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Either above or below


When installing an electrical system, if we exclude the walls there are only two surfaces left. The ceiling (with its false ceiling) and the floor? Which one should you choose?

The choice depends on many factors. In any event, it is important to have a clear picture of the variables inherent the choice and what it entails.


Distribution in false ceilings


This choice entails the need to refer to standard CEI 64-8: Electrical system users of nominal voltage not exceeding a 1000V alternate current and a 1500V continuous current.



Cable distribution can be carried out by means of:

  • piping;
  • ducting;
  • cable trays (if the cables being laid are sheathed);
  • laying directly on the false ceiling (if the cables being laid are sheathed).

The installed pipelines and lighting equipment must be protected against indirect contacts.

Lastly, metal false ceiling do not usually have to be connected to earth.


Distribution under floating floors

Once again, the main applicable standard is the CEI 64-8: Electrical system users of nominal voltage not exceeding a 1000V alternate current and a 1500V continuous current. However, we also need to refer to standard CEI 64-50: Residential construction - Guide for the execution of electrical system user systems and for the laying of auxiliary, telephone and data transmission systems. General criteria. In fact, this choice it typical of the commercial sector, where data communication plays a main role.



It is no accident that the use of "floating" floors makes it easier to install both electrical and communication systems, which are generally subject to continuous changes typical of buildings used for commercial purposes.

The cables can be laid:

  • with sheathing;
  • with no sheathing, inserted in tubes or in ducts.

Given the position, it is recommended to choose a ducting system with protection degree of at least IP52.

Generally speaking, the floor frame does not have to be connected to earth; however, it could be useful to make a connection to earth in order to ensure the elimination of possible interference between the various systems.


Distribution with prefabricated busbars

There is a third possibility: busbars.

Energy distribution using prefabricated busbars (or busways) can be used in situations where:

  • there are many shunts;
  • the shunts supply loads with different absorption values;
  • the current to be distributed is high.
  • the location of the shunts may have to be modified in the future ;

However, in this case you need plenty of information from the manufacturer, as it is the one responsible for providing the assembly system, the distance between one support and the next and the proper use of fittings.

Specifically, certain types of installations may require the use of:

  • fire-retardant busbars (IEC 60332-3);
  • busbars equipped with fire barriers (ISO 834).

Lastly, the reference standards: reference must be made to the provisions contained in Standard CEI EN 60439-2 (CEI 17-13/2): Low-voltage switchgear and control gear assemblies (low voltage cabinets). Part 2: Particular requirements for busbar trunking systems (busways).



Learn more
- Section: Components and accessories for electrical installations




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