As we emerge from the pandemic supply chain disruptions continue to affect everything from computer chips to what’s on our grocery store shelves. Pent up demand and too few goods have yielded inflation rates not seen in decades. Factor in rising labor costs due to a skills shortage plus a fragile global geo-political environment and you’ve got the perfect storm for inflation.
In an effort to control it – the Federal Reserve has predicted U.S. inflation would exceed 5% by the end of 2022 – the central bank raised its short-term interest rate by 75 basis points in June.
The result is everything is more expensive. Home builders are paying more for lumber, sheetrock, steel, and glass. Homeowners are paying more for food, utilities, and shelter. Rising interest rates mean businesses are paying more for, well, money.
Even when you can find the materials you’re looking for, it can be difficult and costly to arrange for shipping in the midst of a commercial truck driver shortage and skyrocketing energy costs.
The upshot of all this is that construction companies are looking for solutions to help them maintain profitability in the face of inflation, or at least offset their rising expenses. Fortunately, when it comes to essential cable management and power distribution systems at the heart of every new build project, Snake Tray has a few ideas to help combat the rising costs of inflation:
- Use products that require less time to install to reduce labor costs.
Snake Tray’s family of hand-bendable cable trays including the 101 Series, 201 Series, 454 Series Universal Snake Tray (Figure A), and the prefabricated 801 Series Mega Snake install in minutes, hang from a single point, connect to each other in seconds, and easily navigate around obstacles without waste or the need to fabricate on site. Mega Snake’s pre-manufactured turns, Tee’s, and intersections eliminate labor-intensive cutting and clipping. Accomplish with a team of two electricians what used to take four or more skilled workers in less time for dramatic labor savings.
- Use products that require fewer parts and accessories to reduce material costs.
All of Snake Tray’s hand-bendable cable trays feature built-in mounting rings for easy and flexible attachment to any wall, floor, or ceiling using standard hardware. The prefabricated Mega Snake has a patented accessory rail that doubles as a built-in-suspension system, eliminating the need for costly brackets and struts. No special tools are required; a simple threaded rod and bolt system connects to any building infrastructure point (Figure B, circled).
- Use products that occupy less space to reduce transportation costs.
In redesigning the traditional cable tray, Snake Tray also reinvented and simplified cable tray shipping. Our hand-bendable and prefabricated cable trays, as well as the 301 Series Snake Canyon for use under raised access floors are all designed to nest together for compact shipping (Figure C). Nesting also minimizes the need for individual unit packaging. Fewer pallets with less packaging material reduces volume and weight, which in turn fits more trays onto every truckload, reducing transportation expenses by up to one-third over generic cable trays that stack but do not nest. Once at the job site, nested cable trays improve material handling efficiencies of installers (see idea #1).
- Use products that maximize resources to lower energy expenses.
Snake Tray’s modular 707 Series and 717 Series Snake Bus (Figure D) are innovative power distribution systems featuring multi-phase bus bar technology to run power underneath raised access floors in call centers, trading floors, data centers, commercial offices, command centers, and the like. Reusable and reclaimable, Snake Bus consumes 30% less copper than traditional pipe and wire methods, and experiences less voltage drop than copper wire to reduce overall energy consumption. Snake Bus is easy to install and smart too, allowing project owners to capitalize on incentives for using environmentally-friendly technologies such as the automatic disengagement of non-essential electrical loads during off hours.
- Use products that maximize return on investment (ROI).
In the world of renewable energy, squeezing every last kilowatt out of a solar plant or wind turbine field is critical to profitability. Yet the cables that carry the DC current to AC inverters and out to the power grid are often bundled and buried, resulting in a phenomenon called de-rate. All that energy running parallel underground creates friction and heat, and earth traps heat. To compensate, utilities must either upsize the diameter of the DC cables (greatly increasing expenses) or lower the throughput (decreasing energy production) to reduce heat build-up. Utility-grade renewable energy plants should consider moving to a “free air” cable conveyance system. Not only will Snake Tray’s above-ground Solar Snake Max XL™ speed installation time and slash labor costs by eliminating trenching, but it will also allow utilities to harvest 100% of the energy they generate using smaller diameter cables to their full capacity. Heat dissipates into the surrounding air to eliminate the effects of de-rate for maximum ROI (Figure E).
As the cost of goods sold spirals all around us, construction companies need new ways to cut costs, not corners. Snake Tray cable management and power distribution systems install quickly and easily to maximize the return on investment of your next project by saving on labor, time, and materials. Contact us to learn more about how Snake Tray products – all manufactured here in the USA – can help you combat inflation.
Snake Tray has revolutionized the data and power distribution market with cable management, power distribution systems and enclosures all designed to install quickly, reduce labor and material costs, and significantly drive down the total cost of construction. If you would like to learn more, visit us at snaketray.com. Our engineers and sales teams stand ready to help execute your next cabling project with maximum efficiency and profitability.