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The 5 Cable Management Mistakes You May Be Making Be Making – And Want to Avoid

When moving into a new space, or reorganizing an old one, it is crucial to organize wires and cables. Not doing so can lead to issues, varying from jumbled cords to degraded equipment, from the strain caused by improper wire organization.

What are some of the mistakes people make when not prioritizing cable management?

1. They underestimate the importance of cable management The topic of organizing wires is a legitimate concern on search engines, where a plethora of information about cable management is available. It is a sought-after subject, and necessary part of the process to extend the life of equipment, while promoting safety in the space where wiring is located. Good wire routing practices keep an environment tidy and without trip hazards.

2. Not organizing the cables at hand or planning for a future setup. Cable management should ideally be plotted out when first organizing a space. That would entail mapping out where power outlets are situated, taking an inventory of equipment, and documenting configuration of the space. When choosing equipment, cables, connectors, and other components, it is always best to stick with standard present-day and emerging technologies, rather than obsolete ones. Environmental conditions should also be considered because humidity, temperature, and other aspects challenge your setup. Whether pre-planned or an afterthought, your space should be ready to accommodate the potential expansion of your system. It is important to ensure your infrastructure is easy to maintain, flexible, and scalable. Your current configuration should be assessed, with an inventory of the cable types and quantities present. Areas should be identified where growth, improvements, or adjustments may be needed. If devices are added, it is important to know their power requirements. There should be space for potential new pathways, with ample room for cable raceways, trays, and conduit. Choose scalable items that can be retrofitted or refreshed, which improves system capabilities and reduces costs. Documenting the setup is crucial for troubleshooting down the road, with labeling cables an integral part of the process. An equipment maintenance schedule should be created as well, to determine current and future needs.

3. Mixing data and power cables. They say opposites attract, but not when mixing data and power cables. They can create interference when placed next to each another. What are some cable management techniques to avert electromagnetic interference (EMI), radio frequency interference (RFI), and electrostatic discharge (ESD)? While bundling cables together achieves wire organization, it must be done with great care when data and power cables are near each other. The products used to keep them organized and separated will depend on your setup. A basket cable tray, for example, could be helpful for smaller spaces, if data and power cables are run near a desk. Wire duct is a pathway option that separates data and power cables. Many types of wire duct have slotted spaces to help route cables to their proper destinations, while providing structure that prevents cables from being crushed. Duct notching tools can customize wiring duct Cable and hose carriers also separate cables on industrial equipment and machinery. A Snake Tray® is another cable tray system that routes and segregates cables, protecting them from EMI. For each scenario, data and power cables can be run parallel to each other, then attached to cable trays with hook and loop fasteners or cable ties. To further safeguard from EMI, RFI, and ESD, use Techflex® metal and shielding braided sleeving and/or Shielding ShrinkFlex® heat shrink, to finish and protect cables.

4. Skimping on cable management essentials. While you may think it’s best to go light on wire organization items, not using enough of them in your setup can be detrimental to your cable management Outcomes can include cable clutter and/or strain due to inadequate reinforcement. The right amount of cable clips, cable bundling tools, and cable support systems can prevent the eventual deterioration of cables and wires. If you are scaling back on your cable management products because of cost concerns, it is important to put into perspective that a lack of investment in these products could increase your spending in the long run, for wiring not adequately lifted up. It is best to ensure cables are neatly routed, bundled, and secured generously with items like cable raceway, J-Hooks, cord clips, nylon zip ties, releasable cable ties, and cable cover. Techflex® braided sleeving and wraps are available in different materials to accommodate a multitude of applications for wires, cables, lines, and hoses.

5. Not using the proper tools (or those tools properly). It can be harmful to your wires when applying the wrong cable management For example, bundling with standard cable ties is taking a risk when you know frequent modifications will be made to your harnesses. Traditional zip ties are appropriate, on the other hand, when you do not plan to unbundle your wires. Releasable cable ties are the better option for certain scenarios, such as regularly performing cable maintenance or relocating equipment. It is also important to ensure when a zip tie is applied, for example, it is neither wrapped too loosely nor too tightly. A bundle can come undone when a cable tie has extra slack, or can cut into that bundle, if the tie is too tight.  

Moral of the story: prioritize and practice comprehensive cable management. Explore the solutions featured in this article at CableOrganizer®, Powerficient®, Techflex®, and WireCare®.

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