Types of Crimpers – Buyer’s Guide
The Art of Crimping
The word crimping means to join two pieces of metal or other material together by deforming one or both of them to hold the other. The deformity made is called the crimp. Tools designed exclusively for this crimping is termed as crimpers. Crimpers that are also known as crimping pliers are available in a number of sizes and designs, as per varying demands. While selecting a proper crimper, one needs to be thoughtful about the differences in function and purpose of each crimper.
Applications that require crimping include coax cable connector assemblies, bullets and wired mesh connections. A crimper when used correctly will make a cold weld between the wire and the barrel of the connector. Using the wrong tool would not achieve one a good crimp. The differences in crimpers include the sizes of the crimping jaws, the hand grip, the material of the crimpers and the pressure capabilities. Some crimpers are multipurpose tools that have extra features such as cutters and wire shredders. Hydraulic Crimps also exist for those who perform many crimps regularly.
Crimping to Wires
Since many crimping activities mainly involve the crimping of metal connectors to wires, crimpers are usually rated on the basis of the American Wire Gauge. It is a rating of standardized wire diameters used to determine wire sizes. Higher the wire rating smaller is the wire diameter. Crimpers designed with a unique crimped shape are called “died crimpers”, since they use pre-determined die sizes in their jaws. Crimpers are often designed for a range of different wire sizes, encompassing four to eight different sizes to make the crimper more applicable to various projects. One must find a crimper that handles the appropriate wire gauges.
Handheld crimpers are the most common and it is important to find crimpers with soft handles since the work demands heavy crimping operations and a lot of pressure to be exerted. Plastic crimper handles are fine for lower level operations involving softer metals. Spring loaded crimpers are only necessary for crimping operations that are numerous in number as the spring is designed to speed up performance.
Extra Pressure for Crimping Applications
For jobs that require a lot of pressure and precision, a ratchet crimper is the most suited. The ratchet allows the jaws of the crimper to be placed with more accuracy and limits any kind of errors from the workers side while compressing the teeth. Data communication operations usually require a ratchet crimper since these operations normally involve the crimping of a connector across a number of wires rather than a single wire. For single-wire crimping jobs, a standard crimp joint is perfectly fine. A hydraulic crimper only needs to be seen if the working load is beyond the capacity of one or two workers. A hydraulic crimper eases the repeating action of crimping and acts as a press to crimp quickly, effectively and mechanically with minimum human effort. These hydraulic crimpers are either hand-hydraulic or remote hydraulic. They are substantially more expensive than manual crimpers as well.
Alternative Crimper Styles
Alternative Crimper styles include that of hammer style crimpers which resembles a microscope stand. These crimpers are much more durable than hand-held crimpers because they can exert much more pressure, and as such are not recommended for small, delicate jobs, because they can break substrates.
Of late, many industry professionals have started observing the trend towards specialized crimping tools simply because of the quality of a single dedicated tool over a multipurpose tool.