An open channel track busway consists of an aluminum shell, with copper or aluminum busbars mounted along its interior walls. A continuous access slot (the "open channel") runs along the bottom of the busway, for the insertion of plug-in units or tap offs.
The components that make up a busway are:
- Straight sections (a.) – The main busways that deliver power to your assembly line equipment, workstations, etc. Standard lengths are 5, 10, and 20 feet (1.5, 3, and 6 meters).
- Elbows (b.) – Used to join two straight sections in a horizontal 90-degree turn on a busway run.
- Tee Sections (c.) – Used to connect three straight sections in a 90-degree branch leg on a busway run.
- Power Feed Units (d.) – A power feed unit is usually placed at the beginning of a busway run and supplies incoming power from the panelboard or other power source. The unit may also include power monitoring equipment, an Infra-Red (IR) window for thermal scanning, and a serial, Ethernet, or Wi-Fi connection for reporting data.
Using a combination of straight sections, elbows, and tees, you can create a custom busway grid that fits the power distribution needs of your manufacturing facility. The busway sections are suspended from the ceiling, wall-mounted, or mounted on vertical support poles, directly above or in close proximity to the machines they serve.
The plug-in units incorporate not only circuit protection but all necessary electrical components (breakers, outlets, meters, drop cords, connectors, etc.) that you use to supply power to machines on the factory floor.
You insert the plug-in unit's upper paddle into the open channel in the bottom of a track busway and turn the unit to lock it into place. This connects the paddle to the electrical busbars that are mounted inside the busway section. It only takes a minute to install a plug-in unit on a busway, and no tools are required. You can then plug your machine's power cord into the unit's outlets and flip the breaker switch to supply power to the machine.
You can order custom-made plug-in units, with features that fit the needs of your work environment. Available custom features include number and type of outlets, circuit breakers of specific brands or ratings, drop cords with custom lengths, retractable cord reels, power metering, and safety features such as finger shrouds to prevent accidental breaker turn-off during maintenance.