Electrix - A glimpse inside our award-winning facilities

A glimpse inside our award-winning facilities

As the market leader for over 30 years, Electrix International Ltd is proud to be referred to as the World’s leading manufacturer and stockist of Stainless Steel Cable Management Systems including Electrical Enclosures, Trunking, Conduit, Wire Basket Tray and Cable Tray. All of our products are ideally suited to the Food, Pharmaceutical, Brewing, Dairy and Soft Drinks industries, where hygienic, durable and corrosion-resistant solutions are required.

Take a look inside our award-winning production and distribution facilities to see how we operate.

Stainless Steel Wire Basket Cable Tray by Electrix International Ltd

New Stainless Steel Wire Basket Cable Tray Accessories

Electrix International Ltd is the world’s leading manufacturer and stockist of Stainless Steel Electrical Enclosures, Trunking, Conduit, Cable Tray and Basket Tray.

Increasing in popularity over recent years, and commonly used in Food and Soft Drinks industries, Stainless Steel Wire Basket Cable Tray is a lightweight and more cost-effective solution to your cable management needs. This video focuses on our New Stainless Steel Wire Basket Tray Accessories.

Key benefits include:

  • 4 mm Ø wire basket (for tray widths 50-200 mm)
  • 5 mm Ø wire basket (for tray widths 300-600 mm)
  • Long life / durable
  • Corrosion resistant Stainless Steel (varying grades available)
  • Optional lids available
  • Large discounts available
  • Thousands of lengths and basket accessories in stock
  • Daily despatches worldwide

For more information, and to view our full catalogue of products, explore the website or call us on +44 (0)1388 774455.

Passivation of Stainless Steel Blog by Electrix International Ltd

Passivation of Stainless Steel

Passivation of Stainless Steel is critical for maximising corrosion resistance. Stainless Steel has the ability to self-passivate but self-passivation can only occur when a clean surface is exposed to an environment which provides enough oxygen to form the chromium rich oxide surface layer. The layer acts as a protective armour for the steel.

It is commonly found that during manufacturing it is extremely difficult to maintain the standard of cleanliness needed to self-passivate. Fragments of mild steel, dirt or scale accumulated from cutting tools can be transferred into the surface of the steel, damaging the oxide layer and identifying the need for “pickling”.

Pickling involves the chemical removal of contamination. Hydrofluoric Acid, commonly known as pickling gel, is often used to remove the excess dirt particles. The steel is coated in the gel and then rinsed thoroughly. Once the gel is removed, the steel will immediately self-passivate; restoring the natural aesthetics and corrosion resistance.

Unlike many of our competitors who manufacture mild steel and stainless steel products on the same machinery, Electrix only manufactures Stainless Steel products which eliminates the risk of cross contamination with mild steel fragments, greatly reducing the need to re-passivate our products.

Blog Cleaning and Maintaining by Electrix International Ltd

Cleaning and Maintaining Your Stainless Steel Installation

The below article is an excerpt from our eBook “Maintaining Your Stainless Steel Installation”. To download the full eBook, sign up for the Electrix Newsletter on the sign up form in the sidebar / footer of this page.

To understand how to correctly maintain your Stainless Steel installation, it is important to understand what makes Stainless Steel such a sought after material.

Most other metals are very susceptible to corrosion, recognised quickly on mild steel and iron as unsightly orange/yellow rust. Metals like these are “active” because they actively corrode when their atoms react with oxygen, which can quickly form rust. Stainless Steel is known as a “passive” metal because it contains other metals that stabilise the atoms (Chromium and Nickel in the case of 304 – 1.4301 – V2A and 316L – 1.4404 – V4A grades). During the manufacture of the steel, a small amount of the chromium in the alloy reacts with oxygen to naturally form a passive chromium-rich oxide layer on the surface of the steel. This invisible layer protects the steel, and is self-renewing. When this layer is intact, the metal is passive and therefore “stainless”, offering excellent levels of corrosion resistance. When this layer is broken, although it is very quick to self-renew, there is a small window of opportunity when the surface is said to be in the “active” state that could allow unwanted irritants to make contact with the steel underneath and start the corrosion process.

