Zip ties solve the problem of harnessing the hundreds of wires used in manufacturing and revolutionize the world of fastening. This article describes the working principle of zip ties (cable ties). After reading the article, you will learn all details of this unique solution.
What is a zip tie?
The zip tie is a device used primarily for securing cables and wires in electrical installations and equipment. It is manufactured from either plastic or metal materials and incorporates a strap and locking mechanism in one device.
The zip tie is designed to make the task of fastening, bundling, clamping, and managing wires easier and quicker for industrial applications, construction, communications, utility, and OEM professionals as well as home improvement specialists and do-it-yourself enthusiasts.
Zip ties are also referred to as:
- Cable tie
- Wire tie
- Hose tie
- Steggel tie
The zip tie is used to:
- Keep cables organized and prevent them from tangling with each other.
- Prevent visual pollution.
- Save space in the device or the panel.
- Provide connection security.
Zip ties (cable ties) can be used in a wide variety of applications due to their low cost and ease of use. Some application examples are:
- Securing of electrical cabling to cable trays and racks in reticulation systems.
- Securing and bundling of wiring in electrical equipment, switchboards, and control panels.
- Securing of electrical conduit piping and ducting.
- Security seals.
- Hand restraints. (handcuffs)
- Various medical, industrial, and DIY applications.
How does a zip tie work?
A zip tie works rather like a belt, where the end is passed through a buckle and fastened with a prong inserted through a hole in the strap. In the case of most conventional zip ties, the strap is passed through a head that includes a flexible tongue that glides over teeth, or serrations, molded into the strap to prevent it from slipping backward, once applied.
To connect a zip tie, follow these steps:
- Insert fastener tail into head
- Form loop with teeth to inside
- Rails guide strap through strap channel and over pawl
- Tighten by hand or with an installation tool
The cutting methods of zip ties are:
- Cutting with scissors or knife.
- Twisting the zip tie-off.
- Using a flush cutter.
- Installing and cutting with a cable gun. (fastening tool)
The most important characteristics of a zip tie are:
- The raw material they are made of. (weather, chemicals, and heat resistance)
- The tensile strength they can stand. (tear strength)
- The minimum and maximum diameter they can bundle.
- The shape of the tie in case of particular applications.
- The flammability rating.
Do’s and dont’s
- Take care to assess the installation requirements and environment before specifying a cable tie.
- Wherever possible use a tensioning tool to ensure the correct installation of the cable tie for increased life.
- Design the installations to limit the movement of the cables after applying the cable ties.
- Avoid suspending loads directly from the cable tie.
- Never use natural or colored plastic ties in outdoor applications.
- Never use Nylon plastic ties where acids are present either in liquid or vapor form. Use PP cable ties, taking into consideration that this material has only 75% of the load capability of Nylon.
Types of zip ties
Plastic zip ties
- Manufactured from PA66 (nylon) and recommended for light to medium duty applications in a wide range of indoor/outdoor and environmental conditions
- Also manufactured from PP (polypropylene) for use where chemical (acidic) fumes and vapors are present
- Easy to use
- Available in UV stabilized black, non-UV stabilized natural, and a range of non-UV stabilized colors
Metal zip ties
- Manufactured from stainless steel and recommended for heavy-duty installations and very harsh environmental conditions. Available in two grades of stainless steel to suit varying installations conditions
- Available with a polyurethane coating for improved abrasion resistance and to protect the insulation of the cables being secured
- Available with different locking mechanisms to suit a variety of applications
- Secured via purpose-designed tools
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