Wired for the future
by Andy Holtmann
February 6, 2008
Wiremold/Legrand has been assisting with casinos' floor and network wiring needs for years, and with server-based gaming becoming a reality, its expertise is being increasingly sought.
The experience and expertise of Wiremold/Legrand is helping casino properties keep up with floor wiring and network needs
Most of today’s casino floors look nothing like they did just five or six years ago. Over that span a wave of new technology has swept across the gaming industry, creating a need for new systems, new electrical components and for many existing floor wiring networks to be rewired or ripped up and replaced altogether.
And with advancements like server-based gaming coming to fruition now on gaming floors, it won’t be long before nearly every casino will be forced to drastically upgrade their electrical and communication networks in order to keep up.
That’s why a complete catalog of products and bevy of services from Wiremold/Legrand are being looked to by many operators as the answer for their floor-wiring needs.
“We make various types of surface raceways, floor boxes, poke-thru devices, overhead systems—meaning cable tray systems, as well as what we call our power poles, or our utility columns. We also do in-floor systems…Walkerduct® [underfloor duct], Walkercell® [cellular duct], Trenchduct® [Flush Floor Feeder System]. We have a line of medical wall duct that we offer as well. There’s also our modular wiring system, Walkerflex®,” said Jim Landolina, product marketing manager for Wiremold/Legrand. “Basically, we can take power from the closet out to the workstation in any type of location, whether it’s open space in-floor, or overhead.”
A long-running standard
For over 100 years now, Wiremold has been in the business of manufacturing and distributing wire management solutions. In 1900, D. Hayes Murphy acquired the American Conduit Company located in Pennsylvania. Between 1910 and 1920, he moved the company up to West Hartford, Conn. and began offering products and services under the Wiremold Company flag. During World War II, the company was prominent in making a type of vacuum hose for Air Force airplanes. Murphy’s two sons, John and Robert Murphy became involved with the company as well.
Over the next three decades, the company grew its core services to where it became a significant provider of wiring solutions nationwide. Then in the 1980s, the company began making acquisitions, including Walker, RCI and others. In 2000, Wiremold sold to Legrand and became a part of its family of companies, which today include Ortronics, Pass & Seymour, Watt Stopper and Cablofil. “They’re all companies that are in the electrical industry and provide either point-of-use products or cable management systems,” Landolina said.
“Our number one product, since day one, was our 500 Series Raceway™. We started making that around 1910 and we still manufacture and produce that and sell it today. We also have our 4000 Series Raceway™. We have our poke-thru line, our floor box line. And one of the biggest products we have that caters to the casino business is our Walkerduct®, or Walkercell®, which we’ve been manufacturing since the late-1920s.”
Walkerduct® is a single-channel in-floor raceway which is used to carry power or low-voltage communication cables out from the closet to the workstations. These ducts are set in the concrete floor and accessed through openings known as presets. Because each duct carries only power or data cabling, multiple ducts are used—side-by-side. It offers better security and gives operators greater separation between power and data if there’s a power surge. Walkercell® is similar, except that the ducts are formed into a single unit.
The importance of proper wiring
Especially with advancements like server-based gaming, having a capable, scalable and flexible floor system in place has now become a critical issue for casino operators.
“If a system is properly laid out, you can give yourself 100 percent flexibility, where you can make adds, moves and changes effortlessly,” Landolina said. “When relocating your slot banks, you can penetrate through the floor to the duct and you can pull your wires and cables easily. You can change them over or right back [just as easily].”
Whether using a product like Wiremold’s Trenchduct®, or going through the company’s line of junction boxes, the systems give operators pull points, where they can pull wires and cables easily through the ducts. They can also pull them right back, making adding, changing out or upgrading to Cat 5 or Cat 6 wires very easy with an in-floor system.
Landolina explained that when new properties are built, the wiring systems are among the very first components to be added. “With the in-floor system, it’s crucial that the design is up front at the beginning and everything is on site at the beginning of the project, because that’s the very first thing that goes in the floor. That’s why we like to get involved to make sure there are no mistakes and that there’s no product that is missing,” he said.
