Home Features CMD Ltd | A modular approach to circuit protection

CMD Ltd | A modular approach to circuit protection


Paul Allen Sales Manager at CMD Ltd, the specialists in underfloor and under-desk power distribution systems, discusses the advantages of a modular approach to circuit protection at the workstation.

Flexibility has always been important in the commercial office sector. Occupiers’ needs change over time and the occupiers themselves can change too, bringing with them new working practices, sectors and hardware that require revised layouts and changes to the electrical fit-out.

The pandemic has escalated the pace of change and highlighted the need to futureproof commercial buildings to enable more agile work environments in the years ahead. Social distancing and flexible working are not just considerations for 2020/21, however; they are trends that will be an enduring influence on office design and electrical fit out.

Against this backdrop, the amendment to BS 7671 for the requirements of electrical installations has made it advisory to include dedicated RCD or RCBO protection for each individual workstation, either via the floor box or as part of the under-desk power distribution. This can not only make the fit-out more time-consuming for the electrical contractor, but also potentially less flexible for the building owner/manager and occupier. That’s why modular under-desk power distribution systems like Rotasoc® are becoming such a hero solution for office fit-outs and offer significant ease of use benefits for incorporating compliant circuit protection installation into flexible, reconfigurable office layouts.

Increased Demand for Circuit Protection

Due to the amendments to 411.3.3 of BS 7671 to the Wiring Regulations calling for socket-outlets up to a rating of 32A to be fitted with RCD to provide additional protection, the required protection from both faults and earth leakage was built into the switchboard, but this presented a risk of outages to all workstations if the supply was tripped at a single desk

The requirement to install circuit protection specific to each workstation protects against unwanted tripping, which is a benefit to the occupier, but it does mean that any reconfiguration of workstations could be an onerous and time-consuming affair. A modular under-desk power distribution system, combined with a powertrack installation in the raised access floor, provides the ideal solution for a flexible, plug and play installation that can be installed and reconfigured quickly and easily while delivering individual circuit protection at each workstation, in compliance with wiring regulations requirements. This can be combined with plug and play RCD units at the floor boxes for areas of the office layout that do not contain workstations, such as break-out areas and tea/coffee points.

The benefits of modular under-desk distribution systems are also being felt in the office retrofit market. Any upgrade or fit-out work within an existing office environment must comply with current regulations, which means that circuit protection for each workstation must be added retrospectively. For office environments that already have a modular Rotasoc system, this is a straight forward process, requiring the plug and play addition of an RCD or RCBO residual current circuit breaker to the Rotasoc unit. For offices that do not have an existing modular system, adding circuit protection can be a time-consuming business, unless the under-desk distribution is upgraded to a modular system.

Tailored Options

Available for standard earth, clean earth and dual circuit installations, the modular circuit protection units supplied by CMD for use with Rotasoc installations provide a choice of RCD and RCBO protection, enabling the installation to be tailored to the specific environment and risk of residual current, overcurrent, fault and earth leakage.

All RCDs supplied by CMD are Type A, which are used for alternating sinusoidal residual current and for residual pulsating direct current up to 6mA, ideal for protecting the circuits that feed office IT equipment. The choice of RCD or RCBO depends on the specific configuration and of the commercial environment and CMD can advise specifiers on the most appropriate solution for their needs. The plug and play nature of circuit protection units for modular Rotasoc workstation power systems means that there is a sizeable opportunity for wholesalers to achieve substantial sales volumes of these units, as both a retrofit solution and for new electrical fit out projects.

For further information contact Clare Ward, Clare Public Relations, telephone 0161 707 0992 or email clare@clarepr.com.

For product information contact Jon Holding, General Manager of CMD Limited, telephone 01709 385472 or email jonholding@cmd-ltd.com

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