Conduit bending and cable tray techniques

Updated February 21, 2017

Conduit is a type of metal or plastic tubing used to carry and protect the various types of wiring installed in a building. These include electrical wiring, category 5 cable or fibre-optic cable, telephone wiring and low voltage communication wiring. Use cable trays to encase these types of wiring, but mostly when needing to regularly access wiring. There are a number of different techniques for conduit bending and cable tray installation that make for an attractively finished job.

Conduit Bending Tools

Conduit bending tools look somewhat like a large slice of pie, with a channel on the rounded outside to allow you to bend the conduit up to ninety degrees from a straight position without crushing or compressing the walls of the conduit piping. Since conduit is run first and then wiring is pulled through it, it is important to have as few bumps or obstructions in a good conduit run as possible. Using a conduit bending tool helps make smooth conduit bends.

Fibre-Optic Cables

Non-conductive fibre-optic cables do not transmit electricity or experience any interference from being run close to electrical wires. For this reason, use fibre-optic cables in the same conduit or cable trays as electrical wires, in order to save space and materials. This complies with the National Electrical Code.

Excessive Cable Weight

When designing and running the trays, avoid placing heavy electrical wires on top of fibre-optic cables. The excess weight of large electrical wire runs causes problems with the fibre-optic cable, including eventual breakdown and failure over time. This is an important consideration when making the runs and it may be best to install the electrical cables in the conduit or cable trays prior to the fibre-optic installation.

Clamps and Cable Hangers Reduce Stress

Cables placed inside of conduit runs suffer from stress in vertical runs, as well as conduit bends and elbow turns where cables support the weight of their own material and the conduit. Use clamps and cable hangers to reduce this weight on the cables.

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Alexis Writing has many years of freelance writing experience. She has written for a variety of online destinations, including She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Rochester.