Making Ends Meet With Wire

July 4, 2016
Locksmiths need reliable wiring and cabling to connect electronic access control components

Do you pull your own wire for access control or subcontract it out? Are you using less wire and doing more with wireless? Are you network savvy enough to install fiber?

Are you getting your wire from your distributor, through s direct seller or from overseas source? How frequently do you purchase wire? Do you have favorite brands of wire?

If any of these questions apply to you, read on.

Windy City Wire

A major direct source for wire is Windy City Wire Cable & Technology Products, LLC. Their pricing, delivery and, of course, the wire and customer service keep them on top.

The Locksmith Ledger contacted Dan Hughes, National Sales Manager and Lauryn Toczylowski, Director of Marketing, for their insights into the wonderful world of wire.

As a major supplier to the low voltage and security markets, are you detecting any new trends in your clients' purchasing habits?

DH: We are not seeing a change in product type yet, but the market is making smarter decisions based on the overall value of their spend. Integrators and electricals both are looking for ways to create safer working environments and look for a solution to attack labor costs. Our solution offers both so the appeal to Windy City Wire is growing.

What types of wire and installation equipment do you offer?

LT: Low-voltage wire for all markets: temperature control, echelon guideline compliant, security/access control, CCTV, institutional, sound/intercom, nurse call, fire/life safety, CI fire alarm, armored fire alarm, NYC certified fire alarm, AV, gas/oil resistant, outdoor(direct burial), building wire, structured, custom metal clad. View our interactive product catalog:

Our RackPack Field Systems Solution covers cable management from order to installation.

Transportation Devices include Grab-N-Go Lite, Grab-N-Go, RackStak, RackTrak, Custom Utility Carts

We also carry:

Garvin Accessories -

Platinum Tools Sentinel Signamax -

What technical resources do you have available to you clients to specify wire and installation?

LT: We have numerous online resources for our customers’ convenience:

Specs Sheets and A&E Spec Sheets for our products are available online.

Mobile App -

Online calculators include:

Labor Savings Calculator

RackPack Organizer

RackPack Conduit Calculator

RackPack System Design Tool:

Do you sell direct or through distribution?

LT: Although vertically integrated we are the distributor, our clients are integrators and electrical contractors throughout the country.

CLARK Security

Many locksmiths turn to CLARK Security Products, an Anixter company, for their locksmithing supplies and products, and as locksmiths transition to electronic access control, they are also looking to CLARK for wire and related products.

We contacted CLARK and queried Matt Powers, Anixter’s Vice President Global Technology Support, and David Cronk, Anixter’s Technology Director, Access Control Solutions, for their perspectives on wire and general access control trends. Following are the Ledger’s questions and Powers’ and Cronk’s answers.

As a major distributor to the low voltage and security markets, are you detecting any new trends in your clients’ purchasing habits?

Over the past 6 to 12 months, we have seen a shift in technology trends within the access control and door hardware industry. As end-users look for higher security measures, we’ve seen a shift from proximity technology to more secure smart card technology.

In the door hardware space, we’ve seen a lot of interest in integrated all-in-one intelligent and wireless electronic door locking solutions to reduce installation time and overall cost. Within the access control system space, there has been a big push to open-architecture solutions that use network-based door controllers that support Power over Ethernet (PoE). Open-architecture solutions provide interoperability and flexibility because systems change and scale over time.

With the mass adoption of smart devices (phones, watches, tablets, etc.) and near field communication (NFC), many end-users are beginning to leverage mobile credentials that offer higher security encryption and a lower cost of ownership.

What types of wire and installation equipment do you offer?

As a full-line distributor in the physical security industry, together Anixter, TRI-ED, and CLARK offer a complete line of low-voltage and communications cabling to support all physical security subsystems. We see many of our locksmiths and integrators purchasing a wide variety of multiconductor cables, and over the past couple years, there has been a shift to composite multiconductor cabling solutions. We also offer a wide variety of twisted-pair cables to support the shift of physical security subsystems to IP-based cabling architectures.

When it comes to installation tools, we can provide everything our locksmith and integration partners need for cable preparation, termination, installation and testing to support a standards-based installation.

What technical resources do you have available to your clients to specify wire and installation?

We invest heavily in technical expertise to help our customers make the best technology purchasing decision. Our Technology Support Services team is staffed with industry experts and engineers who assist our customers by delivering standards-compliant technology solutions that respond to change, drive innovation and deliver value. Within the physical security industry, we have engineers that specialize in access control, door locking hardware, video surveillance, and fire and intrusion alarm systems.

Through our global technical resources, we bring our customers the right technology support when and where they need it. Our engineers actively participate in industry associations, standards bodies and obtain key certifications in order to recommend the right solution to meet our customers’ needs.

New Product: DualZip Cable Ties

Tie wraps are used to manage wires during an installation. Sometimes it is referred to as cable management.

Properly installed cabling is far more attractive than if it is just thrown up into the ceiling or dangling down the wall. Loose cables are a safety hazard as they may get caught on ladders or wrapped around your neck or ankle if you up there doing installation of maintenance. Unmanaged wires may touch things you might prefer they didn’t, such as heat sources or equipment generating electrical noise. Other tradesmen might mistake sloppy wire as material that is abandoned, and they might cut it out of their way.

Orphaned cabling violates workmanlike practices, and if the cable is not fire rated, is considered contrary to many commercial building and fire codes, since it may contribute to smoke and fumes as it becomes fuel if a fire should occur.

There are many different types of tie wraps, but the one thing they all have in common is that they are not cheap, and are among the many items you use that are not figured into your costs on projects. Twenty dollars here and twenty dollars there add up, don’t they?

The DualZip cable tie not only incorporates an easy to use releasable lock but also combines the dual functionality of both a releasable and permanent tie in one cable tie.

The permanent lock is the conventional lock, which is so strong that under normal circumstances, the part will fail with the strap breaking, not slippage within the lock.

The releasable lock has been engineered so that the lock can be ratcheted and released many times and will continue to reliably lock. 

The releasable lock is wedge-shaped so that you can release it with your thumb even without using a fingernail. 

The other outstanding difference in this design is that it is opposite of a conventional cable tie.  The teeth are on the outside of the bundle diameter.  In addition to the smooth strap surface being on the inside of the bundle, this reversal puts the releasable action of the lock outside of the bundle diameter, for much easier access to release.  With other releasable designs, you really need access behind the cable tie head (inside the bundle diameter) to get your finger in a position where you can easily release the tie.   That is difficult or can be impossible when the part is fastened onto a bundle.  This new design puts the release tab up and away from the bundle, for easy access every time.

The DualZip Cable Tie is currently available in 8” length from a number of sources.

Having used many tie wraps in my day, I found this new product pretty exciting.

Very often when laying cables for your access control, the work is done in phases, as the wring is pulled back to the head-end. Also when pulling and fastening cables, cables are added, or you will miss a cable which you meant to include in the bundle.

Typically I’ll tie down cables to keep them organized while I work and so I can determine their approximate lengths and trim things down. Then the interconnecting cables between the different control panels on the panel board.

If I had a tie wrap for every tie wrap I had to cut and discard in this process, I’d have plenty; and if I had these tie wraps back then, I would have cut down my tie wrap consumption by about half.

Tie wraps cost money, and add to your job costs, so not wasting these items makes all kinds of sense to me.