Cable ties are incredibly versatile tools used to manage and secure different cables and lines in place during construction or organization. They can be used indoors, outdoors, and even underground! But how do we classify cable ties? Are there different sizes of zip ties? What are the types of cable ties? In this piece, we’re going to explore the ways cable ties are classified and how cable ties function in different environments. Let’s first look at the different types of cable ties and how we categorize them.
What Is the Classification of Cable Ties?
Cable tie manufacturers can choose to disclose their product’s Type Classification—1, 11, 2, 21, 2S or 21S—which is verified by compliance with the standards as defined by UL 62275, CSA C22.2 No. 62275, NMX-J-623-ANCE and IEC 62275. People may use these criteria to determine if the cable tie they choose is suitable for their application.
Nonmetallic and composite cable ties that retain at least 50% of declared loop tensile strength following the designated test circumstances and 100% of declared loop tensile strength as received.
A Type 1 nonmetallic and composite cable tie with improved pre-qualification to long-term performance characteristics of nonmetallic molding materials, in accordance with the UL Component Plastic Materials Certification Program (QMFZ2). When all relevant performance ratings for the end use application are taken into account, pre-qualified materials used in the production of cable ties contribute value in the form of greater reliability during the life of the installation.
Metallic, nonmetallic and composite cable ties with 100% of the measured loop tensile strength retained after the required test conditions.
A Type 2 metallic, nonmetallic and composite tie with improved pre-qualification to long-term performance characteristics of nonmetallic molding materials, in accordance with the UL Component Plastic Materials Certification Program (QMFZ2). When all relevant performance ratings for the end use application are taken into account, pre-qualified materials used in the production of cable ties contribute value in the form of greater reliability during the life of the installation.
Type 2S and 21S
A Type 2 or 21 metallic (2S only), nonmetallic and composite cable tie that is also qualified as being capable of supporting conduit and cables during the construction of buildings in line with the specifications in relevant national installation codes.
For example, what does UL Type 21 mean? A UL 62275 compliant metallic, non-metallic, or composite tie that meets all pre-qualifications of Type 2 cable ties with greater reliability and long-term performance. This type of tie is often appropriate for holding conduits and cables in place during building construction.
Currently, Mexico does not officially recognize any certification programs for polymer materials. As a result, Types 11 and 21 are not accepted in Mexican Standard NMX-J-623-ANCE.
Classifying Performance Ratings of Cable Ties
Each performance rating category’s terms and metrics are specified in the cable ties standards UL 62275, CSA C22.2 No. 62275, NMX-J-623-ANCE and IEC 62275. Loop tensile strength of a cable tie typically is a main indicator of performance. However, temperature, time, moisture, and other environmental factors can also have an impact on some standard performance aspects of cable ties. Individual performance testing is required to assess the effects of these factors on cable ties.
According to National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), for performance, cable ties are rated in these categories:
- Mechanical performance is measured by the minimum loop tensile strength of a cable tie with its locking mechanism engaged.
- Thermal performance shows the installation’s minimum and maximum operating temperatures as well as the application’s lowest working temperatures.
- Environmental performance highlights corrosion resistance of metallic cable ties and accessories (or those incorporating metal) and nonmetallic or composite materials to UV radiation.
- Fire Effects performance which indicate a flammability resistance level
Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
The minimum loop tensile strength, which is “a reference mechanical characteristic of a cable tie with its locking mechanism engaged,” is used to indicate the mechanical performance rating for cable ties. The ability to support static loads over an extended period of time is not reliably indicated by loop tensile strength and other performance indicators are necessary to accurately rate cable ties.
The thermal performance ratings declared according to standards UL 62275, CSA C22.2 No. 62275, NMX-J-623-ANCE and IEC 62275 include:
- Maximum Operating Temperature for Application is the maximum temperature at which a cable tie is anticipated to consistently operate after installation.
- Minimum Operating Temperature for Application is the minimum temperature at which a cable tie is anticipated to consistently operate after installation.
- Minimum Temperature for Installation is the minimum temperature at which a cable tie can be assembled during installation.
