The Decline of Detroit

Detroit Michigan, like many other cities across the U.S. has suffered financial setbacks which have devastated parts of the city. A once booming automotive metropolis,  Detroit has dwindled it’s population down from two million in 1950 to 701,000 in 2013. In 2013 Detroit filed for federal bankruptcy.                                                                   So, what caused the decline of Detroit and where does this city stand today in urban America? Unfortunately, Detroit’s decline began with the competition from other auto makers around the globe decades ago. While the city in the 1960’s had the highest per ca-pita income across the nation, it’s decline has left much of this city an urban wasteland. The steady decline in the infrastructure of the city has left many of the areas of the town in ruins. Additionally, as of today Detroit has the largest unemployment rate of 23 percent, leading the nation in people without jobs.                                                     The decline in population of Detroit actually began in the 1950’s when the city suffered employment loss. The city also saw a change in the population of races. Since the 1950’s every census has showed a significant drop in population of both predominant races of the city. The African American nationality now accounts for over 80 percent of the current population. Currently across the city, abandoned buildings sit idle and empty, historical shells of a once flourishing manufacturing metropolis.                                                                             As of 2012 Detroit was listed as the United States city out of 71 cities polled as the number one for people living in poverty. The family rate for those living in poverty is a whopping 31.3 percent, well over a quarter of the families in Detroit.  This once highly productive and financially sound city is now viewed at as an example of complete urban decline by other cities across the country. With decline in employment and resources for families, many parts of the city are classified as places of urban decay. One only needs to drive through Detroit to see the destruction that comes with a lack of  proactive government and citizens.                                                                                   Additionally, for those living in Detroit crime is a major concern. The city has some of the highest crime statistics in the nation. Property crime rates for this town are over 62 for every 1000 residents. Violent crime rates are high with over 16 victims out of every 1000. In 2013 Forbes listed Detroit as the most dangerous city in the country and has been listed as such four years in a row.                 In March Of 2013, Detroit filed for bankruptcy. Financial reports found that the city was insolvent in maintaining a positive cash flow. The city then filed Chapter 9 bankruptcy for relief from its outstanding debt.  Detroit’s debt obligations were in excess of 100,000 creditors with a total debt of $18.5 Billion. The city of Detroit is a prime example of what happens when the ability to create employment lags behind the national average. The name Detroit has also become the brunt of jokes across the globe. The police force in the city  have a response time of close to an hour and have been noted to state “Enter Detroit at your own risk.”                                       With all of the negatives associated with Detroit, one may think the city would be completely abandoned. However, many of the over 700,000 citizens see this as home and do whatever they can to keep it that way. While a large portion of buildings sit abandoned, those who remain continue to have hope and some find the city to be their past and future. The city of Detroit has definitely suffered a massive decline and you may have to look a bit harder to see the positive actions taking place by people trying to rebuild their lives. See here to see an interesting video on Detroit and where the city is today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRwJQXCyE38

Are Manufacturing Jobs Coming Back to the United States?

It’s a known fact. For the past couple decades if not more, manufacturing jobs have been leaving the U.S.  The reason is obvious.  Companies based overseas are able to complete jobs cheaper and faster.  Everywhere you look in the United States you will find products that are made overseas.  Additionally, skilled technical jobs once rampant in the U.S. are now also based overseas.  So, what’s the deal? Will we ever see manufacturing jobs come back to the United States? Studies show that they are.

In a recent study by The Boston Consulting Group, it appears that companies are in fact seeing the advantages of having their manufacturing jobs based in the United States. China, well known for producing a multitude of products for U.S. consumption is beginning to see a change in demand for manufacturing employment.  So much so that top executives of companies based in the country are considering bringing their manufacturing jobs back to the United States.  Over half of the executives with manufacturing sales over $1 billion have plans to bring their business back to the U.S. or are seriously considering it. That’s good news for the millions of semi-skilled workers in the U.S. who are in dire need of employment.

You may be wondering what’s the reason so many overseas based companies are considering the long haul back to the United States.  Interestingly, energy costs are low on the list of priorities for the move.  Supporters of  ‘Fracking’ state that increase in manufacturing jobs in the U.S. is due to the demand for workers to pursue the exploration of cheaper sources of energy. Fracking, in case you’re wondering, is the process of extracting natural gas from shale rock layers below the earth. Executives of overseas companies do not consider fracking and the need for workers to be a determining factor in considering a move back to U.S. states.  Surprisingly, executives claim that the advantages of moving their manufacturing business back to the United States are product quality, closer proximity to customers, competitive labor rates and transportation costs.

