Know the Difference
Imitation REELEX packaging can knot, tangle, cause cable damage
and is one of your first indications of non-compliant and counterfeit cables.
The difference is in the coil
Knockoffs mean knots
The key to the REELEX coil is unique machine programming which results in a perfectly formed figure-eight coil with a clear, controlled payout hole.
This payout hole separates each half of the figure-eight and must be properly placed to provide tangle and twist-free payout.
Knockoff REELEX machines do not make clear, precise payout holes in the coil like REELEX machines do.
This means that at some point during payout, a knot is likely to occur. This is because with imitation coils, there is high likelihood that at least one (or many more) loops in the figure-eight can be on the wrong side of the hole. The result is multiple loops and twists in a row, or worse: a knot.
Good Cable vs Bad Cable
Imitation REELEX packaging is one of the first indicators of non-compliant or counterfeit cable
As is well-documented by the Communications Cable and Connectivity Association, and elsewhere in the wire and cable industry, non-compliant, low-quality and counterfeit cables pose a threat to safety, connectivity performance, and installer liability.
At REELEX, we are well aware of the issue, as most non-compliant and counterfeit cable are packaged using knockoff REELEX machines by manufacturers that are not licensees. These imitation packages pose a threat to REELEX, as they mimic REELEX packages, but perform far worse and can even cause damage to the cable.
Look for the REELEX Logo on the package
The REELEX trademark is required by the license agreement to be printed on all packages containing REELEX technology. Every package made on a REELEX machine should have a REELEX mark located somewhere on the package. No logo? Think twice about installing that cable!
Over 100 of the worlds most trusted wire and cable manufacturers use REELEX technology. Like an “Intel Inside” logo, the REELEX trademark signifies that the coil inside is a genuine REELEX coil that will work as expected. Don’t see the REELEX logo? Check to make sure your cable is manufactured by a REELEX licensee. If it’s not, think twice about using it. The majority of non-compliant and counterfeit cables use knock-off REELEX packaging. It’s one of the first warning signs that the cable you’re installing may be problematic or even dangerous!
Learn to spot a REELEX knockoff
From the outside, it can be very difficult to tell genuine REELEX from an imitation.
The example at left shows a genuine REELEX II coil, and a knockoff coil with a “REELEX II” hole. In this case, the payout tube was actually forced into the coil to make it look like a REELEX II box. Needless to say, this package kinked and knotted almost immediately upon payout.
At right is a “typical” imitation package compared to a standard REELEX II box. Note the “scrambled” wind pattern and small payout tube.
Below are some warning signs that you may be using an imitation package and should think twice before trusting the cable.
1. No Clear Hole, “Scramble Wind”
Most knockoff REELEX machines are incapable of making a clear, precise payout hole in the coil. This means that at some point during payout, a knot is likely to occur. This is because with imitation coils, there is high likelihood that at least one (or many more) loops in the figure-eight can be on the wrong side of the hole.
The result is multiple loops and twists in a row, or worse: a knot. Knots often must require dismantling of the package in order to remedy, and often render the package unusable. Multiple twists in a row can cause product damage and tension to back up into the coil – leading to kinks and tangles.
REELEX coils are precision-wound, and form a clear payout hole into the coil. This guarantees that every layer is a figure-eight, and thus twist-free. The payout hole also ensures the payout will be tangle and twist-free 100% through the coil.
Knockoff coils have vague, forced or non-existent holes and are produced simply by having the traverse move faster than the spindle shaft. This essentially creates a “scramble wind“. The operator then forces a payout tube randomly into the coil. Not only is this coil not twist-free, but it is very likely to tangle or knot at some point during payout.
2. REELEX I (Small Tube) Use
While many geniune REELEX licensees are using REELEX I for data cables, the majority have switched to REELEX II for its better payout performance, improved box design, and gentler handling of LAN cables. Knockoff REELEX machines cannot produce REELEX II coils, as the payout hole (if any at all) cannot be made big enough. Geniune REELEX equipment can make any size payout hole in the coil, allowing REELEX II to be used easily.
Note: some substandard cable manufacturers have attempted to make REELEX II coils by physically opening up the coil (either by hand or by tool) and forcing a larger payout tube into the hole. This can be catastrophic not only to payout performance, but also puts excessive pressure on the cable itself – leading to cable damage and performance issues.
Most (but not all!) REELEX licensees have moved to REELEX II or EcoCore packaging for their structured cabling products. While not every manufacturer uses REELEX-branded payout tubes, any package using a payout tube larger than 1.50 to 2.00 inches in diameter (including EcoCore) is effectively using a REELEX II coil.
Imitation REELEX coils are incapable of making REELEX II coils. Thus, nearly all imitation coils are REELEX I knockoffs (small tube). That being said, some manufacturers have literally forced larger tubes into their coils, often rendering the packages unusable or causing significant damage to the cable.
3. An Unusually “Flat” Coil
REELEX machines use precise, mathematically-derived geometry in constructing the mandrel and endform shapes. These shapes are vital in producing precision-wound coils at high speed. They also have effects on tension within the coil, which in turn must be managed in order to have minimal effects on LAN cable electrical properties.
Note: The new S290 coiling machine featuring the G2 Traverse produces coils that have extremely flat, dense structures. However, coils produced by this machine have clearly defined payout holes and are typically small-diameter products such as building wire or alarm cables.
Imitation coils often use incorrect geometry when coiling on knockoff machines. While we at REELEX understand geometry is vital to proper coil formation, non-REELEX machines will often use incorrect mandrels and endform shapes in order to fit the product into a specific box size. This incorrect geometry can cause payout issues as well as damage to LAN cables.