Bites that cost billions $

Of the many advantages of using nylon cable protection systems – reducing risk from costly rodent and wildlife damage is a benefit that can save some companies millions.

Using polyamide nylon conduit helps protect critical cables from wildlife
Birds, squirrels, rodents and reptiles can be cute but costly when it comes to damaging power and communications cables. Each year, it is estimated that animals cause billions of dollars in damage, including electrical outages, service interruptions, lost sales, repairs and fees. Installations in rural areas with farm buildings, roof voids or cellars are at increased risk of animal attacks.

Rodents are a major cause of technical failure and disruption due to their habit of chewing through some types of cable protection and damaging the electrical wires held within. While there are less humane, more costly methods of discouraging rodents and wildlife such as traps, poisons or sonic deterrents, these techniques are often ineffective. Avoidance measures may only temporarily deter and not prevent animal damage, increasing the possibility of weakened wires, appliance shorts, electrical system failures and fires.

To effectively combat animal damage, ABB Installation Products engineers developed a complete range of nylon-based, non-metallic flexible conduit solutions for a wide range of applications and environments – above and below ground.

Nesting rodents can cause costly cable damage.

Research shows that polyamide-made products are completely resistant to pests’ small teeth.

Nylon conduits reduce rodent risk
How do cables become prone to rodent attacks? Rodents are known to rigorously mark their territory. Raw materials, such as cable insulation, polypropylene or PVC tubing, and materials with a rougher surface retain the marking smells of rodents for longer. This means there is a far greater danger of other rodents continuing to bite away all traces of scent to defend their territories.

With polyamide, this risk is significantly reduced because urine and other marking substances don’t adhere to its smooth, shiny surface. The innate properties of nylon allow it to repel scents, along with its superior memory when returning to shape after impact. Since nylon-based conduit systems don’t retain the rodent’s scent, it’s more effective at protecting exposed runs of thermoplastic-insulated (PP or PVC) and sheathed cables.

Choose flexible nylon conduits to prevent rodent nesting behaviors
A rodent’s gnawing behavior can also be a result of gathering raw materials for nest building. Mice, rats, gophers and raccoons are capable of biting through almost any type of material – including metal.

Although gnawing is instinctive, polyamide is considered an unattractive building material to rodents due to its natural taste and the effort required to bite into it. Research shows that polyamide-made products are completely resistant to pests’ small teeth. The material’s hard and elastic properties lead teeth to slip. Plus, larger conduit makes it more difficult for an animal to bite into its surface.

Protect against all threats – birds included
Although rodents are a common threat to cable applications installed on the ground, birds pose a similar risk to rooftops and higher elevation installations. Without adequate protection, local birds landing and biting at cabling can quickly expose the wiring.

Decrease the risk of wildlife-caused fire damage
The threat of fire is always present in environments where a large amount of cabling is in constant use. Telephone exchanges pose a particular risk due to the heat of computer equipment being operated nearby.

Cable fires can start for several reasons and are an ever-growing threat from rodents, especially in underground environments. Many telephone exchanges are located within enclosed environments that are also the natural habitat of mice and rats, making encounters almost unavoidable. A rodent-chewed cable can easily affect wiring safety and potentially generate electrical short circuits that ignite dangerous sparks.

Safeguard against fire and corrosion with wildlife-resistant solutions
ABB Installation Products offers a broad range of flexible conduit brands and poly-amide (PA6) nylon conduit solutions. As standard, ABB conduit ranges include industry-standard conduit sizes from 10mm to jumbo size at 106mm for larger cable carrying capacity. The solutions offer a wide range of specifications and specialist properties, including Fast Fit, Low Fire Hazard (LFH), Enhanced Low Fire Hazard (ELFH) and EMI screening. ABB’s conduit systems meet or exceed operating standards, and many have industry-recognized approvals, including British Kitemark, CE, UL 1696, NF, LUL, DB and Lloyds Register, among others.

Suitable for applications in a range of industries, including rail, construction, hazardous areas and heavy-duty vehicles, ABB Installation Products solutions safeguard critical wiring from rodents and other wildlife.

Without adequate protection, local birds landing and biting at cabling can quickly expose the wiring.
About the author

Meirion Buck
is global head of Research and Development for ABB Installation Products. He leads 5 teams of 27 R&D engineers in Europe and Asia focused on innovation and design of flexible cable protection systems. He has over 25 years’ experience in the industry covering market leading brands of cable protection systems in rail and rail infrastructure, ATEX/IECEx, automotive, food and beverage, marine, robotics, machinery, and industrial market sectors.


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