All polymers, including the polyamides used to make cable ties, are sensitive to high temperatures and therefore brittle and vibration-sensitive. Standard cable ties should be installed at a maximum temperature of 140°F (60°C), and they should be used at a maximum temperature of 176°F (85°C) continuously. Standard cable ties made of Polyamide 6.6 should be installed at a minimum temperature of 14°F (-10°C), while continuous usage requires a minimum service temperature of -40°F (-40°C).
The performance of cable ties can be affected by specific environmental exposures both in the short and long term. While it is difficult to address all of these factors in a standard, the following typical environmental circumstances are covered by UL 62275, CSA C22.2 No. 62275, NMX-J-623-ANCE, and IEC 62275:
- Resistance to ultraviolet light declaration is optional and only applies to cable ties made of nonmetallic or composite materials. In addition to their Type classification, products may additionally be labeled “For outdoor use” or “For indoor or outdoor use” if they are UV resistant.
- Resistance to corrosion covers only metallic cable ties or goods made of composite materials containing metal. This is an optional declaration in IEC 62275 but is required in the harmonized North American standards.
UV light may damage any polymers, including the polyamides used to make cable ties. Carbon powder, sometimes known as “carbon black,” is the most frequent additive used to shield polyamides from UV rays.
- Natural nylon cable ties are not recommended for outdoor use because of their limited UV resistance.
- Compared to natural cable ties (or clear zip ties), black cable ties are advised for outdoor applications because of their good weather and UV resistance and addition of carbon black.
A minimal level of resistance to flammability for nonmetallic materials is expected, particularly in electrical systems where arcs and sparks may ignite combustible materials. The criteria are classified as “Contribution to Fire” in both North American and IEC standards. The categorization choices “Flame Propagating” and “Non-Flame Propagating” are found in IEC 62275. All cable ties must be categorized as “Non-Flame Propagating” according to the harmonized North American standards. Products of all metallic construction are inherently “Non-Flame Propagating.”
Cable Tie Material Specifications
A cable tie’s material is an essential component to consider when selecting a tie for certain applications. Aluminum, fabric, nylon, PTFE, PVC, and stainless steel are popular material choices used by zip tie manufacturers. The substance should be durable enough to serve the application for the necessary length of time. In order to prevent corrosion, excessive wear, or other issues, it should also be compatible with the cable material. Some materials & characteristics of cable ties include:
- Standard Nylon 6/6 cable ties can withstand continuous temperatures of up to 150°F. The grade of nylon 6/6 that is most frequently used to produce cable ties satisfies flammability standards. It can operate in temperatures between -40°F (-40°C) and 185°F (85°C).
- UV Resistant cable ties are utilized in outdoor applications that require continuous or prolonged exposure. They can withstand further ultraviolet (UV) rays and are weather resistant. Stabilizers are added to nylon resin to create this grade. UV-stabilized nylon cable ties are only offered in black.
- High Temperature cable ties meet UL requirements for electrical applications since they are designed for prolonged exposure to temperatures exceeding 185°F (85°C) up to 250° F (121°C).
- Heavy Duty cable ties are effective in industrial applications needing 120 lb tensile strengths and are frequently used for bundling and hanging heavy weights.
- Stainless Steel cable ties use 304 grade steel and can be installed outside, indoors, or underground with a 200 lb tensile strength.
- Nylon 12 (Solar) cable ties are molecularly created for solar applications to endure the corrosive environment and the sun’s harsh rays. Their low water absorption, low density, high chemical resistance, and lack of sensitivity to stress cracking ensure stability.
- Impact Resistant cable ties have high vibration stability and are heat stabilized and UV-resistant material for higher temperatures up to 230°F (110°C).
How Many Types of Cable Ties Are There?
With a few modifications to the basic design, several varieties of cable ties may be created from an assortment of materials. Three components often make up this core design:
- The head of the cable tie is where the securing mechanism is located, which locks the tail of the zip tie in place.
- The shank or “pawl and ratchet” is the component that anchors the zip tie in place. The square shank is the most common variation of a shank, which has a tongue that clicks into the grooves on the stem.
- The stem is the “tail” that contains the grooves—also referred to as “teeth”—that the shank clicks into.