This sounds great in theory, but while companies are considering the move back and a South Carolina textile business  has enough new machines that need to manned and operated, the pool of workers available to actually work has diminished.  One theory for this which makes a lot of sense is U.S. based workers have moved on from the manufacturing sector simply because these jobs have not been previously available in recent years.  Employment in retail, fast food and other lower paid positions appear to be all that’s been available for close to a decade.  Skilled trade workers have also seen a decrease in demand over the past decade with minimal increases in home and commercial construction.

Statistics show however, that times are changing within the manufacturing sector in the United States. While some are skeptical, the facts are, manufacturing work has increased 18 percent since 2009.  Take a look at this link for a more in depth look at the change taking place in the industry with some positive outlooks. www.ibtimes.com/us-manufacturing-will-keep-coming-back-government-willing-national-association-manufacturers.

This brief blog article only hits the tip of the iceberg on the increase of available jobs in the manufacturing industry and the changes taking place in the United States.  We’re sure to see much more news in the months and years ahead as overseas based companies return back to the states.  This news may come as a breath of fresh air for people who are looking to return to work in the manufacturing sector or seeking opportunities for training in the field. After suffering for over half a decade of a dismal economy, a jump in the manufacturing industry may very likely be what the United States needs to jump start the economy.

Did you know how dangerous cell tower construction is?

It’s a given fact. Construction work can be a hazardous way to make a living. In fact, according to OSHA statistics in 2012 there were over 4600 deaths in the United States construction industry. That figure equates to just about 3.4 deaths per 100,000 U.S workers in construction each year.  While this is alarming news, this is an improvement over previous year fatalities. It’s apparent that construction work accounts for a high rate of injury and death.

One would thing that typical commercial and residential construction would be the riskiest work in the industry, however there is another industry that may surpass the tolls per rate of worker killed than general construction. That industry would be cell tower construction. To put it simply, cell towers look somewhat like what you would see at a power plant but are very different in their operation. There are a number of types of cell towers from monopole, flagpole and self supporting towers. These towers are typically used to support cellular service, wind energy, radio, (both AM/FM and Shortwave) and cable television. Cell towers are generally 50 to 200 feet in height however, some towers can be constructed to be much higher.

Obviously, there is huge risk involved for workers who work on cell towers. In 2013 in Mount Vernon Washington a tower worker was killed.  Ironically, his employer was fined only $450.00 for not complying with OSHA standards.  The worker was not equipped with fall protection that should have been provided by his employer.  Additionally, the company that hired the cell tower climber was fined $450.00 as well. Often the companies which hire the employees that work on towers are only given a minimal penalty (fine) if any at all. While one would think this should cause an outrage, it’s apparent more accountability needs to be in order from both the employer of the worker and the company that supplies the work.

In 2013 there were 13 confirmed deaths of cell tower workers across the United States. Unfortunately, the trend is continuing with a total of four workers killed in the first four weeks of 2014 This is what some may say is the price we as a nation are paying for increased wireless communication.  Smart phone use across the nation has soared from 3.5 million users in 2005 to a whopping 156 million in 2013.  That’s a huge increase in just a few years!  So, what can be done to limit the amount of deaths across the country due to cell towers?  That seems to be the issue on across the board today.  With the high demand of smart phone wireless users, so is the demand for cell towers. As of today, there are thousands of these towers already constructed across the country and the demand for more continues.  David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA states. “Tower worker deaths cannot be the price we pay for increased wireless communication.” (credit http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/social-issues/cell-tower-deaths/labor-dept-warns-of-alarming-rise-in-cell-tower-deaths/).

