Three Cable Manufacturing Methods
There are several methods to protect cables from rodent damage ultimately discouraging rodents from chewing on the outer surfaces of a cable assembly jacket. Those methods include surrounding the cable with a physical barrier, the use of lethal toxins (poisons), the use of repellants, or the use of non-lethal chemicals.
Armored Cable Assemblies
Physical barriers consist of conduits and armoring tapes. These barriers are typically designed to prevent a rodent from gnawing on a cable by either increasing the diameter of the cable to a point where the rodent cannot get their jaws around the barrier to effectively chew the barrier or in the case of a steel armor tape being stronger than the rodents teeth and not allowing penetration into the core of the cable underneath it. Issues with physical barriers are the increased weight, diameter, and stiffness that make installation difficult if not impossible. The increased costs associated with additional material and labor to install/apply the physical barrier and the sharp edges associated with steel armor, can impair the safety of the people installing and working with the cable.
Non-Lethal Chemicals (Recommended)
The most effective method of controlling and preventing rodent damage of a cable assembly is through the use of repellants. Repellants consist of techniques such as the use of non-lethal chemicals.
The repellant package is added to the outer sheath of the cable when it is being extruded and offer long lasting effectiveness due to the controlled release of the active ingredients, with an expected release life of 10-15 years. The ingredients, such as capsaicin, cause the sheath to have a hot/spicy/bitter taste which discourages the rodent from gnawing on the cable. The smelling sense of rodents is superior to humans so the repellant package also includes chemicals that give off an unattractive odor, not detectable to humans. The combination of taste and smell is unpleasant but is nonlethal to the rodent.
Lethal toxins or poisons are meant to be ingested by the rodent causing death. From an environmental aspect, the use of poisons is highly discouraged. Poisons are hazardous to children and pets that may accidentally ingest the poison. Other effects of poisons are secondary effects caused by animals who consume the poisoned carcasses which will prove to be toxic to the consuming animal. The use of poisons in highly discouraged in any application.