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Raise the Floor!

Legrand demonstrated the flexibility of its cable management offering by solving a major headache for BAE Systems at its armoured vehicle manufacturing plant in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The global defence and aerospace company wanted to double the capacity of a 2,000 sq m open plan office, but was restricted by an ageing flush floor system and the inability to re-house half of its 300 staff during the work.

After carrying out feasibility studies for several different solutions the Legrand team decided that the only workable option was its new raised floor cable management system, Soluflex.

Nigel Leaver, a Legrand marketing manager, explained: "The job of updating the existing flush floor trunking was simply not an option due to the disruption the work would have caused to BAE Systems and its staff and the fact that once complete, the new system simply wouldn't have provided the kind of flexibility required.

"In contrast, our Soluflex system is designed for just this kind of project. It takes the hassle out of installation and delivers a high-quality solution that has the flexibility to be added to and reconfigured quickly and easily."

The fully recyclable system, which comprises raised steel floor tiles and recycled polypropylene supports that integrate with connection points for power and data, is installed simply by placing supports on the floor and then clicking the durable steel tiles into place - a process that requires neither glue nor screws.

In this instance it was simply laid over the concrete floor at a height of 90mm in order to allow for dual circuit Power Track underneath and bespoke RCD floorboxes to be fitted within it. Legrand also manufactured special blanking-off covers to install over floorboxes from the old system in order that the new system could be laid easily over the top of them.

"The installation was able to be completed only metres away from occupied workstations."

And, as Soluflex is neither glued or screwed to the floor the installation was able to be completed only metres away from occupied workstations without any noise of drilling or screwing, or noxious odours from adhesives, distracting or affecting staff.

The installation flexibility of the system was also fully tested due to three sets of mezzanine stairs being situated in the main office. Unable to be moved or adjusted, the system needed to be fitted around these three obstacles. This was achieved by fitting Soluflex ramps in front of the stairs, which allowed the height of the steps to be constant right to the floor.

John Cross, contracts manager at main contractor, Ash Services Limited, added: "Legrand listened when they needed to and were always on hand to assist. I would definitely use Soluflex again and have already recommended it to colleagues.

In addition to the Soluflex system, Legrand's solution also incorporated:
* RCDs being built in to floor boxes in order to meet the requirements of the 17th Edition Wiring Regulations. Deemed more cost-effective than fitting RCD sockets to all outlets, this approach minimised nuisance tripping and meant the floor boxes could accommodate RCD units, two twin sockets and four CAT 6 data outlets.
* Specially designed wave plates, which were fitted within all RJ45 data sockets to ensure swift data installation and the maintenance of cable radius.
* 'Cleaner' sockets added to the system to reduce the risk of contract cleaners unplugging vital equipment during their daily duties by providing them with their own sockets, which could be easily accessed via chrome hinge floor flaps.
* Secure cabling to the main data cabinet to ensure no unauthorised access to the power supply.

Brian Hedley, maintenance and facilities manager for BAE Systems, said: "Legrand provided a solution that exactly fitted our needs."

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