Without placing blame on anyone or particular group, it’s obvious that the demand for newer technology seems to be rampant across the country and it’s being provided. It’s also obvious that until we as a nation consider whether the need for faster more efficient services outweigh the potential for loss of human life, the trend will continue. See this link on more information on tower deaths in 2014. http://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2014/03/31/cell-tower-workers-six-deaths-in-12-weeks/

Exploring the Multiple Uses of Polyolefin Heat Shrink Tubing

Exploring the Multiple Uses of Polyolefin Heat Shrink Tubing

 

Homeowners, mechanics, engineers, and other professionals constantly seek tools to help them carry out their work safely, effectively, and efficiently. Among the components they seek to repair and protect is electrical wiring. By distributing power among the many devices and sources individuals use, wiring is crucial to the functioning of modern infrastructures.

 

 

Not only is wiring highly functional; it can also be highly delicate. The slightest physical or environmental interferences can result in malfunctions, shutting down entire buildings or systems. Damaged wires also present increased risks of fire and electrocution, making their insulation and protection a top priority for those working with them.

 

Modern chemists and polymer scientists have worked tirelessly to produce solutions for every industry utilizing wiring. These products must offer a wide array of functions, from abrasion protection to UV resistance. Their chemical structures must also avail users of their desired utilities.

 

Heat shrink tubing, composed of polyolefin, helps a wide array of professionals perform their work more effectively, safely, and efficiently. Its unique chemical structure and versatile appearance make it suitable for various electrical and mechanical applications.

 

The Technology behind Polyolefin Heat Shrink Tubing

 

Although heat shrink tubing appears to be a simple device, a great deal of complex chemistry went into its creation. Manufacturers construct heat shrink tubing from a variety of materials, based on the designated use. However, the most popular are nylon and polyolefin.

 

Polyolefin represents a class of polymers that have significant resistance to chemicals and various solvents, allowing them to maintain their structural integrity in myriad environments. When used in heat shrink tubing, the monomers that make up polyolefin tubing bond together, increasing density and reducing the amount of space the material occupies.

 

This functionality makes polyolefin heat shrink tubing ideal for use in a variety of functions related to electrical wiring. Fitted around wires prior to connecting them, the tubing then “shrinks” with the application of heat, holding the wires secure and protecting them from myriad environmental factors.

 

The popularity of polyolefin heat shrink tubes owes to its many outstanding features, including:

 

  • Maximum continuous-rise temperatures. These range from -55 degrees to 135 degrees Celsius. This imbues them with extraordinary flexibility and shrinking speed.

 

  • Wide range of colors. From clear to neon to black (which offers higher UV resistance), individuals seeking to color-code electrical components may select from a spectrum of shades.

 

  • Various shrink ratios. From 2:1 to 6:1, a polyolefin heat shrink tube is available to complete virtually any electrical project.

 

Types of Polyolefin Heat Shrink Tubing

 

Reflecting the many needs among electrical and engineering professionals, polyolefin heat shrink tubing comes in a diverse array of shrink ratios

 

 

Uses for Polyolefin Heat Shrink Tubing

 

 

Professionals and home users alike benefit from the many uses of heat shrink tubing in such diverse areas as computer wiring, home theaters, outdoor wiring, vehicle engines, and other home wiring. Applied correctly to wires, the tubing provides many benefits such as:

 

  1. Abrasion resistance. Wires may experience friction from a variety of sources, including mechanical components, corners of furniture, gravel, or other wires. Heat shrink tubing holds wires together, preventing them from rubbing against each other or other surrounding objects.

 

  1. Wire insulation and repair. Exposure to extreme heat, cold, or UV rays damages wires and impacts their functioning. Heat shrink tubing provides an additional layer against such elements, keeping wires at optimal temperatures.

 

  1. Electrical component protection. For joints, terminals, conductors, and connections to operate properly, they must remain secure from undue strain, as well as from environmental factors such as fire, water, diesel fuel, aviation fluid, solvents, and abrasion. Heat shrink tubing offers a necessary buffer against such threats, keeping wires and machines working.

 

“Life Hacks” Using Polyolefin Heat Shrink Tubing

 

In their everyday efforts to make life easier and more efficient, numerous individuals have found innovative new ways to utilize polyolefin heat shrink tubing. By employing this useful material outside the bounds of its prescribed use (while still adhering to prescribed heating safety precautions), they continually prove the versatility and utility of heat shrink tubing.

 

Recent “life hacks” individuals have invented using polyolefin heat shrink tubing include:

 

  • Tool grips. Anyone frequently using hand tools knows how quickly manufacturer-created “grips” wear out. Rather than purchasing new tools, handy individuals can wrap handles with copper wire, then apply 2 1/2-inch heat shrink tubing to hold it fast. The result is a tool unlikely to slip or fly out of a user’s hand while working on a project.

