Archive for Etco

Components and Processing Solutions for Large Cable Wire Processing.

Wire comes in a multitude of sizes and configurations and is used in a vast number of electrical and electronic devices and assemblies.  In recent years, efforts to reduce overall weight of a wire harness mean smaller wire gauges and thinner wire insulation are being used.   At the same time electrical demands of some products have increased the requirement for larger cable, able to handle a higher current load.  The automotive industry is a prime example of the demands to address both ranges; smaller to bring weight down for more fuel efficiency and larger for emerging applications such as electric car batteries and hybrid fuel cells.

This article will focus on processes and components used in assemblies with large cables.

Defining Large Cable Processing.
For the purposes of this article, we will discuss processing (cut, jacket strip and wire end process assembly) on wire 6 awg and larger. Also multi-conductor cables with individual insulated wires encased in an outer insulation jacket or sheath. In general, as the wire size increases, the production volume decreases.  Production volumes typically dictate whether single or multi stage processing solutions are deployed.  We will outline single and multi stage processing solutions.

Single Processing Tools

Processing tools that perform a single function.

Wire Cut

The Wezag SH Series Hand cutter series features a ratchet action and can cut wire up to 350 mm in diameter.

The Model 31 from Carpenter Mfg is a lever style wire cutter designed to cut wire and other materials.  Featuring a guillotine blade, and adjustable wire guides, the model 31 can cut material 1″ in diameter and 4″ wide.  Wire up to 0 awg can be cut and (material dependent) up to 2/0.

Wire Strip

The Carpenter 72C is a dual blade rotary wire stripper.  The 72C processes a wide range of single and multi-conductor wire.  Quick change wire guides center the wire for nick free processing.

The Carpenter 77E wire stripper is a pneumatic heavy cable wire stripper.  The large wire grippers provide high pulling power for tightly bound insulation and large cross sections.  The 77E uses fully adjustable V blades and quick change wire guides for accurate and repeatable processing.  Form blades can also be used where V blades do not provide the desired results.

The Beri.Co.Megamax is a heavy duty programmable wire stripper capable of multi-stage precision wire stripping for cable up to 25.00 mm wire diameter. The Megamax can process large OD coaxial wire. The Megamax is one of three high capacity multi-stage wire strippers available through our partner Schaefer Megomat.

Wire Crimp

UP60Wire Process Specialties supplies crimp technology for loose and reel fed contacts.  The WDT (Wezag) UP60 shown at the left is a pneumatically activated crimping press that can crimp large terminals such as battery lugs up to 180 square mm.  Interchangeable adaptors with a wide range of die sets provide maximum flexibility.

Multi-Stage Wire Processing

Process machines that perform more than one function during a single machine cycle.


The Compu-Cut 42B is a heavy duty wire and tubing cutter with a 4″ wide blade and 1″ opening.  Flat cable and tubing as well as round wire and multi-conductor cable can be processed using the 42B.  Add additional wire separators and multiple rows of material can be processed to maximize production quantities.  The cutter head is pneumatically operated and the feed unit is electrically motor driven for accurate cut lengths.

The Compu-Cut 36A is an additional option for cutting heavy duty wire. With a special guided blade holder and a standard utility knife blade, the 36A makes precision cuts on large gauge wire as well as semi ridgid tube.

Terminals and Connectors

ETCO is a supplier of terminals and connectors.  ETCO has two manufacturing facilities in the USA for processing reel fed and loose piece heavy duty terminals.  ETCO terminals are manufactured to exacting quality requirements using state of the art fabricating equipment.

 The connector at left is a top post battery terminal.  This is one of many terminal styles for heavy cable and power cords.  ETCO can also supply custom fabricated connectors to your design.

Special Processes

The Judco FLG2 processes heat shrinkable tube around large cable, battery lugs or other connector systems.  The FLG2 is energy efficient and shrinks tube fast with low cost quartz halogen bulbs and mirrors to focus light energy around the material being processed.

These are a few solutions for processing wire and cable harnesses available from Wire Process Specialties, your authority in wire processing, connectors and terminal crimp technology.  Connect Your Way to WPS to see how we can help your company reduce cost and improve the efficiency of your wire assembly processes.

ETCO at 70. Our Story

This year (2017) marks the 70th anniversary of ETCO Inc., our first Global Technology Partner. A partnership that spans three generations on the ETCO side, two with WPS. If you have not read our interview with John Stiness, VP of Sales, it can be found here. In recognition of this event, I thought it would be appropriate to document our journey with ETCO though more than half of the 70 years ETCO has been around.

Our connection with ETCO began several years before WPS even existed. The founder of WPS Jim Curtis, started working with the previous ETCO representative in 1973. During those years, Jim spent a considerable amount of time working with existing ETCO accounts and developing new relationships.

In 1978, Jim formed James Curtis and Associates (JC&A) and the Wire Process Specialties name was born. JC&A was awarded the representation of ETCO in Canada (known at the time as Electric Terminal Corporation).

From this time through to 1992, JC&A and ETCO built up a local Canadian division to manufacture and distribute terminals. In 1982, our first stamping press was delivered and we commenced producing terminals. For the next 10 years, we jointly grew our customers and supply of terminals across the country using our manufacturing and distribution system. A number of those customers still exist today and continue to purchase items that we produced back then.

