Avoiding outlet damage in open-office installations

In open offices, workstation outlets are often installed under the desk or below the work surface, making them difficult to work on. This setup also makes the outlets prone to damage from inadvertent kicking, or from boxes being shoved under the work surface. One alternative, using outlet hangers, can increase the cost of outlet installation.

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Jim Slaymon

USA Group

Problem

In open offices, workstation outlets are often installed under the desk or below the work surface, making them difficult to work on. This setup also makes the outlets prone to damage from inadvertent kicking, or from boxes being shoved under the work surface. One alternative, using outlet hangers, can increase the cost of outlet installation.

Solution

Using hook-and-loop fastening material, or a similar product, install the workstation outlet above the work surface, attaching it to the cubicle or partition wall. This keeps the outlet out of harm`s way and makes it more accessible to the technician.

Procedure

1) Route the station cable through the floor-level raceway of the cubicle or partition wall and up to the top of the work surface for termination at the workstation outlet. Attach the hooked side of a sheet of hook-and-loop fastening material, or a similar product, to the back of the outlet box.

2) Knock out a bottom access panel in the workstation outlet and terminate the cable on the module. Snap the cover back on the outlet.

3) Simply attach the outlet to the cloth wall of the cubicle or partition in a corner where two walls meet. The outlet should be resting on the work surface. Because PCs and terminals are generally placed in a corner, the workstation outlet is protected by the PC and is out of sight.

Using a surface-mount box with access on the side will prevent damage to the modular plug. An additional benefit is that shorter equipment cords can be used, reducing the overall cost of the installation.

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Click here to enlarge image

Hook-and-loop fastening material affixed to the back of the workstation outlet lets it be attached to the cubicle or partition wall. This makes it easier to access the outlet and protects it from damage.

Jim Slaymon is the special projects consultant in the network services department of the usa Group, a guarantor of student loans, located in Indianapolis, IN. He recently used this design in his company`s new corporate headquarters.

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