Crimping Standards: The Key to Safe & Reliable Connections
When it comes to creating reliable connections between electrical conductors, crimping is a common method in various industries. However, not all crimping results are even or equal, and using the wrong crimping standards can lead to subpar performance or even safety hazards. In this quick introduction guide, we’ll explore the different Crimping Standards you need to know and adhere to, to ensure the best possible results. We’ll also answer Frequently Asked Questions, like What are Crimping Standards, why are the important, which are their types and how to follow them.
What is crimping and why is it important??
Crimping is a process of connecting and terminating wires or cables with cable lugs, connectors or terminals, using a specialized tool. This creates a secure and reliable electrical connection that can withstand mechanical stress and environmental factors.
It is essential for ensuring the safety and efficiency of electrical systems. Poorly crimped connections can lead to high resistance, which can cause overheating and even electrical fires. Following the investigations on the Grenfell Tower fire, experts it was a “faulty electrical connection that stated the blaze” – see BBC article for more info.
Finally, in other industries, inadequate crimping can lead to unreliable connections that can result in signal loss, data corruption, or other system failures.
What are Crimping Standards?
Crimping Standards are a set of guidelines that dictate the proper ways, techniques and tools for making crimped connections. They ensure that crimped connections are correct, consistent and meet specific performance criteria, regardless of the manufacturer or tool used.
They are developed by organizations such as BSI, IEC, UL, CSA, and SAE, among others, and are used by manufacturers, electricians, and other professionals in the electrical industry. In the UK, all Crimp Terminals must be tested and conform to IEC61238. Crimpers/ installers must adhere to installation standards BS7609 and BS7727.
Why are Crimping Standards important?
Crimping Standards are important for several reasons. First, they ensure that crimped connections are safe and reliable, which is critical for preventing electrical failures and hazards. Second, they provide a consistent method for making crimped connections, which improves efficiency and reduces the risk of errors. Additionally, crimping standards provide a basis for testing and evaluating crimped connections, which helps ensure that they meet specific performance criteria. That way, the installer can achieve crimping consistency and quality criteria, regardless of the manufacturer of the tool system he uses. Finally, using the right crimping standards can help to improve the longevity of electrical systems, which can save time and money in the long run.
Types of Crimping Standards
- IEC Standards: The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is a global organization that sets guidelines for crimped connectors. IEC standards cover a range of factors, including the conductor material, the crimp tool, and the testing procedures. IEC61238 applies to the electrical and mechanical properties of cable lugs. It details the requirements for a permanent and safe electrical connection for the intended application.
- BS Standards: British Standards Institution is UK’s national standards body of producing technical standards on a wide range of products. BS7609 & BS7727 are the codes of practice focusing on the installation and inspection of un-insulated and pre-insulated compression and mechanical terminals and connectors for power cables with Copper or Aluminium conductors. (Full article here: BS7609 & BS7727: British Standards for Crimping)
- UL Standards: Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a safety consulting and certification company, setting standards for crimping connectors, terminals, and splices. UL standards cover a wide range of factors, including the material used, the crimping tool, and the testing procedures.
- MIL-SPEC Standards: The military specification (MIL-SPEC) sets the standard for crimping in the military and aerospace industries. MIL-SPEC standards are very strict and require extensive testing to ensure that connections meet the necessary requirements.
- DIN Standards: The Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN) is a German standards organization that sets guidelines for crimping connectors. DIN standards cover a range of factors, including the conductor material, the crimping tool, and the testing procedures. DIN 46235 is a standard that defines the applications, dimensions and the designation of compression cable lugs. DIN 48083 includes codes of practice and dimensions for dies when used in pressure connections for hydraulical / mechanical presses.
- SAE Standards: The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) sets standards for crimping in the automotive industry. SAE standards cover a wide range of factors, including the conductor material, the crimping tool, and the testing procedures.
How to Follow Crimping Standards
To follow crimping standards, it’s important to use the right crimping components and techniques for the specific application. Even if it’s not always mentioned, it is essential to make sure all components used in Crimping (terminal, wire gauge, crimping die and crimping tool) are part of a system and come from the same manufacturer. Or at least that their testing took place together as a system. For more on this subject please read our article: A Crimping System is No Stronger than its Weakest Link.
Another important thing, is to ensure properly stripping and preparing the wire, before crimping. And also that there is a visual inspection of the crimped connection for defects. In addition to following them, it’s important to use quality materials (wires, tools, dies and connectors/ terminals) and to ensure that the crimped connection is safe and reliable. It’s also essential to test the crimped connection using methods such as pull testing, electrical testing, and visual inspection.
Good Crimping Practice Campaign
In conclusion, crimping standards are essential for ensuring safe, reliable, and high-performing crimped connections in the electrical industry. By following the right crimping ways and techniques, using quality components that are part of the same system, and testing crimped connections, electricians, manufacturers, and other professionals can ensure that their crimped connections meet specific performance criteria and are free from defects.
Sadly, this is not always the case and the lack of awareness and application of bad crimping techniques is widely encountered in the industry (See Article: Crimping: Common Mistakes & Good Practice). To tackle this and minimise any potential dangers due to crimping, E-Tech Components launched a “Good Crimping Practice” Campaign.
As part of this campaign, E-Tech Components are offering:
- Lunch and Learn Seminars covering different types of standards and good crimping practices
- Free Certified Training whenever you purchase one of our Elpress Crimping Tool Systems
- On-site Inspection and Assessment of companies’ current Crimping Systems and procedures
- Free Advice on how to ensure compliance to the standards