Article
For control panel assemblers, cable ties can be an important 
wire-management tool, helping them to keep panels organized. While once 
these were just simple, plastic strips, they’re now offered in a range 
of materials designed to address a number of application-specific 
requirements. Understanding what your options are will help ensure the 
cable ties you’re using on any particular project are actually the right
 ones for the job.

A Cable Tie for Every Job

Chuck Ross
For control panel assemblers, cable ties can be an important wire-management tool, helping them to keep panels organized. While once these were just simple, plastic strips, they’re now offered in a range of materials designed to address a number of application-specific requirements. Understanding what your options are will help ensure the cable ties you’re using on any particular project are actually the right ones for the job.

Cable ties were first developed to aid airplane manufacturing, back in the mid 1950s. At the time, aircraft wiring was organized on 50-ft. long sheets of plywood. To hold the wiring in place, workers used hand-knotted, braided nylon cord. Prolific electrical-products inventor Maurus Logan first patented his solution to this problem in 1958, and cable ties have since become a common presence in all types of electrical installations.

Today’s products are fabricated to suit a variety uses. Recognizing that not all electrical installations face the same demands, manufacturers now offer cable ties that are:

  • UV resistant, to resist the damaging effects of sunlight in outdoor applications.
  • Flame retardant, for use where low flammability and smoke product are critical, such as in tunnels and other enclosed spaces.
  • Heat stabilized, to remain stable in high-heat conditions, in some cases to temperatures as high as 220 degrees F. Extra high temperature ties are stable in extreme high temperature conditions, with air temperatures as high as 300 degrees F. 
  • Heat-reactive, changing their color to warn of potentially dangerous high temperatures.
  • Weatherable, providing increased resistance to chemicals, including inorganic acids and neutral and basic salts.
  • Detectable, allowing detection by X-ray machines and metal detectors. This quality is important in pharmaceutical and food-processing applications to ensure cut pieces don’t end up contaminating finished products.

Photo courtesy of ABB
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