Pluggable electrical installation in concrete--that’s impossible, right? Not for Isolectra!
Traditionally, pluggable electrical installation has been used in indoor installations, especially in places with enough space to accommodate plugs. One of the places that lacks precisely this space is concrete construction. After all, in concrete, installations are usually laid in a conduit. These conduits are too small to run a plug through. Using large conduits that do allow plugs through is not an option, as this would involve a change in the entire construction method. This is not a favourable option.
Is it impossible or a possible challenge?
For years, there has been a belief in the market that pluggable electrical installation in concrete is not possible. In fairness, this also applied to Isolectra. For several years now, we have been receiving enquiries from companies indicating they want to cast electrical systems in concrete. Initially, we too saw mostly insurmountable challenges. What distinguishes Isolectra, however, is its innovative strength. As the specialist in pluggable electrical installation, we aim to be able to provide a suitable system for every issue. Ultimately, then, the questions from the market formed an irresistible trigger and motivation for us to start researching.
Underlying our research was confidence in the robustness of our system. The Wieland RST20® installation system. This system is very strong and can be used in harsh environments. In fact, this is what the system is specifically made for. In addition, it is waterproof to IP69 rating. This means that with a 100-bar high-pressure sprayer, water of 80 degrees Celsius can be unleashed on this system at 15 litres per minute without any effect. This made us wonder: ‘Why couldn’t this system bu used in concrete as well?’
Collaboration with Wieland
Bolstered by our own ideas and questions from installation companies, we started testing and researching things ourselves. To start with, we poured some RST20 plugs into concrete ourselves and, after some time, opened up the concrete. The result was positive. The plugs looked good and that made us think that this really could work.
Of course, this small test was still no more than an empirical experiment and far from being hard proof that pluggable electrical installation in concrete is possible. However, it did trigger an important next step: a conversation with Wieland, the inventor and supplier of this system. You can guess what Wieland’s initial reaction was. Like us, Wieland was initially shocked by this idea. They too thought that pluggable electrical installation in concrete would not be possible. As the talks progressed, however, we slowly but surely managed to convince Wieland that their product could be quite suitable for this, and that this is also an interesting market.
The mutual commitment between Isolectra and Wieland meant that we started investigating the feasibility and possibilities together.
Pluggable electrical installation in concrete in practice
Together with Wieland, we ended up spending two years on the testing and certification process. It was an elaborate and lengthy process but the end result was worth it. Pluggable electrical installation in concrete is now no longer something considered impossible. It is in practice today. In fact, several installation and construction companies have already adopted it as a standard construction method. This mainly concerns residential building and specifically houses built with prefab concrete floors and/or prefab concrete walls. Over the past year, this has been applied in several hundred homes.
The reason why this is mainly used in residential building to date is because there is a great need for more prefabricated work and faster construction. In residential building, it is often said: ‘A house is up in a week but we then spend another six months finishing installation.’ Pluggable electrical installation (in concrete) can shorten this. However, it is perfectly applicable in any prefab building form, including in other markets.
Certification for pluggable electrical installation in concrete
We sometimes get the question: ‘According to the standards (NEN1010), can you cast a pluggable electrical installation and connection into concrete?’ The answer is clear: yes, with the right systems it is permitted.
Isolectra has the right system and is certified to this end (EN61535). This means that our system is suitable for use in concrete. Wieland also states that its systems are maintenance-free. This means that they can be used in locations that are then no longer accessible. The fact that we use special cables suitable for casting completes the picture. Our system may be used in concrete.
Worldwide, we are the only party that can do this, and the RST20® system is also the only system that can do this. Of course, we are proud of that!