To meet codes, preserve the integrity of cables and connections and to ensure proper function, cables need to be properly secured. This sometimes involves bundling together cables that are both thick and delicate, such as CAT5. These types of cables can easily be bundled up in hook and loop and plastic cable ties, providing a ready solution for offices and consumers.
At the industrial level, the cables may be much heavier, thicker and under assault from the environment and mechanical shock. When a great many cables are used in a facility, labeling becomes necessary and there are cable tools and accessories for those needs, as well. For those who have to work with all the cable, there are high quality tools available, such as cutters and crimpers, that are designed to lessen the effort required to work with cables and that provide accurate and predictable cutting and crimping each time they are used.
The range in these products is broad, as everyone from IT techs to telecom workers to workers laying underground cable has a need for these accessories, and those needs are vastly different from one to the next.
The size of the cables worked with, the environment in which they are used and the way those cables need to be handled and protected all influence the suitability of these ties and accessories.
What Are Considered Cable Accessories?
Cable accessories include a range of items that are designed to make it easier to work with, protect and identify various types of cables. Many of these items are specialized, such s those that are used to work with CAT5 cable as opposed to those designed for use with fiber optics. Some of these cable accessories come in kits, allowing contractors, maintenance personnel and others to get a variety of items that are commonly used together in one package, saving time and money in the process.
Some of the accessories are designed to make a common process easier. For example, solder sleeves provide an easy way for cable techs to create solder connections between cables and wires. Hot and cold shrink sleeves allow techs to make very precisely formed sleeves for a cable in a fast and efficient fashion.
Which Tools Are Available to Work with Cable?
Tools for working with cable are very diverse. They include tools that are used during the installation process, such as crimpers, clamps and cutters. They also include tools that may be used on existing installations, such as labelling tools.
Cable tools should be chosen according to the materials being used, of course, but also with attention paid to the level of usage. Someone working in telecom or a telecom company purchasing tools will need durable devices that are designed for very heavy usage. Network techs and IT techs may need more precise tools, but not necessarily ones that are designed for rugged, hard use.
Some of the tools have features that make them easier on the operator. For instance, ratcheting devices can make stripping and cutting wire easier. The most expensive cutters and strippers combine very precise cutting and stripping with very high levels of durability, making them suitable for any working conditions.
Some of the tools available are very simple, but very purpose built. For instance, a punch down tool has a simple design, but there’s really no substitute for a high quality version of one of these tools.
Depending upon the type of cable in question, the tools available for working with it may vary tremendously.
What Is Cable Protection?
Cable protection means providing the cable with some insulation against environmental threats, shock from pulling and pushing and other hazards. Properly identifying cable is also a way to provide protection for the lines.
What Is Cable Identification?
Cable identification simply means providing the cable with some sort of a label that makes its purpose—and possibly its connections—apparent to anyone working with it. This is done with marking devices that are designed to provide durable, long-lasting markings that are easy to see.
What Are Cable Ties?
Cable ties are designed to make bundling and securing cables easier. They are made out of various materials, with plastic being particularly popular, owing to its low cost and ease of use. Cable ties can also be made out of metal, however, and include devices such as shrink wrap ties that are heated and sized to the cable perfectly, proving a tight and reliable form of security for the lines.
What Types of Cable Accessories Exist?
Here are some of the most common cable accessories and what they are used for.
Cable Separators and Bushing
Cable separators and bushings provide a way to run cable and, at the same time, to protect it from corners and surfaces. Cable bushings are commonly seen in the tops of desks, where they provide a soft, safe path for the cable to be run through from the bottom of the desk to the top. They can be used anywhere that the cable needs to be separated somewhat from the edges of a hole through which it is run.
Cable Bushing Accessories
Cable Clips and Clamps
Cable clips and clamps provide another way to secure cable in place. These clamps are made to work with cable and, therefore, are safer to use with CAT5 and other forms of cable that might be damaged by other types of clamps. These devices come in myriad configurations, some designed to hold more than one cable in place and some having an opening feature, allowing the clamp to be fastened, the cable laid in place and the upper portion of the clamp to be brought down and fixed in place.
Cable crimpers are used to fasten connectors to cables, at the ends and at junctions. They’re made for specific types of cables, which not only ensures that the cables are provided with fasteners correctly—ensuring connectivity—but which also makes it much faster and easier to handle a great deal of crimping.
