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Plug-in to the benefits

Consumer demand has changed when and how we access power, resulting in the development of advanced electrical components.

Overloaded sockets and trailing cables are a common sight for many electricians

Overloaded sockets and trailing cables are a common sight for many electricians, but for a long time this has been the only way for consumers to plug their various appliances to the mains. This is not only unsightly, but can also pose a fire risk and a trip hazard.

Furthermore, the advent of the digital age has seen a surge in mobile devices and many people are no longer limited to using a single computer at one location. This pressure for power on the move has led to greater research and development to deliver products that offer much more flexible access to electricity for domestic and commercial audiences.

One such development is a track based mains power system. Designed so that it can travel around the entire room, the track is populated by re-locatable sockets that users can reposition as and where needed anywhere along its length. In a home environment, the potential applications are wide and varied. For example, the system can be used in the kitchen, a place where multiple appliances are in continual use, and can be positioned above countertops, under cupboards, or around outer walls. This allows much more freedom to move appliances around without the need for installing additional sockets or using extension leads. The same applies in the home office environment. With more people than ever working from home, a flexible power system offers the ability to cater for multiple office appliances.

On the commercial side, a track-based product can be used in schools, hospitals, offices, laboratories, or factories. In this environment, the flexibility is increasingly important as one space is often used in multiple ways. This is especially pertinent in the education sector as many classrooms are now not only multipurpose but also have to be able to cope with increasing levels of technology such as the use of interactive whiteboards and laptops.

From the perspective of the electrician, installing a track system such as this from Mainline Power can deliver a wealth of business benefits. Whilst it may seem that installing one track rather than multiple double or single sockets is creating less work for the installer, this is not the case. Installation itself is incredibly easy as the electrician simply attaches the terminal block to the wall, connecting to the mains supply cables, then a length of recyclable PVC and copper tracking is cut accordingly. The backplate is then screwed to the wall ready to accommodate the track which is all that is seen after installation. The end cap is then fitted where the tracking system is to finish. Once in place, the terminal block from the terminal plate is inserted into the copper track conductors and covers are screwed into place to protect the system from being tampered with.

Once in place, the user inserts a power socket wherever it is required around the system, turning it 90° to safely access power. A length of track can accommodate approximately 15 sockets, depending upon the load usage on that circuit, making such an installation perfectly suited to large scale projects requiring mass access to power outlets.

Overall, the installation time can be reduced by 50%. This saving frees up the installer, allowing them to take on more jobs and resulting in greater productivity and increased workload. Track, such as this from Mainline Power, can be cut to length on site so that electricians need never waste products. There is also the high probability of repeat custom, as the end user realises how useful this type of system could be in other areas of the home.

Another key selling point to the end user is the ‘future proof’ aspect, especially from a commercial perspective. Creating a full circuit around a room essentially ensures that whatever the room may be used for now or in the future, occupants will easily be able to access power when and where they need it. Such a fundamental element is often overlooked in building design with sockets added at later dates if needed, but this still limits the potential usage of the room and does not eliminate the need for extension leads or trailing cables.

As electrical and technological advances continue to advance, now is the perfect time for installers to understand the practical applications of the latest systems and see how they can work to their maximum benefit.

Gregg Ringer, Mainline Power. Mainline Europe is part of the Steljes Group

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