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Top 10 Cable Tie Installation Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

Installing cable ties is simple but when it is done improperly, there can be devastating outcomes, whether that is damage to a wire or to the structure where it is located. Here are the Top 10 mistakes people make when putting zip ties into place, and the ways to sidestep them.

  1. Overtightening Cable Ties. Tighter isn’t better when it comes to your wires and cables. Yes, there needs to be a degree of tension to keep things in place, but zip ties that are too snug can damage the jackets on your cables and wires. This can be harmful to the wires within them when the covering is pierced, creating signal interferences, moisture infiltration, electrical issues, safety hazards, weakened structural integrity, or complete failure of the cable or wire itself. One way to remedy this issue is to ensure cable ties are adequately tightened — but with just enough play so their jackets are not squeezed. Releasable cable ties, which are adjustable and reusable, are another way to prevent overtightening, because they can be set to the appropriate tension. Self-locking stainless steel cable ties are durable, non-flammable ties that fasten correctly into place during installation.
  2. Using an Inappropriate Cable Tie Type. While some cable ties are very versatile and can be used across many applications, some types are not meant for particular tasks. When you use zip ties not suited for a specific application, it can reduce the effectiveness of a cable tie. It may additionally cause damage to the wires or cables underneath and create electrical shorts and other safety hazards. It is important to choose cable ties with the correct tensile strength to hold up the harness being supported. Selecting the right zip tie style averts future potential problems. Nylon cable ties are helpful for many general applications. Releasable cable ties can be used for a range of applications, but especially those where harnesses are likely to be modified. Metal cable ties can withstand harsh environments and temperature extremes.
  3. Overloading a Cable Tie. Tensile strength is a factor again here. When too many cables or wires are held within one cable tie, it can put strain and the possibility of damage on both the harness and tie. A zip tie should never be weighed down with an excess of cables that could surpass its recommended bundle size.
  4. Using a Cable Tie Not Suited for the Correct Conditions. Cable ties must be designed to endure the right temperatures and environmental conditions. It is wise from the start to use the appropriate zip tie for your application. For example, in very cold environments, nylon cable ties may become brittle under mechanical stress and break. Stainless steel cable ties can be challenging to handle in frigid conditions without gloves. They may also corrode in saltwater if not made of high-quality marine-grade stainless steel. Releasable cable ties are versatile but since they don’t provide as much security as permanent ones, they could unintentionally release a cable or component. UV resistant cable ties may create an unnecessary expense if they are attached to harnesses in places with minimal UV exposure. But when conditions are extraordinarily heated up, this type can lose strength or crumble.
  5. Exposing Cable Ties to Sharp Edges. When a jagged surface comes into contact with a cable tie, it can damage both the tie and cable underneath it. The proper cable clips can keep wires and zip ties away from rough corners.
  6. Incorrectly Placing Cable Ties. If cable ties cinch harnesses too tightly, it can place pressure on them and limit their mobility. This may happen when zip ties are incorrectly lined up along the bundle. It is essential to place ties at appropriate intervals and angles that maintain flexibility, to keep wires from getting strained.
  7. Not Providing Cable Identification. Labeling cables is an important aspect of any cable management process. When you have an extensive number of wires, it is critical to label them for future maintenance and reconfigurations. Multitasking products that let you bundle and label cables simultaneously include the HellermannTyton Identification Tie and HellermannTyton MilSpec Identification Tie. Panduit® has also created the Pan-Ty® Marker and Flag Ties. The Panduit® Sta-Strap® Releasable Marker Ties combine the cable tag and cable flag in one but allow you to loosen or remove the tie for cable maintenance and modifications. Smaller bundles call for cable identification tags, which integrate the capability to gather wires with identification plates or tags
  8. Using Low-Quality Cheap Cable Ties. Inexpensive zip ties may additionally sacrifice quality. It is best to purchase cable ties known for their reliability from trusted manufacturers, like the ones in the vast selection from CableOrganizer®.  
  9. Ignoring Safety Standards. There are guidelines for cable tie use put into place for a reason. These regulations or recommendations were set to keep people, equipment, and structures safe. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is among groups setting these rules (including appropriate cable management) for United States workplace safety. UL Solutions, formerly Underwriters Laboratories, administers third party testing, placing its seal on products that have undergone and passed stringent tests. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) created NFPA 70 to cover the safe installation of electrical equipment. Safety hazards like electrical shocks can occur when regulations in place are not followed. Non-compliance can also impact insurance coverage, with the denied claims and penalties among possible results. Employers should familiarize themselves and their employees with safety standards, and purchase compliant cable ties.  
  10. Not Preparing for Future Cable Changes: It is crucial to forecast any cable configuration adjustments expected down the line for maintenance or system expansion. Cable ties should accommodate changes and bundle growth. Releasable cable ties may work in some circumstances.

Shop at CableOrganizer® for all your cable tie needs, including cable tie guns, cable tie removal tools, and cable tie mounts.

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