below:

  2. The following Cable Tray Installation dialog window will open to start the routine:

    Note that the first field is the Cable Tray ID field. Please note that you MUST enter an ID number. The program will not allow you to move forward in the routine without an ID number.

  3. The next field is the Tray Type. This field has a drop down arrow. Click on the arrow and you will get the following choices:

  4. To the left of the Tray Type options is a graphical representation of the different types of trays you can choose from. Included in the picture are the dimensions you will need. The default is 'Straight' and that is shown above. The remaining three are:

    1. T

    2. L

    3. Cross '+'

  5. Once the Tray Type is selected, the Tray Style needs to be selected. Tray Style is dependent upon Tray Type. If the 'T' Tray Type is selected, there are four available options for Tray Style. The default is 'Top', which was shown in the figure for 4a above and again below. If you click on the drop down arrow in this field you will get the choices shown below:

  6. As with Tray Type options, the system will give you a graphical depiction of your choice for Tray Style. The remaining three options look like this:

    1. Bottom:

    2. Left:

    3. Right:

  7. If the Tray you wish to install is curved, you will need to tick the Curved box. Shown below is an example of the Curved box ticked and how the graphical representation changes to represent that:

    As you can see, the picture has modified itself to show curves at the angles instead of a 90° join.

  8. If you select a Tray Type of 'L', then your Tray Style selections will change. The default option is 'Lower Left', which was shown in the figure for 4b as well as the picture below. If you click on the drop down arrow for the Tray Style field you will get the options shown below:

  9. Once again, you will get a graphical depiction of your choice. The remaining three options look like:

    1. Lower Right:

    2. Upper Right:

    3. Upper Left:

  10. As pointed out above, if the Tray you wish to install is curved, you will need to tick the Curved box. Shown below is an example of the Curved box ticked for a 'L' Tray Type and how the graphical representation changes to represent this choice:

  11. The last Tray Type, 'Cross +' does not have Tray Style options; however, it does have the Curved option. If you select a Tray Type of 'Cross +' and tick the Curved box, your dialog window will look as follows:

    All four 90° corners or intersections have been replaced with curves.

  12. After having selected the Tray Type, Tray Style and the Curved option, it is time to input the dimensions of the tray in the Tray Size fields.

  13. For 'T' and 'L' trays the assumption is made, and therefore the fields default that way, that Width and Length are factors of one another. In other words, the length is twice the width, or L = 2W. If this is not the case at your installation, you simply need to input the correct data into the appropriate field.

  14. For 'Cross '+' ' trays, the assumption is that the Length is three times the width, or L = 3W. As stated above, if this is not the case at your data center, you need to input the correct data into the appropriate field.

  15. Depth refers to the depth of your tray in inches. For metric customers, the depth is measured in millimeters.

  16. Elevation refers to the height of the tray from the cement floor in inches. For metric customers, Elevation is measured in millimeters.

    Note: Make sure you turn off Object Snap so that the tray is inserted at the correct elevation. Leaving Object Snap on will cause the tray to snap to that point, regardless of the Elevation input.

  17. To the right of the Tray Size information, you can see that the default Cable Tray Colour is green. It is NOT recommended that you change this, unless you are also installing other trays for power. If you wish to change the color, then you would click on the 'Change Color' button and make your choice from the options available.
  18. You can now click on the 'OK' button.

Example - Install Cable Tray

As an example, we will use the drawing shown below to install a cable tray system:

The cable tray system we wish to install has the following information:

  1. Following the process described from Step 1 at the start of this section, install cross sectional pieces first. Each time you complete your placement of a tray piece, the routine will open the Cable Tray Installation window for you in order to streamline the install process. Your drawing will look as follows:

  2. Use the AutoCAD Draw command to insert the Tray ID text to each cross sectional piece. This will help you to identify each tray piece.

    Note: This will be enhanced in a future release to be automatic.

  3. Your drawing will now look similar to the below:

  4. Now that you have installed all your 'T', 'L' and or '+' pieces, you are ready to install your straight trays. When you have completed the placement your last intersection piece, you should click on the 'Done' button instead of the 'OK' button so that you can review your placements.

  5. From the Main Menu again, select IT Studio, then Cable Management from the drop down menu and Install Cable Tray from the fly out menu. (This was shown in Step 1 above.)

  6. The Cable Tray Installation dialog box will open. Remember that you MUST enter an ID number. The program will not allow you to move forward in the routine without an ID number.

  7. Tray Type will remain Straight and Tray Style remains blank (the system will not allow you to use this field anyway when you are installing a Straight tray).

  8. The Tray Size dimensions will need to be updated to reflect the same Width and Thickness as the intersection pieces. Additionally, you will need to update the Elevation field so that the tray is installed at the right height from the cement floor. If you try to install and connect a straight tray at a different elevation from the intersecting pieces, you will get an error message.

  9. You do NOT need to update the Length field (you will notice it is "greyed out" anyway) as you will be doing a point-to-point connection in your drawing.

  10. Once you have entered you Width, Depth and Elevation numbers, click on the 'OK' button.

  11. You will now be returned to you drawing. In the text box at the bottom of the screen, IT Studio will ask you to: "Select Lower Left Corner for Cable Tray". This means the point when the lower left hand corner of the tray is running horizontally. This orientation point does not change. For example:

  12. You need to pick a point on the first intersection piece you wish to connect by clicking on it with your left mouse button.

  13. Then you will be asked to: "Select End Point for Cable Tray".

  14. Now pick a point on the intersection piece you wish to join to the first one by using your left mouse button. IT Studio will install the Straight tray and the two intersection pieces will be joined.

  15. IT Studio will automatically open the Cable Tray Installation window for you. Continue the process until all your intersection pieces are joined.

  16. When you have completed your last join, instead of clicking on the 'OK' button, you would click on the 'Done' button. Your drawing will look similar to the below:

  17. Use the AutoCAD Draw command again to add the Cable Tray ID numbers to the straight trays.

  18. Once you have your Cable Tray System installed you are now ready to edit connections.