Types of Cables

It’s important to identify which type of cable you are dealing with before selecting a cable tray. Cables can be categorized as either non-metallic or metallic cables; non-metallic cables include fiber optics, coaxial and speaker wires whereas metallic cables comprise power, control, data and instrumentation cables. It is important to select the right tray for your application to ensure adequate support and protection for the cables.

Non-Metallic Cables: 

Non-metallic cables, such as fiber optics and copper composite cables, are better suited to ladder trays or cable trays with an open configuration. The ventilation and open design offers more flexibility for handling such cables as well as a faster installation. It’s also easier to access the cables within a ladder tray for any required repairs or maintenance. 

Metallic Cables: 

For metallic cables, such as power or control cables, it’s best to use a tray that is completely enclosed. Closed cable trays protect the cables from dust, water and other environmental hazards and can help minimize potential fire risks due to electrical shocks or sparks. It also allows technicians to easily assess the condition of the wires without having to remove them from the tray.

The main difference:

It’s important to know what kind of cables you’re dealing with when selecting a cable tray, as different types will require different designs and materials. Non-metallic cables are best suited to ladder trays or open cable trays. This is because they offer more flexibility for handling the cables and faster installation. On the other hand, metallic cables, such as power or control cables, should be housed in an enclosed cable tray that provides protection from dust, water and other environmental hazards. An enclosed tray also makes it easier for technicians to assess the condition of the wires without having to remove them from the tray, saving time and money.


Generally speaking, cable trays should be chosen based on the type of cables which will be running through them. The weight of a cable tray is also important to consider; if it’s not designed for the weight of the cables and installers then it could lead to bending or damage of the tray. Of course, safety regulations must always be observed, so it’s important to make sure that any open type of cable tray has been tested and verified as safe before being put into use. 


Identifying the type of cable involved is an important task, as not all cables act the same and are manufactured from different materials. For instance, heavier control cables require trays with increased rigidity and safety measures that account for the additional weight – particularly if there’s any possibility of someone touching them. Specialized cables may also require special cable trays and installation techniques to ensure proper coverage and protection. Many suppliers offer a variety of sizes to meet your needs, including material selection options, so make sure you get exactly what you need fit for the specific application.