The Four Enemies Of Stainless Steel

  1. Chlorides / Chlorine – Chlorides are found in some industrial and household cleaners, and of course, chlorine is commonly found in environments such as swimming pools. The use of chlorides in cleaning, or the proximity of Stainless Steel to chlorine, can break down the protective “passive” layer but there are best practices to follow to reduce the risk of such occurrences.
  2. Mechanical Abrasion – i.e. Things that will scratch the surface of the steel, such as wire brushes, steel pads and scrapers. Soft cloths and plastic scouring pads are recommended as a safe alternative.
  3. Hard Water – Hard water is water that is considered to have high mineral content. This can be found all over the world, with the mineral content of water changing from one place to the next. Hard water may leave spots on Stainless Steel and, when heated, leave deposits behind that, if allowed to remain, will break down the passive layer and rust stainless steel.
  4. Other Deposits – Other deposits from food preparation must be properly removed. This is not really relevant to the use of Stainless Steel in cable management but worth noting nonetheless.

Follow best practice to avoid corrosion occurring within your installation.

Best Practice

None of the information above should be considered a reason not to use Stainless Steel in your cable management installation. After all, it’s corrosion resistance, finish and aesthetics make it a far superior material when compared to other metals and plastics. The best practice set out below should go a long way to ensuring that your installation remains in pristine condition for many years.

  1. Use the correct tools – When cleaning stainless steel products, use non-abrasive tools. Soft cloths and plastic scouring pads will not harm the steel’s passive layer. Stainless steel pads can, on occasion, be used but the scrubbing motion MUST be in the direction of the manufacturers’ polishing marks.
  2. Clean with the polish lines – Some stainless steel comes with visible polishing lines or “grain.” When visible lines are present, always scrub in a motion parallel to the lines. When the grain cannot be seen, play it safe and use a soft cloth or plastic scouring pad.
  3. Use alkaline, alkaline chlorinated or non-chloride containing cleaners – While many traditional cleaners are loaded with chlorides, the industry is providing an ever-increasing choice of non-chloride cleaners. If you are not sure of the chloride content in the cleaner used, contact your cleaner supplier. If your present cleaner contains chlorides, ask your supplier if they have an alternative. Avoid cleaners containing quaternary salts; it can also attack stainless steel and cause pitting and rusting.
  4. Rinse, rinse, rinse – If chlorinated cleaners are used, thoroughly rinse, wipe and dry equipment and supplies immediately. The sooner you wipe off standing water, especially when it contains cleaning agents, the better. After wiping equipment down, allow it to air dry; oxygen helps maintain the stainless steel’s passivity film. In environments where it is not possible to wipe down standing water, such as in Marine / Offshore industries, the use of 316L – 1.4404 – V4A grade Stainless Steel is recommended to reduce the risk of corrosion.
  5. Never use hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid) on stainless steel – Hydrochloric acid is classed as reducing acid and lacks the oxidising properties that Stainless Steels need to maintain their ‘passive’ corrosion resistant surface layer so, when hydrochloric acid is present in any ‘external environment’, corrosion is promoted.

For more information and other helpful tips, please download the eBook “Maintaining Your Stainless Steel Installation” by signing up for the Electrix Newsletter in the sidebar / footer of this page.

Blog Choosing The Right Material by Electrix International Ltd

Choosing The Right Material for your Cable Management Installation

Choosing the right material for your cable management installation is essential.

Whether you’re experimenting with a small DIY project or installing trunking for a huge industrial company, the following factors need considering:

  • Environmental Conditions
  • Fitting Requirements
  • Durability
  • Aesthetics
  • Cost

What materials are available?

Stainless Steel, Galvanised Steel, Aluminium, GRP and Plastic are commonly used within the cable management industry. Each material could be deemed suitable depending on your project requirements.

