Electrical Contracting News (ECN) June 2016 - Page 29

CABLE TIES VS CLEATS TIE FIGHTER In recent months stories have begun to do the rounds that suggest stainless steel cable ties can be placed on an equal footing with cable cleats manufactured from the same material – something that Richard Shaw of Ellis says is, at best, extremely misleading. B efore I set about debunking the myths created by this fabricated product match-up, it’s important to highlight exactly what is being said. In a nutshell, the key claims are: • Stainless steel cable ties provide as much protection in the event of a short circuit as cleats. • Stainless steel cable ties are less expensive on average than cable cleats. • Stainless steel cable ties provide an equal or better level of risk mitigation at lower cost and quicker time to install. The problem with these claims is that although stainless steel cable ties and cable cleats are complementary products (there can be no argument with that), the area of overlap is extremely small – and when explored fully, it’s immediately apparent that it’s an area of considerable risk. Product v product Cable cleats are made in a variety of materials to accommodate a wide range of installation conditions and locations. There are stainless steel cleats, mild steel cleats, extruded aluminium cleats, cast aluminium cleats and cleats manufactured in a wide range of polymers. And it doesn’t end there - many cleats use a combination of metals and polymers to deliver the best possible solution. Cable cleats also come in a number of different varieties. There are cable saddles, cable straps, flexible cable cleats, hinged cable cleats and, lest we forget, straightforward cable clamps. In contrast, stainless steel cable ties are just that – cable ties available solely in stainless steel. Creating an analogy about the two products highlights the scale of the differences between them perfectly: A stainless steel cable tie manufacturer may claim their wrench is as good, if not better, than the cable cleat manufacturer’s. But the cable cleat manufacturer can retort by pointing out they don’t just have a wrench – they have an entire tool kit. Price Before even considering the question of price, we first have to decide which of the many types of cable cleat we should compare the stainless steel cable tie with. In the examples I’ve read the price comparisons between the two tend to pit cable cleats at the upper end of the range against standard cable ties. While this may seem unfair, the comparison has been made so let’s see how it stands up to scrutiny. Firstly, it’s obvious that a single stainless steel cable tie will be cheaper than the strongest of stainless steel cable cleats. After all, you get what you pay for. But even so, would the entire cost of both product and installation be cheaper if you used cable ties rather than cleats? It may surprise you to discover that the answer is almost certainly no, but why? When considering the strongest stainless steel cable cleat it is simply ludicrous to try and equate it to a single stainless steel cable tie. Yes, both products are made from similar material, but there is, of course, a lot 29 29-30 Cable Ties vs Cleats – Ellis.indd 29 12/05/2016 14:16