One item that I feel is widely under used by many techs in the field is the wire ferrule. Many people simply insert wire into terminal blocks and clamp down on the stranded wire which can strain and damage the wire. It is also hard on the wires if you ever need to remove the wire from the terminal block and move to another position in your cabinet.
These are situations in which the Wire Ferrule thrives.As you can see in the pictures above, Digi-Key stocks wire ferrules that are insulated and non-insulated. They also come in a variety of wire gauges and offer two wire types as well.
Once you have selected your ferrule the next item you will need to select is the crimping tool. Unlike contact crimping tools which are very specific ferrule crimp tools tend to be more generic and will work for a variety of ferrules and will work with a variety of manufacturers as well. The biggest difference you will see in the tools will be the shape of the crimp.
For example when you look at Molex tools WM16545-ND (Molex # 2002180600) and WM16544-ND (Molex # 2002180700) you will see that they are both side entry ratchet crimp tools that will work with ferrules from 8-26AWG.
The difference between these two is that the 2002180600 (Digi-Key WM16545-ND) is a 4 sided crimp and would create a box shape to the ferrule and the 2002180700 (Digi-Key WM16544-ND) is a 6 sided crimp and would create a Hex shape to the end of the ferrule. Both will do an excellent job with the wire ferrules, however if you know the terminal blocks you are using you can create a crimp that would work easily with your terminal block.
Say your board was using a Phoenix Contact block 1935161. As you can see from the picture below the wire entry is square. Using a stranded wire you will have to clamp down and you will need to smash the wire to get a secure hold in this block. By using a wire ferrule with a 4-sided crimp you will have an undamaged wire and nice flat surfaces for contact and securing your wire in the terminal block.
The same can be said looking at On Shore Technology part OSTTC022162 which you can see below has a round wire entry. Unfortunately the clamping portion is still flat and can cause a stranded wire to deform and become damaged. If you were to use a ferrule with a 6-sided crimp you would have a flat surface for clamping and multiple points of contact with the edge of the terminal block without damaging or putting extra strain on the wire.
In both of these instances the added bonus is that you would be able to remove the wire from the terminal block and easily move to another location on your board or in your control box without have to deal with flattened or damaged wire.
Note: The tool that you select may have a different crimping pattern. If you are needing a specific crimp please consult the manufacturer’s data sheet to ensure that you are getting the correct tool for your application.
If you have any questions on wire ferrules or crimping tool please post a reply to this post and our team of technicians and engineers are available to assist you.