Stainless Steel is an incredibly popular choice because of the many uses for which it is suitable. For example, varying grades of Stainless Steel can be used in installations far and wide, from standard factory builds to harsh environments such as Chemical and Offshore, due to its far superior resistance to corrosion as well as its durable and hard-wearing nature. This means that, providing your installation is maintained correctly and the items remain free from serious physical damage, you are highly unlikely to have to replace a Stainless Steel product for many years.

Galvanised steel is popular for its durability and modest cost. However, when looking at longevity, galvanised steel’s zinc oxide coating will eventually wear away, leaving it vulnerable to corrosives and weather conditions.

For projects where cost is a key factor, plastic could be an adequate and cheaper alternative to metal. However, plastic also needs to be replaced regularly due to its lack of robustness and durability. This causes plastic to quickly become very expensive considering the costs incurred to replace and fit new products.

To help you choose the right material for your cable management installation, please see our material grading chart as listed in our “Planning Your Installation” eBook. The chart accurately compares a wide range of materials according to:

  • Corrosion Resistance
  • Ultimate Tensile Strength (MPa)
  • Frequency of Replacements
  • Ease of Cleaning
  • Suitability for Harsh Environments
  • Suitability for Hygiene Critical Environments
  • Whether the material is Aesthetically Pleasing
  • Whether the material is Recyclable

To get your free download of the full eBook, sign up to the Electrix Newsletter in the sidebar / footer of this page.

Flat Lid Trunking System by Electrix International Ltd

How to Cut Stainless Steel Trunking and Fit a Coupling

During the installation of Stainless Steel Trunking, it may be necessary to cut the product to comply with fitting restrictions. This is a simple process which can be carried out on-site. To cut Stainless Steel Trunking, the following tools may be required:

  • Hacksaw
  • Vice
  • Cutting fluid – ROCOL
  • Tape Measure
  • Screwdriver
  • Pencil
  • Power Drill
  • A high quality Drill Bit
  • Coupling Kit
  • Spanner
  • Sandpaper
  • Eye Protection
  • Gloves

It is important to note the following instructions are for guidance purposes only.

Cutting a length of Stainless Steel Trunking

In order to successfully cut Stainless Steel Trunking:

  1. Hold the trunking securely in a vice.
  2. Using a tape measure and pencil, mark the trunking at the required length.
  3. Put on your Eye Protection & Gloves.
  4. Using a hacksaw and copious amounts of cutting fluid, cut the trunking taking long slow strokes to prevent the build up of heat due to friction.
  5. Remove any burrs caused by the cutting with sandpaper to reduce the risk of personal injury and damage to cables.

This technique applies to both the base and lid of the Trunking.

Drilling the coupling & lid fixing holes

Once the trunking lid and base have been cut, new holes will need to be drilled to accommodate a new flat lid trunking coupling kit or, in the case of 15° Apex Lid Trunking, a 15° apex lid trunking coupling kit (sold separately) and lid fixings, in order to continue the flow of the trunking system:

  1. Mark the trunking where the coupling holes (to suit M6 fixings) are required.
  2. Using a power drill at a slow speed, with copious amounts of cutting fluid, drill through the trunking.
  3. Remove any burrs once the trunking has been drilled. This will reduce the risk of personal injury and damage to cables.

Repeat the above process to drill the 7.5 mm ∅ lid fixing hole(s) which should be situated 22.0 mm (centres) from the end of the lid.

It is important to note that if a high drill speed were used the Stainless Steel would overheat, causing it to harden and making it difficult to re-drill. It would also change the appearance of the steel and could damage the drill bit.

An additional coupling kit, as mentioned above, would need to be purchased in order to continue the flow of the trunking system once it has been cut. Our coupling kits comprise of:

  • 1 x coupling with nuts and screws
  • 1 x patented cover plate
  • TB1 or TB2 turnbuckles to suit the size of the trunking length

Coupling kits are used to join two pieces of trunking together. The U-shaped coupler is placed inside the trunking, across the join, and secured with the screws and nuts provided.

If you require any more information to assist you with all aspects of your installation, please don’t hesitate to contact us using this contact form or by calling +44 (0) 1388 774455.

