What are Cable Ties?
Cable ties - known casually as zip ties, tie-wraps, zip strips, and other variations - are a type of disposable fastener. Originally intended for the bundling and organization of electric cables and wires, cable ties have nearly infinite applications. They are typically made of nylon or other plastic materials, though cable ties manufactured from non-plastic materials, such as stainless steel, are also common. Cable ties can be found in a wide range of sizes and styles.
A cable tie typically consists of a long, thin, straight section with a gear rack of small, regularly spaced teeth which slope in a uniform direction. One end of the cable tie is tapered to fit easily into the other end, referred to as its head, creating a loop. The head of a cable tie includes a flexible ratchet-type device that rides up the slope of the gear rack’s teeth. This ratchet stops backslide and prevents the removal of the cable tie by engaging the gear rack; a looped cable tie can only be pulled tighter. Multiple cable ties of compatible widths can be bound together to create a cable tree.
Most cable ties are intended to be single-use fasteners. Removal typically requires cutting the cable tie, though the ratchet can be released with the careful use of a small screwdriver or similar implement, allowing the gear rack to be pulled out. However, traditional cable ties are significantly weaker and more prone to breaking when reused. Over time, manufacturers created Releasable Cable Ties as an alternative, safely reusable cable tie option, which allow a mechanism to release the cable tie teeth, keeping the cable tie intact. These specialty cable ties are designed to be reused without weakening.