How to loosen cable ties

How to loosen cable ties

Cable ties are the perfect solution for bundling cables and wires together and, once they are tightly secured, they are extremely hard to loosen. But, they can be loosened!

If you look at a regular nylon 6/6 cable tie closely, you will see that one end is pointed and the other end is finished with a small cube or ‘pawl’. The pointed end is simply inserted into the pawl and pulled through. The cable tie is ridged along its length and, when fed through the pawl, and pulled tautly, the ridges will form a ratchet to hold the tie securely in place.

To undo or loosen a cable tie, for example if you want to add or remove cables from a bundle, look closely at the pawl and, in particular, where the cable tie has passed through it. Under the tail of the tie, you will see the ratchet pin. To loosen the tie, you need to insert something sharp in between the ratchet and the cable tie – a pin, needle or screwdriver will work – and depress it so that the ‘lock’ releases. Without removing the implement you have used, simply slide the cable tie and pull it out. It’s worth noting here that cable ties that are not designed to be reused will become weaker each time they are forced open manually, so only resort to opening them if you have no other choice.

Of course, one way to avoid having to go to these lengths to open a cable tie, is to use releasable cable ties. Although a little more expensive, releasable cable ties can be removed, repositioned and reused multiple times without being weakened.

Instead of having to insert a needle or screwdriver between the ratchet and cable tie, a nylon tab or button catch is fitted to the pawl of the cable tie. This can be released to stop the teeth biting into the head, allowing the cable to be reopened.

Although releasable cable ties cannot be used an infinite number of times, they are ideal for any temporary fastening requirements. Our releasable cable ties are available in a choice of 6 colours, with a tab release mechanism available on cable ties 3.6mm, 4.8mm and 9.0mm in width, and a button release mechanism on our 7.6mm wide range. Manufactured from nylon 6/6, these releasable cable ties will remain securely fastened until deliberately released and have a working temperature range of between ¯40°C to 85°C.  A much more practical solution than battling to loosen a cable tie that was never intended to be loosened, our releasable cable ties will also reduce your plastic waste.

At cableties-online, our selection of releasable cable ties can be found here, and if you have any questions or would just like to discuss your cable tie requirements, we are happy to help either by email or over the phone.