How to Cut, Strip and Insulation Displacement Crimp UL1007 20 AWG Wires

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This article will explain the process of cutting, stripping and insulation displacement crimping UL1007 20 AWG hookup wires into an AMP housing with an AMP IDC hand tool. Aside from the tooling, the wire and AMP housing are shown in the pictures below, and as you can see, the end without the stripped insulation will be the side that gets crimped into the housing on the left. As the term signifies, IDC, or Insulation Displacement Connector, displaces the insulation as it enters into the housing. In this case, the end with the semi-strip will not be attached or connected to anything.

Photo of an IDC AMP housing.

Photo of UL1007 20AWG hookup wire without stripping.

Photo of UL1007 20AWG hookeup wire stripped.

Cutting and Stripping the 20 AWG Wire

The wire will be cut and stripped on the wire processing machine, then sent to the assembler to crimp the wires into the housing. This wire is a style called UL1007 which UL tests, approves and designates to meet a rating of 300 volts and a temperature of 105°C in its application. The copper is comprised of 10 separate 30 AWG strands that are wound together to meet the diameter of 20 AWG, or 0.039” (copper thickness) and 0.071” (including insulation). Furthermore, the copper strands are coated with a layer of tin known as tinned copper strands. The end user will be able to remove the insulation from the semi-strip (right most image above) and solder easier than if it were bare copper. The layer of tin will slightly melt to adhere to the application and create a more secure overall connection.

Close up photo of 20AMP hookup wire being cut and stripped.

Photo of UL1007 20AWB hookup wire being cut and stripped.

Insulation Displacement Connector Crimping

As you can see in the short video, the wire is inserted through the tool and into the house. If you look close enough you can see the metal inside the house that will slice through the insulation and meet with the copper strands inside the wire. An electrical continuity test will be required to be sure there’s current flowing through the housing into the wire, and if the continuity test fails it simply means that the wire needs to be pushed further into the house to meet with the metal. Furthermore, it’s important that the wire isn’t pushed too far into the house of the metal will slice through the insulation and the copper strands which is also a nonconforming part. This careful calculation is determined by subtracting the diameter of 20 AWG copper (0.039”) twice (top and bottom) by the entire outer diameter of the wire (0.071”). In this case the tool should be set to push the wire down to 0.039”, then a few quality tests can be completed to be sure that the wire is right where it needs to be

Twisting the UL1007 20 AWG Wires Together to Limit EMI

Twisting the UL1007 20 AWG wires together is easy when you have the appropriate tooling. It’s like spinning the wires inside a drill, and the twisting machine has different settings for tighter or looser twists depending on the customer’s requirements. Tighter twists limit the circumference of the frequency traveling over the wires so that they don’t override into a wire within a few inches of it. As you can see in the image below, the wires are twisted neatly together in a consistent “twist-per-inch” format, which is how customer request tight and loose twists, by the inch.

Photo of twisted UL1007 20AWG hookup wire.

Quality is the Last Step Before Shipping

t’s important for companies to have a quality policy and procedure set up for everything they manufacture and ship to customers. Customers expect conformity and consistency when they order 1,000 wire harnesses from their vendor. ISO 9001 certified companies have a quality management system, quality processes, risk mitigation processes and corrective action processes to assure customers that they are on top of everything related to quality. Certified companies had data as proof that they are conforming to the processes that they claim they follow, and in general, it’s easy to see that these companies care about the quality of their products because they speak about it constantly.

First things first, complete a first article for the customer to review and approve. Next, build a clear bill-of-materials traveler package for the production department to use and follow. Third, require the assemblers and machine operators to sign their initials to each process they perform because it will promote the person to check their measurements and look for damaged or nonconforming parts before signing their name. These in-process checks are very important because it can be difficult to see the quality of each step at the end of the process. Many of the connections and solder joints are completely covered at the final quality check. If you’re in need of outsourcing wire harnesses or cable assemblies then be sure to look for a company that is ISO 9001 certified with a quality management system in place.