 

  • Shoelace tips. With several months or years of pulling and tying shoelaces, they become stretched-out, presenting an inconvenience (not to mention a tripping risk). However, heat shrink tubing offers an easy fix. Simply cut the shoelaces down to a manageable length, add polyolefin heat shrink tubing to the tips, and apply heat. Passersby will not notice the difference, and the shoelaces will become as good as new.

 

  • Secure a carabiner keychain. Many people utilize these climbing-inspired tools to carry various sets of keys. They offer ample space and open easily to remove keys when needed. However, they can slip open of their own accord, dropping keys where owners have trouble finding them.

 

With heat shrink tubing, however, individuals can seal the carabiner latch shut, keeping keys secure while still allowing the benefit of expanded storage. Although the tubing prevents users from opening the latch, its inexpensive nature means cutting and replacing it presents a low expense.

 

  • Repair headphone cables. Music lovers often invest a great deal in their headphones, and when cables shred or come loose, they may believe the only option is to purchase new headphones. However, applying heat shrink tubing to the affected area – or even proactively applying it to places such damage may occur – keeps headphones in optimal shape for the long haul.

 

Whether used by professionals, homeowners, or self-styled inventors, the many functions of polyolefin heat shrink tubing continue to reveal themselves. As electricians, engineers, and scientists continue to discover and implement these uses, the popularity and importance of this pivotal product will continue to grow.

 

In what ways have you used polyolefin heat shrink tubing to carry out your electrical or “life hack” projects?

Benefits And Uses Of Shrink Labels In Wire Applications

The use of shrink labels makes the job of many technical installations much easier.  For the electricians who install electrical panels to the fire alarm technicians who install smoke detectors and strobe lights, shrink labels are a must. Shrink labels are used when installing equipment that has wires with termination points which must be identified. The use of these label markers helps the installer identify which wires terminate on certain devices like electrical breakers. Electricians often use these labels to ensure that the wires are identified and the labels will be affixed permanently. Heat shrink labels help to not only identify the wires being terminated to but  also help keep the wires safe from elements and tests performed for strength. Tyco, a leader in a variety of products including fire alarm devices and services  offers printers which are compatible with many of the shrink labels products. Gamma printing products are also compatible with heat shrink markers produced by Mark and Jet.

The main purpose of shrink labels when it comes to working with wires either for low voltage or high er voltages is to identify the wires.  So, why use shrink labels instead of something simpler like an easy stick on marker?  The easy answer is, shrink labels adhere to the wire much better and are a snugger fit. A shrink label basically uses a label which is affixed to the wires. A plastic type tube is then put over the wire and heated up allowing the tube to shrink around the label. Once the tube hardens in not only protects the label but ensures the identified wire marker can be seen without being exposed to elements. Using shrink labels in electrical installations is a common way of identifying wires and also makes for a much “cleaner “install.  Ultimately, when inspectors see that shrink labels have been used, the inspection usually goes much smoother. While heat shrink labels are not required on every electrical installation that needs markers, using these labels makes the project appear much more professional.

Gamma, a leading supplier of high quality insulation products has a very broad supply of products including heat shrinkable markers.  When you’re choosing a company to supply your heat shrink labels, you need a company with a solid reputation that focuses on quality versus quantity.  Gamma, located in  California does just that. Additionally, Gamma products are priced competitively. In addition to heat shrink labels, this company also provides cold shrink tubing which is often used when it would be impractical to use heat shrink technology.  Circumstances where heat shrinking would be impractical or impossible to use,cold shrink tubes alleviate any setbacks. Often, cold shrink tubing is used in applications like mining and high voltage installs, where the use of heat shrink would create a hazardous condition. A silicon cold shrink is often used ensuring a flexible, odorless and clean install of identifying markers.

If your looking for personalized markers for a specialized project, Gamma has the ability to help you achieve the best possible results. With the ability to produce markers with alpha numeric texts, 2D barcodes and wire lists, the company creates some amazing colorful markers perfect for any project. Specialized markers products are created in house ensuring a quick turn around as well as savings on high volume jobs.

