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Guide to cable tie mounts

clock 4.5 minutes | 21 Oct 2019

Rack enclosure cabinets filled with wires and equipment

In today's connected, energised, and Internet-enabled world, there's no telling how many million miles of cable and conductors there are. A single machine or piece of equipment may have hundreds of feet installed, to say the least.

Cable and wiring are integral parts of every industry. They’re used in everything from automotive wiring harnesses and HVAC components to electric cable enclosures and rack enclosure cabinets.

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Professional job

One of the hallmarks of a professionally designed and assembled project is the careful installation of cables and conductors. Cable management is accomplished with various methods.

Cable ties are often used to bundle wiring neatly and cleanly in these instances. They allow the engineer or designer to segregate wiring to:

  1. Keep high voltages and low voltages separate
  2. Identify and isolate voltage conductors from datacom and signal wiring
  3. Enable easier circuit tracing in an outdoor cable enclosure

While push mount cable ties are often attached directly to the mounting surface, a cable tie mounting base is another option.

The proper cable tie mount will help prevent damage to cables and conductors by routing them around and away from moving parts. For example, they can be used to isolate conductor bundles from pinch points created by weatherproof outdoor cabinet doors and hinges. Using a cable tie wall mount in strategic locations keeps cables neatly in place.

Selecting the correct cable tie mounting pad for your project is just as important as choosing the cable ties themselves. (You can find out more about specifying cable ties in this guide.)

Some of the factors to consider when specifying cable mounts are:

  1. Mounting surface
  2. Environment
  3. Cable tie wrap sizes
  4. The need for flexibility or stability in the cable bundle
Rack enclosure cabinets filled with wires and equipment

Mounting surface considerations

The most common mounting surfaces are smooth steel or plastics. However, there are applications, particularly in outdoor cable installations, where you might encounter rough, non-steel surfaces. Consider the surface as you decide on a mount.

  1. For smooth surfaces, you might consider an adhesive cable tie mount. You can get them with slots on all four edges to accommodate cable ties from two angles. Some will have a mounting hole to screw the mount directly to the panel.
  2. Another adhesive mount option swivels to adjust to any angle, rotating a full 360 degrees. Adhesive backed cable tie mounts install quickly and are ideal for lightweight wire or cable bundles.
    Note that while self adhesive cable tie mounts are easy to install, if you need to remove them from the panel, the adhesive backing will be destroyed.
  3. Another option is to use mounted cable ties that push into a panel hole, either pre-drilled or drilled at the time of installation. The fir tree mount gets its name from the resemblance to an upside down tree. It's easily installed, but difficult to remove or pull free. You'll often see this type of cable tie mount in the automotive industry. With multiple ribs, it installs securely in mounting holes of various depths.
  4. Similar in construction to the fir tree mount, the masonry cable tie mount is designed for mounting in block or concrete walls. It's suitable for both standard and heavy zip ties.

As with other wire tie mounts, match the cable tie mounting base to whichever of the cable ties assorted sizes you're using for your application.

While it's possible to remove fir tree style mounts, you risk damaging the barbs. But another one can be inserted easily to replace it.

Other cable tie mounts for panels

Many data cabinet back panels have pre-drilled or pre-punched holes for accepting screw fastened cable tie mounts and other accessories. Often, the pre-punched holes are square, giving you some great options.

  1. Arrowhead cable tie mounts are popular because they just press into place. Many are designed to be removable as well. Some will have wings to limit lateral movement, while others have a cupped base design, providing maximum stability.
  2. Sometimes a reverse cable tie mount is desired. These push in from behind the panel board and provide a clean, snag-free installation. These are often used when the panel board back is exposed to foot traffic.
  3. If you need a low-profile mount, consider either a two-way or four-way cable tie mount. These can be either screwed or riveted to the panel and don't require pre-drilled holes.
  4. If maximum cable stability is required, a screw-mount cable tie harness might be the best option. It can accommodate either wider cable ties or multiple ties.
  5. Harness cable tie mounts are available for supporting multiple bundles of cables instead of just single bundles.
  6. Hook and loop cable ties are gaining in popularity, particularly in data cabinets and various rack mount cabinet sizes. They are infinitely adjustable and great if new cabling might be necessary in the future. They don't fit through standard mounts, however. Fortunately there are mounts designed specifically for hook and loop ties.
Man affixing cable ties inside an electrical cabinet

Special considerations

Finally, some cabling configurations require cables to be fastened around and off of the panel boards in electric cable enclosures. While you could use adhesive tie mounts or screw/rivet mounts for this, that's not always the best option for various reasons.

For example, if the panel needs to be removed from the enclosure, you must cut the cable ties, allowing the cables to flop around loosely. Additionally, if using a screw or rivet mount, you have to drill holes in the enclosure, downgrading the rating of the panel.

To get around this problem, use an edge mount cable tie mount. These are designed to be affixed to the edge of the panel. They work with both metal and plastic panels.

These also give you the ability to completely mount the cables before installing the panel into the enclosure.

Quick selection guide

Masonry cable tie mount

Concrete or block walls/outdoors

Masonry cable tie mount

Fir tree cable tie mount

Plastic or thick metal surfaces, as used in automotive and aerospace

Fir tree cable tie mount

Arrowhead style mounts

Panels with predrilled, square holes

Arrowhead style mounts

Sticky back, self-adhesive mounts, sized to the cable tie

Quick mounting of lighter-weight cable or wire bundles

Sticky back, self-adhesive mounts, sized to the cable tie

Edge mount cable ties

Mounting cables around a panelboard

Edge mount cable ties

Harness cable tie mounts

Supporting several cable bundles horizontally, as often done in your typical rack mount cabinet and data cabinet

Harness cable tie mounts

Hook and loop tie mounts

For hook and loop cable ties

Hook and loop tie mounts

Final thoughts

Using cable tie mounts gives your enclosure or rack design a clean, professional look. Not only that, proper placement aids in easier troubleshooting, should that be necessary.

In outdoor installations, such as an outdoor telecom equipment cabinet, they keep the wires from being snagged or damaged by activities in the location.

Merely bundling cables and conductor with wire ties works to a point. But for a professional look and better performance, keep those bundles in place and stable by properly using and placing cable tie mounts.

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Cable Management - The Design Engineers Application Guide​