Cable cutters provide an ergonomic solution to cutting cable and one that ensures a clean cut. They come in many different designs, and most can be used for several different types of cable, though others are specialized. Some use designs other than the typical pliers design, such as ratcheting designs, that make it easier to cut, particularly when thick cable is worked with.
Cable Cutter Accessories
Cable cutting devices include retaining clips, handles and other items that make it easier to work with cable and to provide the best possible results when cutting it. These devices also include ones designed to work with heat cutting tools.
Cable joints provide protection at the junction and termination points of cables. Some of them are supplied with gels and resins that are injected into the joint, providing strong protection against stress and the environment.
Cable Label Printers
Cable label printers allow techs to quickly make legible labels for cabling.
Cable Label Printer Accessories
Cable label printers include paper, printing media and other materials that are used to refill the consumable elements in a cable labeling system.
Cable lacing is used to bundle multiple cables. It is sold in various colors and tensile strengths.
Cable markers include a range of devices used to indicate the location of a cable. They come in clip on another designs, some are preprinted, usually with numbers.
Cable Marking Kits
Cable marking kits provide an easy way to get all the materials needed for large jobs. They include image devices for making and mounting labels.
Electronic Cable Markers
Electronic cable markers work with a marker locator. They respond to the device, making it much easier to locate cables that might be underground.
Cable Marker Accessories
Cable marker accessories include holders, applicators and other devices that are used in conjunction with cable markers.
Cable Moulded Parts
Moulded parts for cable include a range of boots that provide safety against the environment and against shock to the cable itself. They come in designs that have bends in them and designs that are used for straight runs.
Cable retainers provide a way to keep a cable in place, and are also sometimes provided with an easy way to label the cable.
Cable sleeves are protective devices that add an extra layer to the outside of the cable. They can be purchased in large rolls of material for big jobs.
Cable Sleeving Kits and Refills
Cable sleeving kits and refills come with a variety of items that are used in sleeving projects. The refills provide an easy way to replenish the kit when the items are low or used up.
Cable Sleeving Tape
Cable sleeving tape includes products ranging from simple electrical tape to sophisticated designs with metal mesh screens incorporated into it for insulating against electromagnetic interference.
Cable Sleeving Tools
Cable sleeving tools make the process of outfitting cables with sleeving much easier. They include markers which make it more convenient to label the cables after they’re sleeved.
Cable Spiral Wrapping
Cable spiral wrapping is commonly used in bundling and in harnesses. It comes in versions that are already cylindrical and in flat sheets that can be wrapped around the cable.
Cable Storage Racks and Dispensers
Cable Stripper Accessories
Cable stripper accessories include replacement blades and assemblies for high-end cable strippers.
Cable strippers are devices that are designed to remove the insulation from a cable without actually severing the cable itself. They come in many different designs, some adjustable and some designed for specific uses, such as with single core cables.
Cable Tie Assemblies
Sold by length, width and the parts included, cable tie assemblies provide an easy solution to keeping cable fastened down when specific hardware is needed. They commonly include a mount and the cable tie itself.
Cable Tie Mounts
Cable tie mounts provide a way to fix a tied off cable to a surface. They can be purchased as parts of assemblies or individually.
Cable Tie Tensioning and Bundling Tools
These are tools that are used to precisely tension the ties that hold cables together. They are usually provided with replaceable blades and controls that allow the user a great deal of control over the amount of tension exerted on the cable ties.
Cable ties are used to fasten the parts of a cable together. These are designed for holding together groups of wires, cables and for fixing them to mounting points, but are used for a variety of other purposes, as well. They come in a wide range of sizes, with the zip ties used to bundle computer cables being familiar examples.
Cable Tool Kits
Cable tool kits can include devices that are used to fasten and remove cable ties, conduit removal tools and other tools.
Heat-Shrink and Cold-Shrink Sleeves
Hook and Loop Fasteners
Hook and loop fasteners are fast and convenient and can be particularly convenient for cable that doesn’t’ need to be permanently bundled together. These fasteners are available in various colors, making it easy to mark cables.
Punch Down Tools and Blades
Punch down tools and blades are used with some types of electrical connectors, notably in telecom. They are also used with CAT5 and CAT6 cabling, however. These tools are indispensable in certain types of networking work.
Solder Sleeve Kits
Solder sleeve kits come with accessories used in making junctions with solder sleeves, described below.
Solder sleeves can be used to simplify making solder junctions. They can also provide a very tight seal if properly applied. They can create very durable connections.