What Is a Cable Carrier?

Mary McMahon

A cable carrier is a device that contains and protects cables attached to moving equipment to allow the cable to move with minimal strain while reducing the risk of injuries to workers in the area. Open and closed designs are available for various applications in sites like manufacturing facilities, amusement parks, and newspaper press rooms. Such systems can be installed at the time equipment is put in place and brought into operation, or they can be added later to meet evolving safety concerns.

Man with a drill
Man with a drill

Without a cable carrier, also known as a cable chain, cables attached to moving equipment would be loose. They could entangle with each other as well as neighboring cables and other components. The movement of the equipment could also strain the cable, potentially creating the risk of early fatigue and cable failure. Furthermore, workers would have to watch out for the cables, which could easily tangle and trap workers or draw them into machinery.

The cable carrier acts like a case to enclose the cable and hold it in position. It moves with the equipment to guide the cable as necessary while also protecting it. Open designs have mesh or webbing through which the cable is visible, while closed styles are totally sealed to protect the cables from materials that may be floating in the room. Technicians can open hatches to access cables as needed for activities like maintenance.

Plastics are the materials of choice for cable carriers in many regions because of their low expense, durability, and flexibility. Metals can also be used. The carrier can be articulated in a number of different ways to accommodate the movement needs of the cables and equipment. Proper articulation is very important to reduce stress, as a cable carrier that cannot offer a full range of movement might rub on or otherwise strain the cable.

Manufacturers of cable carriers produce standard product lineups along with custom options. Companies may ask for a consultant to come visit a facility and assess the need. This can help the manufacturer develop the most appropriate cable carrier for a given setting, considering the type of equipment and how it will be used. Designers can also consult manufacturers during the planning phases to determine if there are adjustments to the plan that could facilitate the installation of a cable carrier, such as moving some of the controls on a device to cluster cables closer together.

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