How to install the D-Track-LT
What is D-Track-LT ®?
D-Track-LT® was developed in Europe for the Truck and Bus industry and is a complete cable management system made from flexible PVC. This unique wrap-around jacketing system for wire and cable management has several advantages over Split convoluted tubing.
Because it is manufactured from a flexible PVC compound, there are no sharp edges to damage wires during the cable assembly process. The patented external closure system allows for much higher cable fill rates and easier accessibility for faster installations.
The wrap-around or side entry allows for modular cable design, reducing the total installed cost (TIC), and the D-Track-LT ® closure method insures that cables are not exposed to outside contaminates, reducing total operating costs (TOC). This product is currently being used on trucks and buses manufactured by Daimler/Chrysler, DAF, Freightliner, Kenworth and PACCAR.
D-Track-LT® is ideal for use in automotive applications where cable bundles must be protected from the rugged environment faced by constant road use. The patented expansion feature allows for cable growth as design changes occur. The track closure system is also available on many jacketing materials including extruded films and coated fabrics.
Track Closure vs Bend Location
- Always size the Zippertubing jacket at least 1/8 inch larger than the maximum cable diameter. If severe cable bending is anticipated, increasing jacket diameter beyond the 1/8 inch requirement is advisable.
- Always install Zippertubing jackets so that the track faces the outside of the bend radius. Failure to position the jacket in this manner may result in the track “popping open” due to track distortion
- If the design does not call for re-opening the jacket periodically, it may be desirable to seal the track closed using ZT-TAPE. You can view the sealing procedure here.
- The most common causes of tracks “popping open” are:
- Improperly closed track
- Incorrectly sized jacket, less than 1/8 inch oversize
- Track located other than on the outside of the bend radius
The SLD tool is an inexpensive plastic slider tool designed for closing Zippertubing D-Track-LT® products. It is primarily intended for use in low volume production line applications or field installations. The tool engages the external ears of the D-Track-LT® extrusion and snaps the interlock together as it is slid along the cable run.
This tool makes closing D-Track-LT fast and easy while minimizing operator fatigue. The tool is used after squeezing the two track halves together manually with your fingers at the jacket end. The tool is then slid along this short section of pre-closed track. As the tool is slid along the cable run, it will pre-form the jacket around the cable and form a closed continuous tube.
ZTD-SP PLIER - For us with long runs
The ZTD-SP tool is a Stainless Steel plier tool designed for closing Zippertubing D-Track-LT® products. It has two roller wheels which engage under the external ears of the D-Track-LT extrusion. Squeezing the handles drives the interlock mechanism together, as the operator pulls the tool along the cable the D-Track-LT jacket forms around the cable harness and is snapped together to form a continuous tube. This tool makes closing D-Track-LT® fast and easy while minimizing operator fatigue. The ZTD-SP tool is primarily intended for use in high volume production line installations where hundreds or thousands of feet of material require closing.
Both the “SLD” and “ZTD-SP” tools will pull the two edges of the D-Track-LT® jacket together for you, however, you will find that removing any “spool set” kinks or twists and bringing the two inter-lock edges into close proximity of one another will ease the installation process. An assistant prepping the D-Track-LT® tubing around the cable approximately 18-24 inches (0.5 meters) ahead of you will increase installation speed. If working alone, you can wrap a cable-tie loosely around the Zippertubing jacket and cable assembly to pre-form the jacket and bring the edges of the jacket close together. Slide the tie-wrap along as you close the jacket.
The ideal installation temperature for D-Track-LT® is above 60°F (15.5°C). D-Track-LT® consists of a very thick track section tappering out to a thin film material. As a result of this mass differential, the thicker material will tend to take the shape of the spool it was packaged on. This memory phenomena is aggravated by low temperature and can cause the material to coil and twist as it comes off a spool. If installations must be made at temperatures below 60°F (15.5°C) you will find that pre-warming the spools in an oven at 100°F (38°C) for approximately two hours will help minimize the spool set and make the material far more pliable. If you are working with shorter lengths at low temperatures you may want to warm the material with a hair dryer to minimize any spool set memory.