Heat shrink and cold shrink technology is an ever growing process which helps create an organized, professional appearing project when wires are needed.  For the technicians who install electrical equipment, this technology saves time and money and makes for a much safer, cleaner install. Choosing the right company that offers a product that is of the highest quality is paramount. With this is mind, using  Gamma for heat and cold shrink products just makes sense!

How to Keep Wires Organized with Distinctive Labels

Wires are everywhere. They provide the power for our homes and businesses. They allow us to connect to the internet or give us access to the television shows we want to watch. They deliver telephone communication for businesses around the world. As our electronic age continues to expand, so does the use of wiring – both what we see and don’t see. As the wiring expands, so does the need for keeping it all organized.

Everyone has run into a situation like this. You just bought a new TV. You pull out the existing entertainment center and discover something resembling a bird’s nest of wires – power cords, the TV cable, speaker wires, and other audio/video cables. They all go somewhere, but exactly where might be a mystery.

Consider this scenario: a contractor is wiring a new building. Not only is there electrical wiring, but there are also networking cables, satellite lines, and phone cables.

Getting everything set up properly might seem like an easy process, but if it’s done incorrectly, you might miss your favorite program because a few wires got crossed. Perhaps that contractor might miss a construction deadline because something was hooked up incorrectly. The contractor’s problem is definitely more serious, but both situations can be avoided through proper marking of the wires during the installation process.

At Gamma Electronics, we understand the importance of making sure wires are marked so that your project will be completed successfully and without headaches.

We offer in-house wire marker production services that can customize wire labeling for almost any application. We offer heat shrink wire markers, shrink tube labels, and more. Our system can use your own logo, a bar code system, number labels, or just about any other method you might want to use to organize labels for the project you have to complete.

Labeling Options

There are numerous products available for labeling wires. Let’s take a look at some of the options out there:

articleimage303Velcro straps

  • Velcro straps. These straps generally are color-coded and include spaces for marking the designated use for the wire, such as which speaker it is for or that it connects to the printer. These are a simple option for many home projects such as wiring a home theater system. However, if the straps come loose, your marking system fails. 
  • Colored tape. Another simple method for use in the home, colored tape can be applied to either end of the wire to allow for easy identification. A blue piece could be for the TV while a red wire marks the DVD player. articleimage303coloredtape
  • Print on demand. Print-on-demand labels allow you to print labels from a laser or inkjet printer. These can then be affixed to wires as needed to help properly identify them. This would be used conveniently in larger projects, such as running network cables for an office building. 
  • Pre-printed labels. Similar to the print-on-demand labels, these are printed in advance for those who don’t need to print labels on their own. They come in many material options, suitable for several applications, such as labeling wires within vehicles. articleimage303pre printed labes

While each of these options has benefits and ideal uses, Gamma Electronics’ in-house wire marker production services can provide even more flexibility.

Our system can take almost anything and apply it to heat shrink wire markers, which you can use to mark almost anything. We can use your business’s logo to remind your customers that you installed their wiring system. We can use a list you supply for serializing labels, which we can produce on perforated tubing using shrink tube printers to allow for easy separation and installation. We can also add bar codes for easy cataloging of wires.

Labeling Guidelines

For contractors, the rules for marking wires are minimally defined. Standard code requires only that cables and wires are marked, but offers few explicit instructions for how it is to be done. In many cases, it is left entirely up to the contractor to determine the best method and labeling system for each job. Consider the following:

  • Customer needs. Ask your client for labeling guidelines, such as extension numbers for phones, building codes, or other specifications. If these do not provide enough detail, fall back on your experience in developing a more detailed system. 
  • Count it out. Work with the customer to provide a numbering system that makes labels easy to identify. Provide a key for the system at breakers or other wiring hubs so that future technicians are able to understand the system you put in place. Use a system that will make it easy to standardize labels throughout the project. 
  • Don’t over label. Using too many labels can create clutter in the system. Proper panel layout and marking will make even the most complex wiring system easy to follow. 
  • Stick to the system. It is crucial when devising a labeling system that you do not mix and match abbreviations or other markings. Doing so will only lead to confusion when maintenance is required. 
  • Print it. Labels for complex systems should not be handwritten. Use only preprinted labels and stick to a font that is easy to read. This will make sure anyone who works on the wiring in the future will be able to clearly understand what the labels mean. 

