Monday, September 03, 2007

Interlocking flooring for flexible learning centre?

industrial mat topIn "Cabling for the flexible learning centre" (August 17, 2007), I discussed how to get data and power to the computers in a flexible learning center. At a local store I found modular interlocking flooring system which might be suitable for laying cable under.

industrial mat sideThe mats I found are LokMat "Hard Dry (no Holes), from Pulsar Pacific Corp in Victoria. These are 500 x 500 x 20 mm and cost about $27 each retail. The material is 5 mm thick black plastic. The underside of the mat has a matrix of 15 mm high posts, much like columns in a building holding up a roof. At the edges, where the mats clip together, there is about 5 mm clearance.

The mats are designed for industrial use, including being driven over, so presumably withstand walking chairs and tables of a classroom. One problem is that the standard material is black plastic with a non slip surface. What would be better is a carpet like spotted and stippled colored surface. If that is not possible, it might be necessary to cover the mats with carpet tiles, increasing the cost.

There is sufficient clearance to place cables under the mat. It might be necessary to cut a section of the edge of the mat. What is not clear is if cables could be laid bare under the mat or would need to be placed in a conduit for protection and if this would meet safety regulations. A 10 x 15 mm conduit should fit comfortably under the mats.

I have written to a couple of the suppliers to ask if their products are suitable. If anyone has experience of this, please let me know.

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