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Crimping – a permanent reliable connection

Consistent quality control for contact processing
Anselm Hackbarth
Anselm Hackbarth
Team Leader Crimp-Service, HARTING Electric GmbH & Co. KG
Crimping Machine

A clean transition between conductor and contact is critical to the quality of an electrical connection. There are several ways to test the quality of this transition. The latest version of the TK-M crimping machine – the only machine capable of handling the entire bandwidth of HARTING crimp contacts – offers complete, automatic quality control after only a few trial crimps.

HARTING offers its customers the world's largest portfolio of connectors for industrial use. HARTING also has the right connection technology for every application. Depending on the user’s requirements, a multitude of solutions are available, ranging from tool-less connection technology for contact and conductor (Han ES Press) to screw-in and crimping technology, which shows its strengths in mass production. HARTING supplies efficient processing solutions in line with the respective connection technology. Depending on the goal, the spectrum ranges from "easy to manage with existing tools" to "fast, suitable for large quantities and for mass production.”

Tool finds the right connection technology

The options in connection and processing technology have become so diverse that HARTING has introduced a tool that can advise customers in their search for the right connection technology and the right tool. In addition to factoring in the scope and duration of the project, information on the type of production site and commercial conditions (labour costs, etc.) is also taken into account. The tool develops a recommendation that combines connection and processing technology in the way most cost-effective for the customer. HARTING continuously develops its range of processing tools in order to be able to offer customers ever more efficient solutions.

Real-time quality monitoring for crimping

The premium model for processing turned crimp contacts in high volumes is the TK-M. HARTING has further optimised quality assurance in the current version of the machine. The fully automatic machine achieves high processing speed with high reliability thanks to real-time quality monitoring, and the entire portfolio of turned HARTING crimp contacts can be processed on this machine. The "new" TK-M reduces the overall potential for error during crimping processing. Both system-related errors and quality-reducing human influence can be detected and eliminated in real time. As a result, this does away with the hitherto usual random-sample quality inspection, which interrupts the production process and in the event of disaster can lead to the loss of entire batches.

The fully automatic TK-M constantly monitors crimping quality. After ten trial crimps, the TK-M typically recognises deviations in cables and contacts from the selected standard. A response is triggered depending on the error pattern. The system can identify the errors that have arisen. Depending on the type of error, the operator may now have to check different parameters, e.g. whether an incorrect contact type (Ø 1mm² instead of Ø 1.5mm²) was used by mistake or whether the machine locks up because of a system error until it is acknowledged that the "target pairing" is available again. If some strands in a contact are missing, the user is advised to remove the respective contact from production. Once this non-system error is corrected, the machine can continue production.

The cited intelligent features of crimp quality monitoring mean the TK-M can be ideally integrated into the quality and monitoring processes of the user’s production process. Monitoring must e.g. adjust itself to different changeover units, crimping dies of various sizes and special tools for specific cable types. Since the multitude of different influencing factors would make programming a complex task, a learning system supports programming by means of fixed algorithms. This determines the crimp parameters after a few trial runs and corrects itself as processing subsequently continues.

Standards and regulations for crimping

DIN EN 60352-2: Solderless connections - Part 2: Crimp connections - General requirements, test methods and practical guidance.
DIN EN 2242: Testing tools for crimping electrical conductors.
MIL-DTL-22520 (replaced by SAE-AS-22520): Crimping Tools, Wire Termination, General Specific
ECSS-Q-ST-70-26C (previously: ECSS-Q-70-26A ESA PSS-01-726): Crimping of high-reliability Electrical Connections, as well as WHMA/IPC-A-620: Requirements & Acceptance for Cable & Wire Harness Assemblies.

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