USES FOR ZIP TIES
Uses for zip ties vary depending on their type and construction. Most zip ties consist of a sturdy nylon tape with gear teeth on one side, and a cased ratchet on one end. When the pointed tip of the zip tie is pulled through the case, the gears engage with the ratchet, preventing the resulting loop from being loosened.
To extend the zip ties effectiveness and longevity when used outdoors, a minimum of 2% carbon black is integrated into the nylon to protect the product from ultraviolet light. Blue zip ties are used in the food-related applications and contain a metal additive visible to metal detectors. Zip ties made of ETFE (Tefzel) are used in environments with radiation exposure. Red zip ties made of ECTFE (Halar) are used to cable plenum.
Fireproof zip ties are made stainless steel, and often coated with zinc to prevent galvanic attack.
Other Uses for Zip Ties
Zip ties are also used as inexpensive handcuffs. Specially designed restraints called PlastiCuffs, based on the zip tie design, are used by police and military to restrain prisoners. Zip ties are also commonly used to prevent hubcaps from falling off a moving vehicle.
Self-locking loops, based on the traditional zip tie, have also been designed for surgical applications. The device (LigaTie®) is intended for ligation, the compressing tissue to prevent hemorrhage, and sutures. These are made from resorbable polymers, material which will safely dissolve in and be expelled naturally by the body.
There are many alternatives for zip ties. Other secure and semi-permanent binding tools include: “cable lacing, binding knots such as the surgeon’s knot or constrictor knot, Velcro brand hook-and-loop strips[. Also,] conveyor belt hooks, twist ties, Rapstrap fasteners, metal buckle clips or Cablox cable management.”
Text paraphrased from Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cable_tie
By Hacolmiso (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons