Monday, February 6, 2017

Top 5 Forgotten Items In Network Builds

A Brice Box Blog

How often do you travel and feel like you left your toothbrush, socks, or some other necessity at home? My wife bought me a checklist to use when I pack so I won't omit an essential item from my luggage. Of course I use those items every day, but without that checklist, the odds are high that I'll forget something.

Similarly, if you don't specify fiber splice sleeves on the bill of material, there is a good chance you or your contractor will not order sleeves for that job. Fortunately, Comstar Supply stocks plenty of splice sleeves. Unfortunately, we're not in every major town like a Home Depot.

I polled our inside sales staff on the items they are normally asked to ship out next day air to help complete projects on time. Here are the results:

1. Duct Couplers. When pulling out a 6000 foot reel of 1-1/4" HDPE innerduct, you might not expect to use many couplers on the job. In reality the lengths of bore are much shorter, going for 1000' typically at a time. Accounting for "as-builts" can be one of the more challenging aspects of outside plant construction, and ordering 10-20% more couplers is usually less expensive than having a few shipped next-day air delivery. Not to mention, ordering couplers in advance will save valuable downtime on the job.

If you're not sure what type of couplers you should use for your application, check out our video series comparing the different types of couplers for HDPE.

2. Duct Pulling Eyes. I once joked with a co-worker about how some suppliers like to tout "custom engineered products." In reality, that custom engineering often results in an additional part in the box to suit the needs of the build, much like adding lettuce and tomato to your burger. That's not engineering; that's just customer service! Based on this marketing "genius," we proposed offering a duct reel with a pulling eye already installed in the end.

To this day we laugh about our "engineered solution" for what we call "Finnerduct." Maybe there is a need after all for this solution based on the amount of pulling eyes we ship out last minute. Compare that to custom fiber assemblies sold over 50 feet that come equipped with a pulling eye for convenience. Why not have the same feature for duct?

3. Duct Plugs. I'm starting to see a theme here. Whether you need to plug an unoccupied conduit after it's installed, or seal the voids around cables, we see a lot of last minute plug orders. We stock a wide array of blank plugs, as well as simplex and innerduct organizer plugs. Often times the job isn't complete until plugs are installed, but we rarely see them specified on the original bill of materials.

4. Fiber Optic Cleaning Supplies. As awareness grows for proper fiber optic hygiene, I would say the tides are turning for this product group. Many customers are incorporating fiber cleaning into their operating procedures and ordering plans. Whether you need supplies for splice preparation or connector inspection cleaning, Comstar offers a full line of wet and dry fiber cleaning products.

Deltec™ System
5. Tie Wraps. In our industry, cable management is paramount. Often the technical requirements for tie wraps exceed what you find on store shelves. Comstar Supply supports a full line of industrial-grade, UV, delrin strapping systems for aerial construction, commonly known as the Deltec™ system. We also carry color-coded tie wraps to help maintain TIA-598 fiber color identification for expressed buffer tubes in splice closures and termination panels. In addition to cable tie wraps, we offer a wealth of fiber-specific cable clips to assist with mounting drop cables to structures.

Inevitably, we all overlook the items we need everyday. I hope this blog brings new light to writing your next bill of material. Can you think of anything we forgot to add to this list that might round out a top ten?

Deltec is a trademark of Thomas & Betts Corporation.

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