Let’s talk about cable management – real cable management. If you think it’s just another one of those high-tech terms that IT departments enjoy tossing about, or that it’s just a concern for crowded server rooms and stuffed switch cabinets, then you need to think again.
A casual peek in most homes would probably reveal enough loose cords and cables lying under desks and hidden behind furniture to warrant the start of a somewhat meaningful discussion about cable management, but even that’s just the beginning.
If you can imagine kilometres of dishevelled wires cluttering floors, blocking doors, and overflowing cable conduits everywhere from conferences rooms to amphitheatres – indoors and outdoors – now we have the basis for a discussion about proper cable management.
It’s about much more than just a pile of wires beside a computer. Fortunately, though, proper cable management doesn’t require hi-tech solutions, only a few smart ones, but you do need to have the right material to get started.
The ties that bind
It doesn’t matter if it’s just for what you have at home, or if your company needs to meet AS/CA or AS/ACIF cabling standards, cable management isn’t difficult. It’s about organization; and that means having a solid range of cable zip ties and cable mounts on hand at all times to keep your cables, wires, and cords correctly grouped and labelled, and efficiently routed.
It sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, it is, because you can get high-strength cable ties made from either UV resistant nylon or 316 stainless steel in lengths ranging from 100mm minis to 700mm extra longs that’ll make your cable management just as cost effective as it is beneficial. And with the ability to group and interlock same-sized ties to increase their length and tensile strength, or to use different sizes of ties to create specific cable bundles, it means you can tailor a cable management solution to any contingency or environment.
Cable management at home, and the home office
Although most people would like to believe that they’re already practicing some measure of good cable management, the truth is we spend more time kicking, shoving, and hiding cables than we’d like to admit. The benefits, however, of either wrapping up or tying up excess cables with appropriate cable zip ties at home couldn’t be more straightforward:
- Organized and traceable cables are easier to maintain.
- Wiring and connectivity problems can be instantly identified and troubleshot.
- There are fewer risks of tripping over or being shocked by well-bundled cables.
- Computer hardware runs cooler and performs better through shorter cable runs. And probably most importantly,
- An organized, well thought-out work area simply makes you feel better.
And with a choice of natural-coloured or black zip ties, adhesive-backed cable mounts, and hook and loop tape to handle all the unexpected turns, not only will your cable management look clean and professional, but you can count on it being reflected in your productivity as well.
Cable management on the job
If you’re a network or electrical engineer, or someone who routinely works with cords, wires, or cables, either indoors or out, then you already know how important cable management is, and the steps that have to be taken to make sure it gets done.
· In communications
Whether it’s in a switch cabinet at a head-office in Sydney, or a remote comms shelter in the outback, with countless runs of network cables and wires regularly being crammed, connected, and reconnected, cable management frequently gets tossed out the window. It takes nothing but time and a proper assortment of zip ties to correct that trend.
· In manufacturing
For environments where heat, temperature, and vibration are constants, facility engineers are responsible for ensuring that effective cable management materials are available for labelling and routing, and that cable containment and protection procedures are adhered to for health and safety.
· In infrastructure
From the tiniest fibre optic sensors connecting traffic cams, to large gage electric wires powering streetlights, the sheer volume of cabling that has to be adequately stabilized and safe-guarded against the elements. Corrosion and general confusion make cable management an imperative for anyone who spends hours inspecting junction boxes.
· In transportation
The average automobile has over 2km of wiring installed in it – the average commercial airliner has more than 200km! No need to say anything else here about how crucial meticulous cable management is, and how important it is for maintenance personnel to have the materials to ensure it’s done.
Of course, these are all cases where cable management is likely to be well regulated. But if you’re a general contractor or a procurement agent supporting any of these activities, then you also need to fully understand the urgency to buy zip ties that are qualified for the job. The emphasis always needs to be on having the right materials to implement a proper cable management plan – the basis of which is ensuring:
- That all cabling is adequately and accurately labelled.
- That the existing cabling system has sufficient scalability to be modified if necessary.
- That any excess and unnecessary long cabling is removed or shortened.
- That the integrity of data cables isn’t compromised because of bleeding or interference. And,
- That cables are sufficiently routed that their performance can’t be compromised by impedance.
If you can adopt these basic organizational guidelines – and stick with them – you’ll quickly realize that cable management can be a breeze.
A final word
There’s no question about it: if cable management hasn’t been a priority for a long time – or never really been a priority at all – just getting the process started is the hardest part. The benefits at the end of the day though, will make the effort all worthwhile.
Just remember, however, that the best solutions don’t have to be expensive ones. It’s all about organization, and with the right selection of cable zip ties, strips, and accessories, it’s not difficult to put a quick end to all the cable management headaches.
When you’re ready to start the process, make sure to start with the best materials available.