To change out existing systems becomes much more difficult, as concrete has to be cut and new ductwork needs to be added and then the flooring concrete re-poured. Yet, many gaming properties that have needed to upgrade have chosen this route as rebuilding an entire casino property becomes cost prohibitive. Again, Landolina said it’s important that Wiremold is involved from the beginning of such projects to assist operators in such upgrades—so they don’t have to repeat the process just a few years down the road.
“The gaming industry is always changing. [Properties] are always changing their floors and adding new things. The technology of the slot machines is always changing,” he said. “It’s very important that the up-front design gives them maximum flexibility.”
Landolina said Wiremold attempts to “future-proof” its products, meaning that they’re designed to give the operator room to grow and adapt to future needs.
“Our raceways will give you enough capacity to pull more wires later on. With our ducts, we like to lay them out where you have capability for expansion,” he said. “We’re always thinking with our product design in terms of what will you need later down the road? Where is technology going?”
The biggest challenge that both casino operators and Wiremold alike face in reworking or replacing floor wiring networks comes with poor initial design and planning on the part of those that put in previous systems.
“We talk to so many different people where they have casino properties that went ahead and used the lowest price and [the original contractor/vendor used] puts floor boxes in everywhere. It just doesn’t lend itself to be the most advantageous [method], nor does it have flexibility for newer technology,” Landolina said. “That’s one of the biggest things we see, and we’re out there trying to educate some of these people—the facilities people and the owners and the designers—that up front, you have to look to the future of that space. Don’t just take the cheapest way out because it will end up costing you more in the long run.”
Committed to the customer
With the expertise and experience in the Wiremold/Legrand family of companies, it’s no surprise that Wiremold wants to take a hands-on approach with its clients. The company even offers its Project Services Department, which will run through the entire scope of a project with customers to ensure that the work they have done is right for them.
“We will take floor plans and do a proposal on what we feel should be the proper layout to give maximum flexibility,” Landolina said. We don’t charge for this service. We’ll lay it all out, we’ll do some budget pricing for them, we’ll give them details on what they’ll be getting should they use our product. We also have some business development people out in the market who will sit with the owners and the facilities people, go over our proposals with them, and show them just why an in-floor system makes sense in the casino market.”
For instance, if operators are looking at a convention center area or a ballroom, usually the load there is much greater than in a regular meeting room. When they design convention centers, they need to think about what type of shows they want to get now, and which ones they want to bring in later, Landolina said.
“A lot of the big floral shows will need water…or air. So our convention center boxes offer a compartment in which they can have compressed air and water. You have to look at the amount of power you’re going to need. A lot of the cooking shows will draw 50 amps at various locations if you’re doing cooking demonstrations, so you need a box that can handle greater power than just a 20 amp device. That sets those boxes apart from the more standard boxes that would go in a meeting room, where you need just a couple of 20 amp devices and some communication jacks and Cat 5 jacks.”
Landolina said Wiremold has been in the wire management solutions business for longer than any of its competitors, and that it understands the needs of the casino business better than other companies. In the next year to year-and-a-half, the company will be introducing a whole new line of next-generation products that will offer even more flexibility for casinos and other industries.
“We have over 60 direct people throughout the country. We have over 200 manufacturers’ reps out there in the marketplace. At any point, at any time, we can be on the job site helping you,” Landolina said. “Whenever you need a product or you need services or help, we’re just a phone call away from being on the site.”
Wiremold at a glance
60 Woodlawn Street
West Hartford, Conn. 06110Phone: (860) 233.6251Fax: (860) 232.2062
Web site: www.wiremold.com
Key casino/gaming product lines:
—Walkerduct® (underfloor duct)
—Walkercell® (cellular duct)
—Trenchduct® (flush floor feeder system)
—Walkerflex® (modular wiring system)
—Walker® Poke-Thru systems
—A large line of floor boxes, including large capacity and raised boxes
—Casinos and gaming properties
—Retail and grocery stores
—Convention and meeting facilities
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