Compared to alternatives to computer room layout and design — such as dado trunking, skirting and suspended ceilings — raised floor systems provide more benefits. Let’s take a closer look at what raised access floor systems are and why they’re such an efficient, economical choice for the configuration of today’s data centers and computer rooms.
What Is a Raised Floor System?
A raised floor system — sometimes referred to as a computer access flooring system — is a method of elevating a room’s flooring structure above its solid substrate — which is often made of concrete. The raised floor system is comprised of a grid structure, pedestals and raised floor tiles, which creates a gap above the substrate.
The grid of a raised floor system is supported by pedestals that can be adjusted vertically to attain the desired space above the subfloor. In addition, depending on the data center’s specific requirements, the pedestals can be affixed to the substrate using a number of mechanical or adhesive options.
Raised floor tiles can be made from a wide variety of materials, including cement or a wood core that’s clad in aluminum or even steel. There are also perforated and grated panel designs that are extremely useful in facilitating the flow of air — and as a result, cooling.
Benefits of a Raised Floor System
Since you typically install a raised floor system for the benefit of your data center’s operation, let’s review some of the key advantages this form of flooring adds to your computer room’s functionality:
- Cable management: From eliminating tripping hazards to providing an alternative to heat exposure in hot aisles, raised floors are an ideal way of managing the vast networks of cables that come along with rows and rows of servers and related computer equipment. Plus, with all cables concealed below your raised floor, all you’re left with is a neat and tidy arrangement of racks and aisles.
- Upgrade flexibility: The ability to quickly reconfigure and/or replace raised floor tiles means that when it’s time to add or upgrade equipment, you can do so with full access to the underfloor space. Whether you’re adding grated tiles or floor diffusers, raised floor systems are a great way to support your data center now and throughout all of its future upgrades.
- Cooling efficiency: One of the most important benefits of raised floor systems for data centers is their support of more efficient airflow management. Since warm air rises, many overhead cooling systems prove to be ineffective. In contrast, raised floors enable the efficient delivery of cool air from beneath equipment — as well as the establishment of hot- and cold-aisle arrangements.
- Grounding capabilities: Although raised floors aren’t grounded themselves, they allow easy access to the building ground. Along with specially designed flooring tiles, raised floor systems are a great way of dissipating static energy.
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