Try velcro for cable ties

Jan. 1, 1995
Standard nylon cable ties that are stock items with most telephone companies and cable contractors can be cinched snugly to cable bundles without damaging the cables; however, some installers cinch these ties down as tightly as possible. In fact, they may use a tool to increase leverage and in this way, squeeze the cable bundles so tightly that the insulation turns white or is cut by the sharp edge of the cable tie. This is an improper installation practice and can lead to unpredictable operatio

Thomas H. Davis, Oregon Department of Transportation

Problem

Standard nylon cable ties that are stock items with most telephone companies and cable contractors can be cinched snugly to cable bundles without damaging the cables; however, some installers cinch these ties down as tightly as possible. In fact, they may use a tool to increase leverage and in this way, squeeze the cable bundles so tightly that the insulation turns white or is cut by the sharp edge of the cable tie. This is an improper installation practice and can lead to unpredictable operation of a Category 5 local area network.

Solution

An alternative worth exploring is the use of velcro to make your own cable ties. Velcro is available in most hardware and specialty stores, as well as in some communications vendors` component catalogs. Ask for velcro hose or tool strips at the local hardware or chain store, or look for velcro adhesive strips at a fabric store. Long, thin velcro strips are ideal for cable ties. Such strips can hold cable bundles securely without crushing them. Also, velcro is reusable, ties made with velcro can be opened quickly, and installation, removal and adjustment require no tools. Nylon cable ties, on the other hand, can be used only once, and must be cut off and discarded if you want to change your cabling configuration. Velcro strips can also be cut to proper length, so leftover material need not be snipped off; nylon ties need to have their pulling ends trimmed off as a step in dressing the cable bundles.

Commercial communications cable ties made from velcro are just coming on the market, but may be more expensive than those you make yourself.

Click here to enlarge image

Chatsworth Products Inc. (Chatsworth, CA) has introduced cable ties made from a hook-and-loop material resembling velcro. They are available in different colors for color-coding and identifying cable. Such features as buckles and grommets strengthen the ties and enable them to be hung from hooks or nails.

Thomas H. Davis is senior network facilities planner at the Oregon Department of Transportation, Salem, OR.

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