All of these guidelines can be addressed with Gamma Electronics’ in-house wire marking production system. We can take your customer’s list of labeling specifications and turn it into a heat shrink wire marker that you can apply while installing the wires. We can create a serialized numbering system using our perforated tubing that will let you quickly find the label you need as the job progresses. Our labels will be printed clearly using shrink tube printers so they can be read without difficulty, even after being shrunk into place.

For a video demonstration of our system, explore the product page for the Gamma Electronics in-house wire marking production service. After taking a look, contact us by phone or email to let one of our experts help you create a labeling system that will keep your next job organized for ease of installation and future maintenance.

Hot vs. Cold: Tips for Managing Wiring

Electronic products have become an increasingly important part of the lives of most people. Televisions, home theater systems, computers, kitchen appliances, and many more products that enhance our lives all rely on one thing – electricity. So do many heavy-duty machines used in industries such as construction, mining, and oil drilling. Getting that electricity to the devices requires wires, and all those wires can become a headache to manage.

At Gamma Electronics, we specialize in helping people keep their wires organized. Whether it is the speaker wires for the home theater system or the complex wiring within your home or vehicle, we have a product that will help.

Keeping wires organized, regardless of whether or not they are exposed, will help the next time you change out devices or need to fix a wiring problem. Among the many options for keeping wires organized are heat shrink and cold shrink tubing. Each of these products has its own unique properties and applications where it will provide the most benefits.

Cold Shrink Tubing

articleimage302coldshrinktubing

First, let’s take a look at what cold shrink tubing is. Cold shrink tubing is a versatile product that provides the organization benefits of heat shrink tubing (which we will discuss more thoroughly), but it provides the benefit of safe usage in applications where using heat would be dangerous. Cold shrink tubing provides a waterproof seal, which ensures wires are protected from corrosion. Cold shrink tubing is designed to return to its original tight form, which means it will always provide a tight seal around whatever is run through it. Cold shrink tubing is also extremely weather-proof, meaning it works well in outdoor installations.

Here’s an example: a mining company is setting up machines within one of its mines and needs to consolidate the wires so it can keep them out of the way of the workers. Lighting a torch in the mine could be very dangerous as the spark could ignite particles. Therefore, the use of cold shrink tubing will secure the wires without endangering the workers by lighting a torch.

So, how exactly does cold shrink tubing, such as Gamma Electronics’ Gamma Mark III, work?

  • Cold shrink tubing is manufactured around a plastic “rip cord” that provides a wide opening through which the wires you are organizing can be inserted. 
  • Once the wires have been run through the rip cord tube and it has been trimmed to size, the end of the rip cord is pulled back through the opening. 
  • As the cord is pulled, the tubing shrinks tightly around the wires that were run through the tubing, creating an organized, water-tight seal. 

Gamma Electronics offers two main types of cold shrink tubing: silicone and EPDM. The silicone tubing can withstand extreme temperatures and remains very flexible. EPDM can withstand higher temperatures, but should not be used around petroleum-based fuels.

Heat Shrink Tubing

articleimage302heatshrinktubing

Heat shrink tubing is different from cold shrink in many ways. It comes in many different sizes, allowing the user several options for potential projects. The tubing comes in a stretched form and is reduced in size through the application of heat, usually with a torch. Because of this, installers must be extremely careful and aware of their surroundings. As it is reactive to temperature changes, it is often more suitable in indoor uses where the temperature will be more consistent. Heat shrink tubing also becomes rigid once it is shrunk, meaning it is best used in areas where cables will be in a fixed location.

Here’s an example: an electrician wiring a home might use heat shrink tubing to help consolidate a set of wires running through the home’s walls. This will keep the wires together within the walls and help with organization at the home’s breaker box.

Heat shrink tubing installation is an easy process, but requires caution. Steps to installation are as follows:

  • First, wires or other products being organized are fed through the tubing, and it is trimmed to length. 
  • Next, light a torch and carefully apply heat to the tubing. As heat is applied, the tubing will contract around the wires inside it. 
  • Extreme care must be used when applying heat to avoid melting the tubing and ruining the seal it is intended to provide. 

Gamma Electronics offers many different types of heat shrink tubing that can be used for a wide variety of projects. The product specifications associated with each can help determine which product is best for your project.

