MT32 – the power behind fast-track jobs

It’s 12 months since Marshall-Tufflex unveiled MT32, one of the most innovative products to hit the electrical services industry for many years. Product Manager Chris Scott outlines why it is such an important development.

It’s fair to say that MT32 has proved a revelation for many people working within, or allied to, the electrical industry. Not only does it save time and money, it delivers super quick installations that are, quite simply, impossible to get wrong.

Couple this with MT32’s ability to be reconfigured post installation – for example during an office re-fit – and the industry has a system that not only offers big project cost savings, but is safer and more flexible than traditional power delivery methods.

MT32 was borne out of research Marshall-Tufflex conducted into speeding up electrical fit-out times. Every trade, electrical contracting included, needs to work more quickly and more efficiently. But while great strides have been made in fast-tracking many construction tasks, simplifying the installation of power has proved a harder nut to crack.

However, as off-site and modular construction have grown in popularity, with manufacturers and contractors constantly refining the methodology for providing the fabric of these buildings in shortened timescales, the need to address the provision of power became increasingly critical; buildings could go up in double quick time but fitting out power requirements might take just as long as it did several years ago.

Marshall-Tufflex, known for its market-leading cable management solutions, began researching ways of solving this problem by incorporating ‘plug and play’ technology into its systems with the aim of taking power from source and delivering it to the final outlet via plug-in connectors.

A similar concept had been developed for the lighting industry using 16Amp connectors. But developing a system capable of delivering 32Amps with a small enough connector to fit safely into floor and accessory boxes proved a challenge, even for Marshall-Tufflex’s development partner Tyco Electronics, a world-leader in connector technology.

Technical expertise and clever design eventually solved the problem, and the MT32 Power Connection System was launched last year, creating much interest both in the UK and abroad.

In bringing MT32 to market we have achieved what had become somewhat of a Holy Grail within the industry – providing a 32amp power connection small enough to work safely within all manner of applications. MT32 utilises a compact in-line connector to deliver on its promises. All installers need to do is click it together, circuit test and sign-off.

When we discuss the possibilities with specifiers we find there is a ‘Eureka’ moment when they suddenly realise the huge potential MT32 offers to reduce installation times. For example, our research has shown that a wiring installation that previously took 20 minutes can be reduced to five minutes or less using MT32. What’s more, because it is plug and play, the keyed connectors cannot be installed incorrectly.

For example one client is using MT32, together with Sterling Compact trunking, in the place of busbars for a shop fit out. If, in future, the position of sockets needs changing, it’s a simple task to remove the trunking lid, disconnect the accessory box and re-configure MT32 as required. MT32 comes in three variants:

* A flexible cabling system. This takes power cabling through trunking to a plug and play connection in pre-wired, pre-tested accessory boxes. The three pole male and female mechanically keyed compact connectors click together and cannot be installed incorrectly.

* An underfloor system. Floor boxes are supplied pre-wired and pre-tested with male and female connectors. Power can be fed from the distribution unit or powertrack via flexible leads available in a variety of lengths. This system is particularly suited to irregular lay-outs and the supply feed can be daisy chained to additional boxes.

* A dry-lining system. This takes cabling to fast-fit, pre-wired, pre-tested boxes installed in dry wall board up to 32mm thickness. Boxes feature a wide securing flange around the outer rim assisting in alignment and positioning and also incorporate fire and sound proofing barrier pads.

Not only is the system eminently suitable for new-build and retrofit situations across all manner of build projects, for example schools, hospitals and other healthcare facilities, offices, call centres and even exhibition spaces, it is perfect for use within modular and pre-fabricated buildings simply because of the ease of connection and time savings it delivers, both prerequisites of this kind of construction.

In short, MT32 is a modular power connection system that delivers tool-free, fast-track installation of complete cabling runs from power source to final outlet. It needs no on-site wiring, allowing installers to simply click it together, circuit test and sign-off. Installation times can be reduced by up to 80%, with overall cost savings of up to 50% possible.

What’s more – and unlike traditional wiring – it can be reconfigured (for example during office moves), stripped out (for example during refurbishments) and re-used, more clever benefits for price-conscious clients and those wishing to reduce construction waste.

And, when specified with an underfloor distribution system, MT32 can deliver greater design flexibility than existing powertrack options, allowing a larger floor area to be accommodated from the distribution unit – Marshall-Tufflex believes coverage can be increased by up to three times. MT32 has been developed to interact with virtually any wiring system and is compatible with Marshall-Tufflex’s Odyssey three-compartment trunking, the first completely curved cable management system on the market, and with its established Sterling trunking system.

MT32 is, quite simply, a revolutionary prospect for an electrical industry looking at ways to meet spiralling costs and increased safety standards.

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