Cable stripping – quick, easy and safe

The best tips for efficient conductor cutting
In order to be able to manufacture secure connections, it is particularly important to ensure a smooth and straight cut that will not deform or damage the conductor when processing conductors. Every user will indeed have his or her own favourite technique to wire strip conductors. However, in principal, there is a distinction to be made between two cutting techniques, namely shearing and pinching, also known as tapered cutting. Both techniques are in accordance with DIN 8588.

When shearing, the cable is split through two cutters moving past each other. This technique is used in particular when wire stripping cables, wires and conductors made of copper and aluminium. Premium quality wire stripping tools are fitted with an integrated cutting unit that has been specifically adapted for these materials. This allows you to cut the material efficiently with little force that is also gentle on the tool being used.

However, pinching is well suited if you are severing hard metals. This technique involves pushing apart and separating the cable through one or two wedge-shaped cutters.

The following point applies to both cutting techniques: in order to ensure you can work quickly and safely, the cutting unit should be adapted in the most ergonomic way.

These risks can be countered by choosing modern tools that cater for specific requirements. These tools adapt automatically to the respective cross-section and insulation thickness, thus enabling optimum stripping of the cable. In cases where the insulation is extremely thick or very thin, special pliers have also been developed that have the automatic self-setting as well as the option to manually adjust the cross-section. This ensures maximum safety in all eventualities and caters for all requirements. However, if the insulation is extremely thick, it is recommended you perform a wire stripping test on a sample cable.
Automatic self-setting instead of fixed blade
As has been the case previously, cable knives with fixed blades are used in practical applications. However, generally speaking, you should still keep your distance for safety reasons when using these knives as the risk of injury is significant. Cable insulation strippers or even cable knives with adjusting screws are frequently used as an alternative – but these cutting tools also have significant disadvantages. Given that the cross-section of cables and conductors cannot be physically measured, but is instead calculated and determined via the conductivity value, the stranded wires are often separated and the cross-section is reduced during wire stripping. This can result in contact resistances and, in the worst case scenario, cable fires.
Unnecessary and risky: shortening protruding stranded wires
During processing, the wire stripping of a cable often turns out to be more cumbersome than it actually needs to be. Once the stranded wires have been wire stripped and a cable end sleeve has been attached and crimped, the next step involves subsequently shortening any protruding stranded wires. Cutting processes such as these that are carried out afterwards are not only unnecessary, but also dangerous. There is the risk during control cabinet construction, for example, that some of the stranded wires will get into the existing switches and cause a short circuit.

It is therefore recommended that you use automatic wire stripping tools that have stripping length configuration settings. The best option is a combination of adjustable length stop and a scale that depicts both metric dimensions as well as inch dimensioning for AWG cable types (American Wire Gauge). A major benefit relates to the fact that the stop ensures a uniform wire stripping length at all times.

In order to ensure that the best possible results can be achieved, the length to be wire stripped should always be the sleeve length plus 2 mm. If the cable is inserted into the sleeve, ideally there should only be up to 0.05 mm protruding from the sleeve shaft. For twin cable end sleeves, the length to be wire stripped is always the sleeve length plus 3 mm – the reason behind this is the insertion funnel.

Standard push-in clamps have a clamping mechanism that is relatively far away from the insertion funnel. The best results are achieved here if cable end sleeves with a larger sleeve length are used. As an example, cable end sleeves with 8 mm sleeve length are used for screw-type clamping units with a cross-section of 1.5 mm². It is essential that you observe the manufacturer information in detail for push-in clamps. It is highly recommend that a greater length is chosen for safety reasons. In other words, if the cross-section is 1.5 mm² then a sleeve length between 10 mm and 12 mm is the best option.
Tools to cater for complex requirements and a high level of user-friendliness
Application-specific cables with high insulation requirements are used in all kinds of areas. As an example, the shipping industry with its international approvals places high demands on cables and conductors – conductors that are free of halogens have long been the standard in control cabinet construction and plant engineering. Insulation materials made from PE or TPE are frequently used in order to ensure excellent insulation properties are achievable with these requirements.

Proper wire stripping can be a real challenges if there is a variety of material properties, ranging from soft to tough and brittle. The correct choice of tool is therefore even more important in order to enable the insulation to be removed properly. Klauke’s wire stripping tools are equipped with innovative blade properties and special blade geometrics. The 43/2V and K43/2U wire stripping tools are designed for cross-section ranges of between 0.08 mm2 and 16 mm2 and are also able to wire strip insulation materials in an efficient and tidy manner. Even jacket materials made from silicon and rigid insulation, such as the insulation found in UL-specific cable types, are easy to process using Klauke wire stripping tools.

In cases where only PVC or PVC-like materials are used, Klauke sells the professional K43/3 wire stripping tool with an extreme cross-section are of between 0.08 mm² and 16 mm².

A good wire stripping tool should be efficient and safe, but should also be ergonomic, in particular. Given that every single gram counts for users in order to be able to work diligently without any issues, a low weight is of particular importance for tools. Several hundred wire stripping cycles a day are by no means a rarity in control cabinet construction and mechanical engineering – something that puts real strain on your hand and arm muscles. Klauke wire stripping tools like the K43/2V and K43/2U are characterised by their special ergonomics. Weighing just 140 grams, they ensure that users can work continuously and with a high level of comfort too.
Quality is a crucial factor when choosing a tool
In order to be able to strip wires in a safe way, you should pay particular attention that you choose the right wire stripping tool. In any case, it is important that the tools are of high quality and meet the essential requirements in terms of flexibility, safety and user comfort – good wire stripping is essential to secure and long-lasting connections.

Klauke wire stripping tools:

 > For insulation made from PVC and conductors free of halogens: K43/3 & K43/2
 > For insulation made from PVC, specially insulated and extreme Conductor: K43/2V & K43/2U