On ZipTie.com, you’ll find 11 types of cable ties:
- Cable Ties are typically made from nylon with a pawl and ratchet for one-way movement and are available in a variety of sizes for several applications.
- Extern/Low-Profile ties are a variant of the standard cable tie, with a low-profile head that enables them to fit in tighter spaces.
- Stainless Steel ties are made with industrial strength 304 Grade stainless steel, which doesn’t corrode, making them ideal for automotive, aerospace, nuclear, utility, and construction applications where moisture might be a factor.
- Screw Mount ties have an additional piece that extends from the zipping mechanism that allows you to mount the cable tie to any surface with a screw.
- Sharp Tip ties are a plastic zip tie with an improved tip shaped like a triangle.
- Beaded ties have beads at regular intervals on the stem and are reusable with a looped shank. However, funnel beaded ties prevent easy reuse because the tapered end is smaller than the entrance.
- Double Loop ties have two shanks—similar to a beaded double loop—or a double-slotted shank that allows two wire bundles to be secured together.
- Reusable/Releasable ties are able to lift the pawl to release the tie from the ratchet.
- Handcuff ties are a one-directional tie that use two shanks for two loops to be placed around an individual’s wrists and can only be removed with a safety cutting tool.
- Fuel Hose ties—sometimes referred to as “radius cable ties” or “clamp ties”—feature a head that offers an even compression and 360 degree seal around the object being secured. These are frequently used for soft rubber hoses like gasoline, water, or air lines.
- Hook & Loop ties are reusable cable ties and frequently used to secure electrical cables by hooking soft nylon “loops” with hard nylon “hooks.” They are ideal for computer or server cables that are sensitive to tension.
What Are the Standard Cable Tie Sizes?
There are over 20 sizes of cable ties you can purchase at ZipTie.com and the standard sizes include:
Be sure you select the cable tie size that makes sense for your usage. You probably don’t need a 60” tie for a small set of cables in a home network, for example.
Are Cable Ties Durable?
Yes! Standard and heavy-duty cable ties are extremely durable. In fact, cable ties made of nylon have abrasion resistance, a low coefficient of friction, and a high resilience to repeated impact. Most chemicals, including most fuels and lubricants, do not harm nylon, although phenols, strong acids, and oxidizing substances do.
However, the polymers in cable ties can degrade under the influence of the elements, most notably the sun, which can result in cracking, color changes, and brittleness. The strongest outdoor zip ties are UV-resistant cable ties since they have been carefully treated to ensure UV protection, which will negate sun damage. Due to its weather resistance, UV ties are excellent for outdoor applications.
It’s important to note that stainless steel ties are strong, long-lasting, and inflammable. Since they are corrosion-resistant, they often have a higher tensile strength than nylon ties and are excellent for handling a variety of environments. They are frequently used to secure and stabilize cables, pipes, and hoses in conditions in any environment because they can withstand vibration, weathering, radiation, and temperature extremes.
What Is the Strongest Type of Zip Tie?
The strength of a zip tie relies on the size and tensile rating. At ZipTie.com, extra heavy duty ties are the strongest we offer. However, it is important to select a zip tie that matches your needs. Here are the different strength ratings of the ties you can find on our website:
- Miniature: 18 lbs (2.5mm)
- Intermediate: 40-45 lbs (3.3mm–3.6mm)
- Standard: 50-75 lbs (4.5-4.8mm)
- Heavy Duty: 120-175 lbs (7.6mm–8.8mm)
- Extra Heavy Duty: 200–350 lbs (size variety)
How Do I Choose a Cable Tie?
At ZipTie.com, we offer our customers high-quality cable ties and security seals with customization options at wholesale prices. Cable ties are sold in a wide range of colors and sizes, from 4 inches to 60 inches. Our ties can withstand temperatures between -40°F (-40°C) and 185°F (85°C) since they are manufactured with premium nylon 6/6. Look through our catalog of light to heavy duty cable ties and get exactly what you need. We offer shipping between 1 to 5 business days depending on your location in the United States, but same-day shipping is available with our expedited shipping option. Visit our website today for more information.