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Which Package To Choose? Box Or Reel?

The criteria to decide LAN cable’s package type is usually affected by usage habits and environmental factors.

Which one is better, then?

Is using reel cable truly the best option? In this post, we will review the factors to consider while deciding on packing type based on three key criteria.

Interested? Let’s dive in!


1- Ease and Simplicity

  • An additional mechanism is absolutely necessary to unload the reeled cable. The cables inside the box can be pulled out as soon as you put the box down; no equipment needed and no preparation time!
  • Even when the cable is quickly pulled and released, the assembly continues to rotate and unload the cable until the friction force is zero. It is inconvenient to leave cables on the ground, especially in places where teams doing different jobs work together, such as construction sites.
  • Cables pulled from a reel attached to an assembly can become entangled when released, thus trapping the cable and damaging its conductors or jacket.

2- Safety and Ergonomics

  • When too much pulling force is applied, the reel on the assembly may fall on the ground causing conductors being damaged.
    Although this occurs seldom, the cables on the reel can be destroyed if the pallet falls over while transporting the goods to the field, because most cables packed with polyester tape are not impact-resistant.
    The cables contained within the box are properly protected.
  • Because a very minimal force is used to pull out the cable from the box, field employees expend little effort and job ergonomics are retained.
  • The carrying handles make it very simple to transport the boxed cables to the point where they will be pulled. Most reel cables weighing more than 20kg. are too heavy to carry in one hand.
    Furthermore, carrying heavy reels on one’s lap or by hand is prohibited in developed countries for worker health and safety reasons.

3- Economy

  • Most contracting companies believe that pulling LAN cables from 500 or 1000m. reels rather than 305m. boxes will decrease waste. Line lengths measured in the office using CAD programs and the actual situation in the field may differ and the waste of the box cable may be less!
  • And they also believe that using reel cable will save them money on labor. But the reality is much different! Utilizing boxed cables can result in a 30% reduction in overall labor expenses when taking into account setup time, pulling efficiency and speed when removing cable from the reel.
  • Packaging materials made of paper, such as cardboard, are easily recycled and have a high economic value. The recycling economic value of wooden reels is lower than paper and the cost of transportation to the recycling facility is higher. Wooden reels are often not recycled after being thrown away.
  • Since cardboard boxes can be folded, they occupy up to 80% less volume as waste packaging compared to reels. In addition, a cardboard box containing the same length of cable weighs up to 60% less than a reel.

When Is Using Reel Cable Beneficial?

  • In terms of warehousing space, reel cables take up up to 60% less volume. 50km. Cat.6 UTP cable, for example, occupies a volume of approximately 6.8 m3 when fitted in the 305m. box. The volume drops to 3.2 m3 and 2.6 m3 when rolled on 500 and 100m reels, respectively.
  • Because some cable manufacturers prefer to produce cables with jackets other than the primary colour on reels, obtaining modest quantities of alternative coloured LAN cables in box packaging may be problematic.
  • Some cable types have little practical or financial use when placed in the box.  The boxes can hold LAN cables with an outer diameter of up to 6.2 mm; thicker cables need to be reeled in. In general, the following cables can be packaged into a box; however, for exact classification, information must be requested from the cable manufacturer:
    • All Category 5e (unshielded and shielded)
    • Category 6 24# Unshielded
    • Category 6 23# Unshielded
    • Category 6 24# Shielded
  • The cost of transporting the same length of cable to the location on a wooden reel or in a cardboard box is about the same. Although the reel cable takes up less space, there is no reduction in transportation costs because the overall cable weight does not change. Regarding the quantity of stock units that must be stored, reel cable is more advantageous.


Selecting cardboard box packaging;

  • Increases working ergonomics
  • Protects the product against impacts
  • Reduces total labor time and costs
  • Contributes to economy via recycling
  • Creates lighter and space saving waste

Selecting reel packaging;

  • Reduces the space and volume required for storage
  • Allows more products to be stacked
  • Decreases the number of products (number of pieces) to be stored
  • Facilitates the supply of products in different colors
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