Sign & Digital Graphics

November '15

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24 • November 2015 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S ELECTRIC SIGNAGE that an experienced technician who is well-versed in running a break and shear be used to fabricate the raceway, and then cap the ends shut via welding or attach- ment of an end plate. A prefabricated race way only requires the skill set of running a chop saw. In most cases, the ends are fitted and attached mechanically with extruded elements that fit perfectly for a clean, finished look. Installation—Aesthetics vs. Ease When it comes to installing a tradi- tional stick-built 7" x 7" raceway, options for attaching it to the wall include tabs and/or steel angle welded to the top and bottom of the raceway. It's big, unsightly and typically visible from the ground. For the designer, visible attachments (unless intended to be part of the design) com- pletely take away from the design much like a photographer inserting a picture of a drunken college guy photobombing the bride and groom during the big kiss. In my humble opinion, visible attachments that are not part of the design can actu- ally cheapen the appearance of a very well-designed and fabricated channel letter set. The huge benefit of installing on a raceway is the fewer number of holes that are required to be drilled into the building compared to letters mounted directly onto the building. Aside from that, the time savings is only substan- tial when drilling through concrete or masonry. Otherwise, in both wall mount and raceway-mounted letter sets, the let- ters must still be mounted to something, regardless of what they are mounted to, so there is still time involved in each sce- nario. Saving time during installation is key to keeping the bottom line within mar- gin. How you speed up your installation is up to you; however, a few extrusion companies today have reinvented this wheel with some very well-planned race- way products. The old ways of installing a raceway are just that, the old ways. With a little research, you may find that just like everything out there, somebody has built a better mousetrap. Wireways—The Designers Best Friend The wireway is much different than the raceway. Raceways can seem like a bit of an afterthought, where as a wire- way is designed to be part of the overall design of the sign. In many cases, the wireway becomes a feature of the sign, and is therefore much more aesthetically refined and easier on the eye. Wrench Room—The Installers' Code of Access Wireways are smaller, but more shal- low would be the better way to say it. They are typically only 3" or 4" deep and provide limited access to the backs of the letters. In most cases, servicing a letter set with a wireway requires that the entire sign be removed from the wall and serviced on the ground where everything can be accessed. No Time Savings on Installation With wireways, the time saving ben- efits must be left on the shop floor as wireways are usually part of the entire sign, and therefore offer no time savings during the installation process. However, when looking at the sign from the ground, the aesthetics of a wireway far exceed the bulky and more prominent raceway. In Closing Whether it's a raceway or a custom wireway, the idea that all of the wiring is usually accessible at the sign is ben- efit enough. Being forced to run wires through a wall and into a cramped sign area is never much fun for the installer, so for that sake alone, wireways and race- ways offer some of the easiest ways to install a sign. SDG A slide-in power supply mount on an extruded raceway system from Easy Mount. (Photos courtesy of Easy Mount LLC)

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