Make Sure Your Cables are Protected: Part 2
Posted on Wednesday, June 25, 2014 by
Wire sleeving is frequently handled with a braided compound that fits over single wires or groups of wires. In many cases, it slips over the wire and its connectors, making installation simple. Others sleeves are wrappable, meaning that they’re split down the middle, allowing them to slide over already installed and connected cables. At a minimum, sleeves provide protection against having the wire rub or having it be inadvertently cut through. Some sleeves add additional levels of armoring as well as the ability to resist chemicals, sunlight, or water. Other sleeves are essentially tubes made of PTFE or fiberglass.
In applications that are plagued by high levels of electromagnetic interference (EMI), adding a wire braid can help to protect it. Similar to the shielding that you might find between the conductor and jacket inside a cable, these braids help to reject interference. They can also provide a connection for grounding.
Instead of slipping a braid or sleeve over an entire wire or group of wires, lacing and EMI shielding tapes let you group or protect your wires on-the-go. Lacing tapes are generally used to bind multiple wires together in a neater alternative to wraps or ties. Laced cables have multiple knots holding them together, bound by a piece of tape that runs the length of the grouped area. Cable lacing gives you access to the individual wires in a grouping for easier inspection.
EMI tapes serve the same purpose as braids, but can be applied on an “as-needed” basis. They're also coated with an adhesive, so they stay in place once they’re installed. This can make them particularly useful for shielding over connections or other areas of concern.
New from Alpha Wire is FIT-FILL. For applications that require additional sealing of voids not accommodated by heat-shrink tubing, FIT-FILL adhesive is the answer. The bead-shaped, flame-retardant adhesive can be easily dropped in tubing or placed over conductors to provide the desired coverage, as well as additional water resistance.
Installing wire management is not a particularly demanding process and doesn't call for special machinery or equipment other than a couple of simple tools. Heat guns are typically all that’s needed shrink tubing products. Taping products are applied by hand and many braids and sleeves simply slip on. For wrappable sleeves, an optional tool can help to expedite the process.