Cable ties, often referred to as zip ties, are a versatile fastening solution that is utilised across almost every major industry in some form or another. The cable tie was first patented as the Ty-Rap in 1958 in Memphis, Tennessee by Marcus C. Logan, a consultant for a Boeing aircraft facility. The idea for the cable tie came to him when he saw workers with calluses and cuts on their hands, caused from tying braided nylon cord around bundles of cables. Since then, the cable tie has evolved into the primary tool for cable and pipe management with other applications for aerospace, waste control, manufacturing and construction. Cable ties are generally single-use devices, however there are alternative re-usable solutions that function with a clasp or release mechanism, such as releasable cable ties and steel cable ties.
Cable ties and fixing elements are used in many industries: for electrical installation, harness making, in the construction industry, for preliminary installation purposes, in the packaging industry or under extreme environmental conditions like offshore oil rigs and drilling ships. There are almost limitless applications for cable ties and in this blog, we take a look at 7 major industries that utilise cable ties.
Cable ties are employed within the construction industries due to their ability to withstand harsh conditions, secure fragile wiring and secure scaffolding. They are often used for attaching netting to the scaffold poles to stop debris falling out onto the street, as well as for attaching safety and advertising signs.
Cable ties are also used for installing temporary fencing and screens while construction is underway on building sites. Nylon 66 cable ties have a high enough tensile strength to secure scaffold netting and sheeting and even the actual scaffolding itself. The steel teeth on the buckle grips the strap permanently while the acetal strap has excellent weatherability.
Stainless steel cable ties (type 316) also provide corrosion and high temperature resistance, as well as being weather and chemical resistant.
2. Electronics & Data Centres
Anywhere there are cables, there is a need for cable management. Be it a commercial installation or a data center with rows of server racks and network cabinets, there is a need for substantial and well-planned cable management to support a large number of data cables, fibre patch cords, power cords, and network devices.
Cable ties are able to hold groups of data cables together and secure them to components. They can also be colour coded to allow for easy identification of individual components. Colour coding simplifies management and can save time when tracing or separating cables. Data cables can be colour coded to identify the function of the type of connection and different colours can be used for power cables to identify and organize dual power feeds for redundant power sources. Cable ties are also flexible and can be adjusted when cables are added or moved.
The average data centre globally occupies around 100,000 square feet, which equates to thousands of cables. This indicates that millions of cable ties are being used as as a method of cable management for data centres across the world.
3. Agriculture & Food
Cable ties are well suited to the agricultural environment. They’re used for attaching harvest tags, fastening plants and branches, tagging sacks and mesh bags and safely storing produce. Nylon cable ties are durable and capable of able to handle continuous outdoor exposure. In the farming industry, cable ties are the preferred choice as they are UV resistant and specifically designed to withstand extreme heat and weatherability. Printed cable ties are also used for identification and labelling for packaging and sacks. They can colour coded for easy identification and sequentially numbered for recording and tracking purposes.
Methods of securing and tracking must continue once raw materials reach final packaging and production. Food and drink companies aim to keep products free from contamination and adhere to strict regulation throughout the entire supply chain.
Where stringent safety laws and contamination risks are prevalent, metal detectable cable ties become a requirement. Production regulation require specialist detectable cable ties for compliance as they can be identified by metal detectors and X-ray equipment.
It’s very important to keep healthcare environments clean and tidy, and cable ties are used to keep stray cables organised and at bay. In hospitals, this includes the medical devices behind a patient’s bed, any wires that need to run underneath beds, and in control panels.
There are also strict healthcare regulation on the disposal of clinical and offensive waste. Printed waste ties are the widely adopted solution for NHS disposal of hazardous or contaminated waste. They individually identify bags of waste and trace them back to their source. All clinical waste ties are printed with sequential numbering and other identifiers such as hospital names, wards or departments.
For medical testing environments, there are also cable ties available that can prevent microbial development on samples, tubes and cables. These cable ties are an ideal solution for hospitals, medical manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies as they provide anti-mold, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial protection.
Maximizing network efficiency is the primary goal of a telecommunications system, and good installation practices are essential to assure high performance of the cable run.
Cable ties are used in many areas within the telecommunications industry where thin walled or soft insulation wires and cables are being installed. When fitting and maintaining phone and internet systems, there are miles and miles of cables to manage. This is why cable ties are used frequently in the telecommunications industry, along with insulation tape.
Cable ties have many benefits to telecommunications industry as they allow for quick and convenient bundling of category cables and wires. They are quick and easy to install, prevent damage to cables and have re-usable variations which make them cost-effective.
Properly installed cable ties will not only help prevent transmission losses in telecommunications system, but also will lead to a safe, quality, and reliable installation. Maximizing network efficiency is the primary goal of a telecommunications system, and good installation practices are also essential to assure high performance of the cable run.
There is no doubt that absolutely every component of an aircraft, whether large or small, needs to be of the highest standard and the same rings true for aircraft cable ties. Aircrafts are known for having complex electrical systems because of the requirement to keep the plane as light as possible.
Cable ties are widely used in aircraft. An aircraft is composed of cables and electrical wiring essential for the safe function of the whole system. Keeping these bundles of wire organized makes aircraft repairs easy whenever electrical problems arise. The average passenger plane wields 124 miles of cables, so excellent cable management is also critical to the functionality of aircrafts. Wire management needs to be kept in neat and tidy order so that repairs on an aircraft are easy, and so identifying potential electrical problem is done with ease.
Several types of cable ties are needed in an aircraft. It is essential they meet the specifications of parts and components for the application they will be used for. Usually, heat resistant and heavy-duty cable ties are the best option for use in aerospace applications. However, the types of cable ties needed will vary depending on the reqreuiement. For small, tight spaces, miniature heat-stabilised cable ties are needed and for hoses and larger cables, heavy duty cable ties are required.
7. Automotive and Cars
The use of cable ties is common in automotive electrical applications for bundling and securing wiring, cable, wire harness conductors, hoses, and more. Cable ties are also used to secure hoses and cables to the chassis of cars.
Cable ties for automotive use range in length from 4 inches to more than 15 inches. Having a long or wide cable tie, however, doesn’t necessarily indicate its strength. Cable ties are graded in terms of tensile strength which corresponds to the maximum amount of force that can be exerted on a cable tie’s locking mechanism once secured. Cable ties for automotive use have tensile strength ranging from 8 to 110kg.
As with the aerospace industry, the type of cable tie required in the automotive industry will depend on where they will be used. For wiring under the bonnet for example, chemical and heat resistant ties should be a priority and should be able to withstand harsh conditions involving petrol, oil and grease. Stainless steel cable ties are also a popular choice due to their strength, heat resistance and ability to withstand extreme environments.
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