Helix/HiTemp Cables Inc. (Franklin, MA) has announced SmartWrap cable packages, which typically consist of several Category 5 cables, helically wrapped together in one installation package. Available in a variety of constructions (copper and fiber), designs and colors, these custom cable packages can be ordered in lengths of 1000 feet to master reels of 3500 feet.
Barbara E. Thompson
"Although the SmartWrap package is usually constructed of three to six certified Category 5 cables," says Peter Kunigonis, product marketing manager at Helix/HiTemp, "we can also construct assemblies with up to 25 cables. A combination of unshielded and shielded twisted-pair cables is possible, as well."
In addition, the technique can be used to combine fiber and copper cables for backbone and horizontal cabling installations--for example, for telephone, computer network or security systems, as well as interactive television. These applications are primarily found in "smart" buildings, campuses and homes.
Helix/HiTemp cables for smart houses, for example, would typically consist of two RG-6, two RG-59, two Category 5 and two fiber-optic cables, all wrapped together. "Of course," adds Kunigonis, "we can do any custom combination."
According to Kunigonis, people are now using the word `smart` to refer to buildings, campuses and houses that conform to specifications that previously defined intelligent buildings.* "That`s one of the reasons we call the product SmartWrap," he says. "Reduced installation time and easy cable management are two other reasons it`s smart to use this type of cable."
To make installation of multiple cables easier, the SmartWrap technique is used to helically wrap the cables, binding them into one grouping. "For example," explains Kunigonis, "you want to pull six Category 5 cables through a ceiling in a building. What you would normally do is place six boxes or reels on the floor and pull each of them separately. It`s almost impossible to pull six units through the walls and the ceiling at the same time.
"We think we have a better idea with SmartWrap. Instead of pulling six cables, you just pull one. Then, as you break out the cable in different sections of an office or building, you just snip the binder, take that cable and drop it down. You continue with the rest of them in the same way, using them as drop cables. Since you pull only one SmartWrap cable package, you can install 6 to 12 cables at a time."
Although the price for SmartWrap cables may be a little higher than buying individual cables, you will likely realize savings on installation time. "Generally, labor costs exceed material costs by almost six or seven to one," says Kunigonis. "Using this type of cable can reduce your labor costs."
Each SmartWrap cable can be color-coded to fit customer specifications. "For example," says Kunigonis, "you can use a variety of colors, or use all one color and number the cables for easier cable management. And, our Category 5 cables are compatible with existing hardware and comply with TIA/EIA-568A standards."
Avelino "Al" Pinto, cabling team leader at Helix/HiTemp Cables, demonstrates the correct technique for installing multiple Category 5 cables in a SmartWrap package.