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How does a busway system save me money over wire and conduit?

There are two main methods to distribute your power over a large area in a commercial or industrial setting.  The first option is using standard wire and conduit.  The second option, which we will focus on here, is using busway, or bus duct as it is often called.  The major manufacturers who produce bus duct are: Square D, ITE/Siemens, Cutler Hammer and General Electric.  All of these lines of busway have specific advantages over one another, but all of them serve the same purpose.

 
Busway is defined by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) as a "prefabricated electrical distribution system consisting of bus bars in a protective enclosure."  The bus bars can either be made from aluminum or copper.
  General Electric Bus Duct

The two types of bus duct are plug-in and feeder.  Plug-in busway is used in applications where power requirements are distributed over a large area.  Using plug-in units called bus plugs, load connections can be added or relocated easily. Plug-in busway is for indoor use only.

There are two main ways that using bus duct instead of wire and conduit can save you and your company money; initial savings, and future savings.  Many people don't realize that not only does a busway system save you money up front, but also down the road as your business expands, adapts or moves.

1) Initial Savings

The three main ways that a busway system will save you up front money over conduit and cable are:  1) Material Costs, 2)Shipping Costs, 3)Labor Costs.  We will take a look at each of these ways

Material Costs
Busway systems have been found to be cheaper in up front costs over wire and conduit.  In addition to those savings, by buying your busway system used from H&H Buying & Selling, you will save a significant amount of money over new.

Shipping Costs
Due to the modular nature of busway, and also the fact that it is most times lighter than conduit and cable, your shipping/delivery costs will be less.

Labor Costs
When a bus duct system is being installed, there is no wire stripping, preparing or pulling.  You also eliminate the time consuming job of hanging conduit.  Installing the busway involves hanging the sections with hangers and threaded rod, connecting the duct with the splices, installing the cover plates and end closures, and installing the tap boxes to bring your power into.   Then you are ready to start plugging in your bus plugs and distributing your power. Installing a busway system is more efficient than installing the wire and conduit.  This is money in your pocket.

There have been various labor/cost studies done comparing bus duct to cable and conduit.  These studies have been done by bus duct manufacturers such as Square D and GE, as well as by independent firms.  The studies have shown that up to a 75% savings in installation time is possible, as well as significant savings on shipping and initial cost.

2) Future SavingsSquare D Bus Duct

One of the main assets of a busway system is its modular nature.  Bus duct comes in straight lengths from 2' to 10'. It also comes in "T" connections, vertical and horizontal elbows, and other specialty pieces.  A bus duct system is made up of many modular units, which are all inter-connectable.  Each section bolts to the next with some sort of splice.  Each busway system begins with either a plug on or bolt on tap box. A tap box is where the incoming power is brought in to feed the rest of the line.  10 bus plugs can be plugged in to each 10 foot section of duct.   Due to its modular nature, a busway system can be designed specifically for each application.  The system can then be changed and tweaked if needed.

Are you setting up your manufacturing plant with hopes to expand and potentially move in the future?  If you install a busway system, when that day comes, it can move with you.   If you originally used wire and conduit, it would stay with the original building.

Let's say that you want to move an air compressor from one end of your plant to another.  If you have a busway power distribution system, this is not a problem.  Your air compressor is being fed from a bus plug that is plugged into your existing busway.  Due to the modular design of your busway, this bus plug can be disconnected, and moved to the machine's new location.  There is no pulling wire.  There is no hanging new conduit.  There is no tear-down at all. Again, this would not be possible with wire and conduit. 

Now you can see for yourself the advantages of using a bus duct system over wire and conduit.  It is the most cost effective way to go, both in initial costs and future savings.  Add to this the extra savings you get from buying your busway system used from H&H Buying & Selling, and you are definitely getting the most for your money. 


Take a look at our wide selection of new, surplus and used busway.


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H & H Buying & Selling, Inc
3236 California St. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418
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