Which is Right?

articleimage302whichisright-300x184

There is no right or wrong answer to which option is right, though there are situations where one product is better suited than the other.

Let’s say you are a contractor installing lines for a rail system. The cabling will be outside and subject to vibrations from the trains on a daily basis. Temperature changes will mean the cables will expand and contract regularly.

In this case, cold shrink tubing will be the best choice. The tubing remains flexible after installation. It is weather-proof. The active memory within the tubing will allow it to expand and contract as the cables adjust to the temperatures in the atmosphere.

Perhaps you are working on a model airplane or car. The wires are not exposed to the elements, and they will be quite small and likely will remain in place once you have finished the project.

Here, heat shrink tubing will be the product you’d want to use. It is available in small sizes and will add protection to the wires should there be a gas leak within the vehicle.

Both products have a wide array of uses. Whether you are a contractor in need of large quantities for your next job or a do-it-yourselfer looking to finish that next home project, Gamma Electronics has the product that will fit your needs.

Our experts can answer any questions you have and provide you with the perfect solution for your wire organization needs, no matter what temperature you need to work with. Contact us today if you would like our help with your project.

The Benefits of Cold Shrink Tubing

For most cable connections and splicing, heat shrink tubing is used. This is because it is quick, fairly simple, and reliable. Whether making small electrical parts in which tubing needs to be sealed onto the metal conductors or connecting pieces of tubing to a larger connector, heat shrink tubing has proven itself to be reliable and usually practical. However, there are some situations in which heat shrink tubing is simply not feasible to consider using, especially when health and safety may be a concern. In these situations, cold shrink tubing is a perfectly acceptable replacement. It works as well as heat shrink tubing, but without the need for a flame. Let’s take a look at some of the instances in which you should use heat shrink tubing, and when you should use cold shrink tubing.

Heat Shrink Tubing

articleimage144heatshrinktubing It is best to think of heat shrink tubing as duct tape. When dealing with electrical wiring, heat shrink tubing is the versatile, quick-fix repair tool. It can be used to insulate wire terminations, repair cable splices, relieve strain on cables, bundle cables together, seal connections, and protect from moisture. While all of these are useful situations, there are times when it isn’t practical to use heat. These include circumstances in which there is a presence of flammable gas or other chemicals. This could be in a coal mine, gas station, or factory plant. The answer for these situations is cold shrink tubing.

Cold Shrink Tubing

articleimage144coldshrinktubingWhile heat shrink tubing is by far the most common choice, cold shrink tubing has its place. When it is impractical or impossible to use heat, cold shrink tubing offers a safe alternative. At Gamma Electronics, we manufacture two types of cold shrink tubing for difficult situations:

  • Silicone Cold Shrink. Because silicone is a semi-organic elastomer, it has the ability to resist extreme temperatures and maintain flexibility. It provides a great source of resistance to oxygen, moisture, and ozone, making it a reliable source of protection. In addition to its other benefits, silicone cold shrink emits almost no odor. Applications include electrical insulation for solid dielectric insulate wire and cable splicing, moisture sealing for coupling hoses, terminal lugs and connectors, cable jacket and sheath repairs, and corrosion protection for fittings and couplings. Cold shrink tubing is activated by pulling the plastic cord, which allows the silicone to shrink by as much as 50%. 
  • EPDM Cold Shrink. EPDM cold shrink is made out of ethylene, propylene, and a third monomer. It is resistant to mild acids, alkalis, detergents, silicone oils, ketones, and alcohols. It is most often used for its ozone and chemical resistance properties. EPDM cold shrink is ideal for applications which will be exposed to the outdoors for extended periods of time. It is best to use EPDM cold shrink in situations where you need to resist fungus, acids, and alkalis, waterproof a cable, or avoid ultraviolet light. 

In summary, it is best to use cold shrink tubing for outdoor applications, because it won’t be affected by the sun. It is also useful for repelling water and resisting abrasions. Additionally, it performs well in extremely high or low temperatures.

When choosing a type of shrink tubing, there are a number of factors to consider. Take into account things like temperature, chemicals, lighting, and moisture.

