There is no doubt that in offices and other applications that have a need for a considerable amount of power and data cabling coupled with a high churn in terms of office layout and staffing needs, the old solutions of providing central spines of flush floor trunking and perimeter systems are outdated.
In turn, renovation of these systems is often a necessity, and this has become one of the biggest challenges facing the industry. For example, if you want to increase capacity you will need to chase out more floor and install more trunking runs, which is not a simple task and the restriction posed by fixed floor outlet positions is a major stumbling block in successfully completing such a job.
This has meant that the cable management industry has had to rethink and redevelop the products and systems it manufactures and sells for use in commercial properties. In fact, it’s fair to say that the electrical backbone of a commercial property installation is undergoing a process of reinvention.
One of the key developments in this process to date has been the introduction of raised floor cable management systems that have delivered a degree of flexibility that would never previously have been deemed possible and which contribute to cost saving on the vertical building structure.
The concept is simple – the creation of an easy-to-install raised floor system that allows cables, connectors and power points to be run under it and configured and reconfigured where and when they are needed.
Add to this the fact these systems do away with the need for nuts, bolts and other fixtures and fittings, and can be manufactured entirely from recyclable materials, and it’s fair to say the cable management industry already has a development on its hands that answers all the new demands, both in terms of flexibility and sustainability.
The Soluflex system, introduced to this country by Legrand South Africa, is 100% recyclable and offers a number of advantages over conventional raised access floors.
For example, it allows for easy cable laying and accessibility to the cables; the whole floor surface can be used as each Soluflex pathway is a containment system; and there is no need for trunking, which means substantial cost savings.
Soluflex comprises pre-galvanised steel floor tiles and recycled polypropylene supports that integrate with connection points for power and data, and 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 and, although it is up to 30% lighter in weight than traditional access floor systems, it has a distributed load-carrying capacity of 3 000kg/m².
Once laid, cabling and connections can be installed between the Soluflex supports by simply removing the relevant tiles and, when finished, the completed installation can be covered with any type of floorcovering. The system offers virtually the same acoustic properties than a concrete floor which means that the floor does not produce a disturbing sound in the office environment when people are walking.
Also, if the office layout changes the system can be reconfigured and re-used, or simply recycled. These changes can easily be carried out by the own facility management team.
The soluflex system enables the user to choose his degree of flexibility. The system can be installed in specific areas only by using an accessory to seal it off. The remaining space can then be filled with screed or simply left at a lower level so that more Soluflex could be added for future requirements. This is another tremendous cost optimization feature of the Soluflex system.
Designed specifically for the work environment, Soluflex is well suited for renovations in old premises that require additional electrical infrastructure, and it also meets the needs of new low-voltage equipment and data network installations in modern buildings. Each Soluflex pathway is a containment system, making office configurations or server room maintenance quick and easy to plan and install.
In Shell & Core projects, the tenant can determine his office layout in a late stage thanks to the easy reconfiguration features of the system. The advantage for the owner of the building is that the building structure remains untouched whenever changes are being made.
The floor system is available in four heights – 37mm, 60mm, 90mm and 120mm. Installation of Soluflex takes half the time, does not require skilled labour; no drilling is necessary and there is no need to level the floor. The small steel tiles are easy to cut and to install around obstacles such as e.g. pillars. Because the tiles are made out of steel, partitions can be fixed easily and tight.
The electrical components under the floor can be easily adapted with the installation of new cables during office hours, while normal work continues, plus there is no need for power cuts or data network disconnections.
Although there are many solutions to meeting the needs of the modern office, there is no doubt that Legrand Soluflex is one of the most flexible, efficient, and easiest to install on the market.