Tools Make Installers’ Lives Easier at the Rack

Oct. 12, 2023
Mounting hardware to a rack can be a pain in the neck – and elsewhere. Two products in this year’s Cabling Innovators Awards help change that.

For installers and technicians working inside a telecom room, mounting equipment to a rack can be a painful experience. Many experienced installers or techs can show you scars on their knuckles resulting from the impact of scraping a hand against a metal rack while trying to mount equipment—particularly if that effort is being made solo.

Two honorees in the 2023 Cabling Innovators Awards provide some relief to installers and technicians in this scenario.

PATCHBOX offers /dev/mount (pictured above), which it describes as “a smart cage nut alternative that holds equipment securely in place before the hex nuts are even fastened.” Unlike conventional cage nuts, /dev/mount has no sharp edges, and requires no tools to mount or dismount. “Simply snap in the /dev/mount and tighten the extra-long hex nuts with your hands,” the company explains. “These benefits ensure that IT technicians don’t hurt their finger bed with extra sharp edges of conventional cage nuts, nor need any tools.”

The /dev/mount is a one-piece product; it comes with reversible hex nuts that can be used from both sides regardless of where the technician holds them. That makes them stress-proof, precise, and friendly to use even in an urgent situation, PATCHBOX says.

“By using /dev/mount, the time needed to mount hardware is significantly reduced, as the installation process is faster and therefore more cost-effective,” the company adds.

“Thanks to the smart design, only two /dev/mount are needed per rack unit, whereas normally four cage nuts are needed. Our /dev/mount is easier to handle and less likely to slip out of your hand, ending up on the floor or even underneath or within the rack.”

Similarly, Hammond Manufacturing’s Rack Rail Support Tool addresses the fact that sometimes installers and technicians are working solo. “In 2021, during the pandemic, we were struggling with labor shortages,” the company recalls when discussing the development of the Rack Rail Support Tool. “Our design team invented a device to assist our assembly employes in installing larger rack attachments without needing two installers.”

The team at Hammond realized the newly invented tool is quick to install, and it can support the weight of most rack-mounted equipment while fastening rack hardware. “This innovation increases worker safety by reducing muscle fatigue, and it improves installation time,” the company notes.

“The Rack Rail Support Tool was developed after we established that this product would server contractors in the field,” Hammon continues. “Two versions were created—one for threaded rails and the other for square-hole rails.

“Large components are challenging to rack up, especially when you are working alone. You can use this tool as support. Simplify the installation of any four-post mounting equipment while preventing arm muscle fatigue.”

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