Addressing the need for speed
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 needs to work more quickly and 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.
With manufacturers and contractors constantly refining the methodology for providing the fabric of 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 a lot of 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.
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. For this client, whose shops are kitted out with large amounts of technical equipment, this ability to quickly and simply shift power sockets around is reason enough to specify MT32, not even taking into account its time/cost savings and safety features.
The same customer is also expanding its network of retail premises in the UK and wanted a power connection system that perfectly suited the drive towards modular build – each of its stores follows the same template for branding and design, so selecting a system such as MT32 matched perfectly its ethos to develop sites to a proven formula.
If branding or choice is important, clients can select which faceplate they wish to use on accessory boxes and even use contrasting coloured accessory boxes that assist with meeting Part M of the Building Regulations. A good example of this is a re-fit project at a boarding school in the West Midlands, where sockets with blue trim were used in order to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).
Expanding the range
MT32 was launched as a flexible cabling system, taking power cabling through trunking to a plug and play connection in pre-wired, pre-tested accessory boxes.
An MT32 underfloor system was also part of that introduction. Floor boxes are supplied pre-wired and pre-tested with male and female connectors. Power is fed from the distribution unit or powertrack via flexible leads available in a variety of lengths. The system is particularly suited to irregular lay-outs and the supply feed can be daisy chained to additional boxes. MT32 underfloor is great for projects (for example call centres or trading floors) where power has to be delivered over a wide area to a large number of outlets. And, taking the example of trading floors, if a business needs to reconfigure its layout the power outlets can be moved around far more quickly than in the past, keeping the work to inevitably tight deadlines.
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.
The latest developments for MT32 are dry lining and surface mount systems. Power is supplied to fast-fit, pre-wired, pre-tested boxes installed in dry wall board of up to 32mm thickness. Boxes feature a wide securing flange around the outer rim assisting in alignment and positioning and also incorporate fire barrier pads to accessory boxes, whilst acoustic protection is available as an accessory. The potential for this product is huge – consider how much time an electrical contractor fitting out a new-build house would save if all he had to do was feed cables into position, click the accessory box into place and then plug the connectors in?
Fast track installation
In short, MT32 is a modular 32Amp 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%, while overall cost savings of up to 50% are possible.
Contractors are already wising up to the fact that they could significantly improve their margins by installing MT32 – for example they may be able to install four or more accessory boxes using MT32 in the time it takes to hard-wire one.
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.
What’s more – and unlike traditional wiring – it can be reconfigured (for example during office moves), stripped out (during refurbishments) and re-used which provide additional benefits for price-conscious clients and those wishing to reduce construction waste.
MT32 has been developed to interact with virtually any wiring system and is compatible with Marshall-Tufflex’s Odyssey three-compartment trunking and with its established Sterling trunking system. It is, quite simply, a revolutionary prospect for an electrical industry looking at ways to meet spiralling costs, skilled labour shortages and increased safety standards.