Metric Conduit System by Electrix International Ltd

How to Cut and Thread Conduit

To successfully cut and thread conduit, the following items/tools may be required:

  • Vice
  • Pencil or Marker
  • Collets
  • Hacksaw
  • Reamer
  • Tape Measure
  • Electric Threading Tool or Ratchet & Handle
  • Die head – specifically designed for the material you will be threading
  • Cutting Lubricant
  • Eye Protection
  • Gloves

It is important to note the following instructions are for guidance purposes only. For use of electric threading tools, please refer to the manufacturer’s manual. Do not attempt to work with electrical equipment unless fully trained to do so.

To successfully cut conduit:

  1. Using the tape measure and pencil, mark the conduit at the required length. Make sure you mark the conduit all the way around the circumference of the tube.
  2. Place your collets around the conduit to protect it from abrasion. Ensure enough conduit is left exposed to allow for safe cutting and threading.
  3. Place the pipe/collets in the vice; tighten so the conduit cannot turn.
  4. Put on your Eye Protection & Gloves.
  5. Using your hacksaw, cut through the conduit at the marked length. Remember, let the saw work for you. Do not force it. For best results use copious amounts of cutting fluid and long slow strokes to cut through the conduit. Continue until you have almost cut through the section.
  6. Support the free section of conduit taking care when making the final cuts.

The conduit will need re-threading to allow use with couplings, locknuts and bushes. There are numerous methods of threading. The traditional method includes using a ratchet & handle with the appropriate dies to form the thread. However, modern electronic threading tools are now widely available.

Either method of threading is acceptable and will achieve the required results.

To thread your conduit using a ratchet & handle:

  1. Place the collets around the conduit to protect it from abrasion.
  2. Place the pipe/collets in the vice, tighten so the conduit cannot turn.
  3. Inspect the dies to make sure they are sharp and free of damage.
  4. Attach the die head to the conduit. Using the heel of your hand, apply a little force to secure the connection.
  5. Put on your Eye Protection & Gloves.
  6. Apply cutting lubricant to the conduit to help maintain a clean cut and reduce friction.
  7. Using your ratchet & handle, turn the dies 3-4 short strokes in the clockwise direction.
  8. Take one anticlockwise reverse stroke to ensure a clean thread.
  9. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you achieve the correct length of thread.
  10. Remove the ratchet, handle and die head.

Once the threading is complete, you must ensure you de-burr the conduit. We recommend using a reamer to do so.

If you require any more information to assist you with all aspects of your installation, please don’t hesitate to contact us using this contact form or by calling +44 (0) 1388 774455.

Blog 304 and 316 Stainless Steel by Electrix International Ltd

304 and 316 Stainless Steel: What are the main differences?

We supply many of our Stainless Steel products in a choice of two grades; 304 (also known as 1.4301 or V2A) and 316L (also known as 1.4404 or V4A).

It is extremely difficult to visually differentiate between the two steel types. Both 304 and 316L grades of Stainless Steel are easy to clean, easy to weld and are renowned for their durability and sustainability. Both grades also offer excellent levels of corrosion resistance especially when compared to other steel types.

The main differences between the grades are as follows:

304 grade Stainless Steel is suitable for installations in environments which are kept hygienically clean e.g. in the food industry. For environments where exposure to particularly hazardous or corrosive substances is likely eg. the offshore or chemical industries, it is recommended that the more resistant 316L grade Stainless Steel is used.

The addition of Molybdenum during the manufacturing process makes 316L Stainless Steel stronger and more durable, capable of withstanding higher levels of corrosion and the affects of chemicals such as chlorides and sulphuric acid.

The Offshore industry would require the 316L grade of Stainless Steel as the acids found in salt water would attack 304; tarnishing the steel and potentially causing rusting. 316L grade Stainless Steel is often specified in Pharmaceutical installations in order to prevent excessive metallic contamination. 316L grade Stainless Steel is also significantly more resistant to heat in comparison to 304.

For more information or general advice on which grade is best for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.