ECOC 2019: i-Tie, a cabling revolution?

Created October 1, 2019
Technologies and Products

Of the many new products on show at ECOC 2019, some of the smallest ones can be the most significant. A prime example is Rapstrap, which has launched what it claims is a revolutionary cable tie.

Building on the experience gained with the original rapstrap – now known as the Classic, the company has developed the i-Tie (intelligent tie) as a more efficient alternative to the standard nylon cable tie. When a tie has been made with an i-Tie and the end is cut off, the remainder of the tie can be used for successive ties until only 5% or less of the original tie remains, depending on the diameter of the cables being tied.

FLEXIBLE

Made from elasticated polyurethane, a single 300mm i-Tie typically replaces up to five or more standard ties, greatly reducing waste and lowering costs. It’s soft, flexible and extremely versatile, it won’t pinch or crimp like nylon ties and it’s flexible enough to be used on a wide range of delicate installations. The company plans to launch a 500mm version in the near future, which will make up to ten individual ties.

The i-Tie, which comes in convenient tear-off strips of six, derives its superior performance from a combination of the special shape of the cells, and the strong and flexible qualities of the polyurethane from which the i-Ties are made. This patented design allows the cells to deform during use, and this in turn allows one portion of the tie strip to pass through another. The cells do this by folding along their spine, which makes them narrower and able to pass through one another. As each cell in turn gets pulled through, it automatically changes shape and glides through to form a loop in the i-Tie.

The i-Tie (left) compared to the original rapstrap

However, whereas with the original  rapstrap, which when pulled backwards, the cell’s external horns stick out to lock the tie in place, with the new i-Tie, this latching process happens internally, which, without affecting the strength of the latching, makes release easier and faster which is of benefit in some applications where the i-Tie needs to be removed. This prevents the tie from coming undone. Given its flexibility, a single tie can also be used to lace several cables together, a process for which some major telecoms operators still use lacing twine, which is time-consuming to do and risks damage to the cables, which is particularly relevant to fibre optic cables.

A single i-Tie can be used to lace multiple cables

SAFE

The soft polyurethane i-Tie, which complies with the Flammability UL94 Class HB specification, also has another big advantage over conventional nylon ties in that when the tie is made and trimmed, there are no sharp edges – something that every cabling operative with badly scratched hands will appreciate. It also comes in a range of colours, allowing different groups of cables in a single run to be identified. All versions of the i-Tie are made with at least 30% recycled material and trials are being carried out on a version made with 100% recycled material for certain applications.

 

 

Managing Director Peter Moule told Optical Connections, “We’ve had lots of interest in the product globally, including enquiries from the Far East. I believe the rapstrap i-Tie is a revolutionary product which will simplify the process of cabling, making it faster, more convenient, more economical, greener and safer.”

WIRE-MATE

The company also launched its Wire-Mate product at the show, which is a containment system for trunking systems. Essentially, it clamps across the top of the trunking and allows cables to be pulled through easily. The extruded plastic centre of the Wire-Mate can be cut to suit the width of any trunking and the retaining clips are simply inserted into each end of the extrusion. It can also be used in pairs on inside and outside corners, facilitating easy pull-through and comes with a range of coloured inserts for identifying different types of cables.

Wire-Mate fits any size of trunking

It also comes with a divider which will keep cables for different purposes, for example data and power cables, apart from each other.

Moule says, “The Wire-Mate does away with the conventional trunking lid, which is solid metal, heavy and very expensive. With this mounted on a wall, for example, you can run any number of cables through it without having to tie them all.”

Rapstrap MD, Moule is the creator of the innovative “Chocbox” – a safe and simple solution to protect and insulate electrical connectors, negating the need for electrical tape, which apart from being untidy, does not meet current regulations. Moule won significant financial backing for his ideas on the UK television show Dragon’s Den, in which five venture capitalists interview would-be entrepreneurs’ products and offer funding deals for those they think will be a commercial success.

For more information, visit www.rapstrap.com

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This article was written
by Peter Dykes

Peter Dykes is a independent telecoms and technology journalist who has over that last 30 years written for a wide range of B2B publications and companies. A former BT engineer, he specialises in networks and associated support systems. He is currently Editor of Optical Connections.