When using the “SLD” plastic slider tool on long assembly lengths a great deal of friction will occur. Lubricating the tool and track surface with a few drops of Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) periodically will reduce the tool friction and ease the closure process. Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) is a flammable liquid, so obtain approval from your Process Engineering Department before implementing any tool lubricant procedure.
Closing D-Track-LT® using the SLD Slider ToolStep 1: Wrap the end of the D-Track-LT® material around the cable to be covered. Use your thumb and the index finger of both hands to push the arrow into the mating channel cavity for a distance of about 1.0 inch (25mm) at the tubing end.
Step 2: Slide the “SLD” tool over the two external ridges of the preclosed section.
Work the “SLD” tool down the track about 1.0 inches (25mm).
Step 3: Grasp the closed end of the interlock using your thumb and index finger, then begin sliding the tool along the cable length by pulling the tool along using the thumb and index finger of your second hand. Once 6-8 inches (10-20 cm) of track have been closed you can grasp the entire cable/jacket assembly with your hand as you pull the tool along.
Closing D-Track-LT® using the ZTD-SP Plier Tool
Step 1: Wrap the end of the D-Track-LT material around the cable to be covered. Use your thumb and the index finger of both hands to push the arrow into the mating channel cavity for a distance of about 1.0 inch (25mm) at the tubing end.
Step 2: Allow the handles of the “ZTD-SP” tool to open and align the two roller wheels over the two external closure ridges. Squeeze the tool handles closed to engage the roller wheels with the ridges.
Step 3: Grasp the closed end of the D-Track-LT® interlock using your thumb and index finger, then begin pulling the “ZTD-SP” tool along the cable length. Once 6-8 inches (10-20 cm) of track have been closed you can grasp the entire cable assembly with your hand as you pull the tool along.
Sealing Zippertubing Extruded Tracks
All Zippertubing products that utilize extruded closure tracks (except type FEP) can be permanently sealed after closure using the following method. Under normal circumstances a properly closed Zippertubing track does not require post closure sealing. However, in some applications where an environmental or tamper proof seal is desired or extreme abuse is anticipated, the post sealing process can insure that the track does not re-open inadvertently.
This method involves placing a 1-inch wide strip of Zippertubing’s ZT-Tape down the center of the inter-locking track split line after the track has been closed. The ZT-Tape is a UL-510 recognized, fire retardant, Polyurethane film tape with an Acrylic adhesive backing. The adhesive is compatible with both PVC and PFR track materials and is easily applied. The tape sealing method provides additional closure strength, improves environmental tightness and is an environmentally friendly process.
CAUTION: The ZT-Tape is highly elastic and must be applied to the track in a relaxed condition. Stretching the tape during installation can result in disbonding of the film from the adhesive if the assembly is stored or shipped in a coiled or tightly bent condition.
Background: Zippertubing’s D-Track-LT® product was designed as a heavy-duty wire harnessing jacket system that provides ease of installation through the use of a side entry design combined with a highly flexible material and an extremely strong closure mechanism. The closure mechanism is designed to provide high closure strength (35 lbs/in typical), yielding a jacket that remains closed in service and maintains a system free from outside contamination.
Opening a Fully Closed Jacket
Step 1: If re-entry is required after the entire D-Track-LT® jacket has been fully closed then the re-opening process should begin at the end of the tubing. Follow the steps shown below to separate the track interlock mechanism and then peel the track apart as necessary to gain access.
Step 3: Hold the tubing assembly so it will not move. Continue holding pressure on the screwdriver so it does not slip out of the interlock mechanism. Rotate the screwdriver to the vertical position. This will push the arrowhead barb out of the locking channel side. As the barb is released from the channel, remove the inward pressure on the screwdriver so as not to force the blade into the cables or hoses contained within the tubing jacket.
Step 4: Once the two halves of the track are separated, remove the screwdriver, grasp the two track halves with you thumb and index fingers and pull the two halves apart approximately one inch.
Step 5: With the track separated, reposition you thumb and index fingers to grasp a larger amount of the tubing on each side of the track. Continue to separate the tubing into a flat sheet as required.