Custom Wire Markers

articleimage144customwiremarkerIn addition to selling heat shrink and cold shrink tubing solutions, we also offer custom wire markers. Our custom produced markers can be used for cable identification, coding, and other applications. We produce wire marker labels with the use of heat shrink tubing printers, which are equally applicable for cold shrink tubing. We currently sell three heat shrink tube printers, which allow you to produce custom wire markers. Here is a look at each of our product offerings:

  • Gamma Mark™ I. Our base level printer provides all the functionality of a premier printer, without the price tag. It produces high quality, crisp marks and is useful for a number of different applications. The user can insert markers and ribbons in the front, and the centered label path assures no wrinkling. The fully integrated high-tech electronic board means no additional installations are necessary.
  • Gamma Mark™ III. The next step up is the Gamma Mark III. This model is an industrial thermal transfer marking machine. It is PC operated and has two stacked print engines for simultaneous printing on the back and front of the marker. The user has the ability to custom control the print speed, and the machine boasts a standalone feature in which there is no need for a PC.
  • Gamma Double Mark. For the ultimate printer, try the Gamma Double Mark. This industrial high speed thermal transfer marking machine is capable of large and small projects alike. It has upgraded software and a standalone feature which does not need a PC to operate.

Other Products

In addition to selling hot shrink tubing, cold shrink tubing, and wire markers, we offer non-shrinkable labels, cable bundling and repair tape, and Milspec cross reference. All of our products are backed by our dedication to honesty, integrity, and quality. As we say around here, ‘We are proud to be supplying the demands of an ever changing market.’ That means listening to our clients’ needs and adjusting accordingly.

At Gamma Electronics we manufacture and inventory our entire product line, enabling us to stand behind our products with confidence. If you are looking for high-quality, competitively-priced products for insulating, labeling, and protecting cables or connectors, we would be happy to hear from you. Our team of innovative thinkers has the ability to deliver custom solutions, industrial sized orders, and unparalleled service to all of our customers.

We know our customers are busy with day-to-day operations, so we make ourselves available to help in any way possible. Feel free to contact us with questions, concerns, or comments. One of our highly trained customer service representatives will provide the necessary information for you to make an educated purchase decision.

Cable Repair Ships are Superheroes

It is clear that we live in a world of cables and wires.  Electrical systems worldwide depend on the proper maintenance of cables and wires.  Without it, airplanes, automobiles and other equipment would not work.  Did you know that there are thousands of miles of fiber optic cables along the ocean floor?  They are the bringers of telephone service, television, and the internet to much of the world.

You must think of the world as an electrified body – head, arms, legs and so forth.  Now think of its insides – the organs, bones and blood.  The wires and cables – the things collecting dust underneath the computer desk or behind the TV – are the organs of the modern world.  They help with communication and technology to create a circular motion for the electrifiedblood to reach the heart of the world.  Someone needs to monitor and repair the wires and cables.  After all, the ocean floor is not a safe zone.
Recently, an earthquake off the coast of Southeast Alaska damaged cables that provide internet to Wrangell, a borough on the northern tip of Wrangell Island.  Like some kind of superhero, a cable repair ship was called into the save the day.
In the article, “On board the Wave Venture, Alaska’s cable repair ship,” Shady Grove Oliver of KSTK News writes, “The Wave Venture is anchored off the coast of Wrangell Island.  From shore, she look looks large enough anchored in the water.  But up close, she’s enormous, a re-purposed ferry that’s been converted into a cable repair ship.”
Yes, you heard correct.  There is such a thing as a cable repair ship that maintains and repairs the fiber optic cables along the ocean floor or, as Captain Kevin Widdowson puts it, “When people can’t log on or they can’t send their emails, they start complaining.  So it’s up to us to get onto the seabed and sort it out.” These brave men scour the seabed to make sure people have access to internet and other amenities.
The Wave Venture (what a cool name) is stationed in Victoria, British Columbia and watches over thousands of miles of cable from Alaska to Mexico, and everything-in-between.  Many things can damage the cables – an earthquake, for instance.  The Wave Venture is on call 24-7.
It took five days to fix Wrangell’s services and then, like a superhero, they disappeared into the night…ready to answer any call for help.
The world of wires, cables, and cable ships is a fascinating one.  Captain Widdowson sums it up best: “The history of cable ships is absolutely enthralling.” How right you are Captain Widdowson.  All aboard the Wave Venture, the finest cable repair ship in the Western Hemisphere!