2Cable Tray Systems; NEMA-VE 2-1996, MetalCable Tray Installation Guidelines; and NEMA-FG-1998, Nonmetallic Cable Tray Systems.
According to OSHA 1910.399, a cable tray system is“[a] unit or assembly of units or sections andassociated fittings forming a rigid structural systemused to securely fasten or support cables andraceways. Cable tray systems include ladders,troughs, channels, solid bottom trays, and other similar structures.” Cable trays are not raceways, but theyare treated as a structural component of a facility’selectrical system. Cable trays are a part of a plannedcable management system to support, route, protectand provide a pathway for cable systems. Cable trayssupport cables across open spans in the same waythat roadway bridges support traffic.Cable trays can provide a safe component of a power,low voltage control, data or telecommunications wiringdistribution system. Cables in trays can be easy tomark, find, and remove. Their flexibility makes cabletrays a good choice for installation situations thatrequire upgrading, reconfiguring, or relocation.Cable trays are available in a number of differentconfigurations, including ladder, ventilated trough,ventilated channel, solid bottom, wire mesh, single railand other configurations. They come in a wide varietyof shapes and sizes, with a host of hanging options thatare able to meet almost any installation need. Cabletrays are manufactured of steel, stainless steel,aluminum and fiber reinforced plastic (FRP). Theyalso are available with special finishes including polyvinylchloride (PVC) coated and galvanized finish.A significant portion of cable trays used in industrytoday are aluminum. Aluminum, steel and coated-steelcable trays, all being metallic, may be used asequipment grounding conductors in accordance withOSHA 1910.305(a)(3)(iii). This requirement ismirrored by the guidance provided by NEC Section392.3(C). Depending on the need, covers andventilated louvers or slats are available for all trays.Covers physically protect the cables as well asshielding the cable jackets from the sun’s ultravioletradiation when used outdoors. Suitable guards or covers must be installed to a minimum height of 2.5m(8 ft.) above grade such as where cable trays areexposed to physical damage from vehicular traffic.Ventilated louvers also protect the cables andfacilitate cooling by allowing natural convection (heatdissipation) to occur.
Cable Tray Use
Cable trays can be used in a variety of settings.Cable trays can be rated for outdoors, indoors,corrosive and classified hazardous locations, andareas with high electrical noise and vibration. Aswith any electrical equipment, cable trays and thewiring contained in the trays must be listed, labeledor otherwise approved, pursuant to the requirementsof 29 CFR § 1910.303(a). The National ElectricalManufacturers Association (NEMA) Standard VE1-2002 provides guidance for metal cable trays andassociated fittings designed for use in accordancewith the rules of the NEC. NEMA Standard VE 2-2006 addresses shipping, handling, storing, andinstalling cable tray systems; it also providesinformation on cable tray maintenance and systemmodification. Compliance with these standards helpsto ensure safe loading and the electrical continuity of cable tray systems.Cable trays may be designed to cross through partitions and walls, as well as go vertically through platforms and floors.However, where cable trays (and the conductorsand cables they contain) pass through fire-rated partitions, walls and floors, appropriate fire-stops
Figure 1. Ladder cable tray, ventilated cable tray,solid-trough cable tray.