In 1992, with new trade agreements between countries still fresh and the reality of tariff elimination in the future, the local division was consolidated into other ETCO divisions. But the relationship between WPS and ETCO continued. From the early 90’s until 2006, WPS grew the WireProcess brand name, adding complimentary lines but with ETCO as one of the flagship relationships.

In 2006, the mantle was passed to me (Terry Curtis) and I took on the responsibility to manage the relationships that have grown over the previous three decades. With solid mentor-ship built up over 25 years of service and a vision for the next stage of the company, I took on this responsibility knowing the challenges behind us and preparing for those before us. And with a resolve to see the company evolve as business conditions changed.

Some years were hard and challenges were tough to face and get through. But with every situation we encountered, the company grew stronger and I am anticipating the next stage in WPS’ journey.

With ETCO into it’s third generation and WPS into it’s second, I pause to recognize the relationships built up over these years. Solid working relationships and friendships that stand the test of time. I also remember those associates, friends that have passed on. Their legacy within ETCO are part of the building blocks of where the company is today.

So to ETCO I say Happy 70th Anniversary. I am proud to be called an ETCO representative. I believe we are always stronger when relationships run deep. In ETCO’s case and by extension our other partners, our solid business relationships mean our customers get the best of all of us. And that is a solid win for everyone.

Connect Your Way with WPS to start a dialog on your terminal requirements.

Terry Curtis

President,  WireProcess Specialties a division of TJ Curtis Technologies Inc.

Global Technology Partners in Focus: ETCO Inc.



ETCO Incorporated has been a Global Technology Partner with WPS for almost four decades. Both companies share something in common, they are both multi generation companies, ETCO in its third and WPS in its second. We have had a long and successful relationship between businesses but it also extends to personal connections built up over the years.  It is only right that we begin our interview series with the relationship that started it all.

I am pleased to introduce John Stiness. John is the Vice President of Sales for ETCO. WPS has asked John to provide an overview of ETCO to our readership.

Terry Curtis and John Stiness (ETCO). Primo XLT with ETCO Closed Back Flag.

Terry Curtis (WPS) and John Stiness (ETCO). 

WPS: John, tell us a little about yourself and your years of service to ETCO.

JS: I started with ETCO 28 years ago as their Inside Sales Manager for the Engineered Products division in Warwick, RI.  In 1994 I was named Vice President of Sales.  Eight years ago I moved to Bradenton, Florida and took over responsibility for all ETCO sales. I been married for 32 years and recently became a grandfather for the first time.

WPS: Describe the scope of products that ETCO supplies.

JS: ETCO provides a wide variety of stamped metal and rubber products typically used in crimping and connecting to wires. These products are often valued added in manufacturing process with insulators, clips, laser welds and other cost saving features.  ETCO also produces and services wire termination equipment.


WPS: ETCO has multiple campuses to serve its international customers. Can you describe these locations.

JS: ETCO has an international presence with distributors in the UK, Poland, Russia, China and Mexico. This reduces our lead times and lowers transportation costs for our customers.

WPS: Can you outline a specialty of ETCO that defines ETCO

JS: If I had to narrow down the one specific area of specialization that ETCO offers, it would be the in-house capability to produce custom metal stampings and then integrated these seamlessly with our customers manufacturing process by providing unique application equipment.


WPS: Do you think this helps ETCO In other areas of service to its customers.

JS: This comprehensive, one stop approach allows our customers streamlining of design, manufacturing and automation.

WPS: Today’s business environment requires stringent quality systems to assure customers receive the right part and on time. Can you describe the ETCO culture of quality?

JS: ETCO’s quality is driven by the commitment of the owner to the four absolutes of Quality: Conformance to requirements, prevention, zero defects and measurements.

 WPS: You have been part of the ETCO team for 28 years. That is a significant amount of time with this organization. Is this level of tenure with ETCO unique or is it also part of the company culture?

JS: My long tenure is nothing unique for ETCO. It’s a great place to work

WPS: Customer support from the factory side is very important to ensuring good flow of product and two way communication. ETCO has a group of experienced sales representatives supplying local support to its customers. John tell us how a local connection to the ETCO customer base is important to the overall company goal of serving its customers.

JS: Our manufacturers Reps have an intimate knowledge of their customers’ needs and expectations. ETCO leverages this experience to provide our customers with cradle to grave support.

WPS: Finally, companies who stand still tend to get trampled by those running past them. How is ETCO looking towards the future in product development and research?

JS: ETCO has a dedicated team in Research and Development looking into new products and processes. With innovations in design and manufacturing our customers are assured of having the cutting edge technology and cost saving improvements.


John, WPS greatly values the relationship we have built up for close to four decades. We are grateful to be part of the ETCO team in serving our customers. Thank you for your time today.

For more information on ETCO Incorporated, please visit Connect Your Way to WireProcess Specialties for the solutions provider you need to power your wire assembly processes.

Terminal Crimping Technology

Crimping terminals is a common wire assembly process dating back several decades.  Over the years processing methods and procedures were established and improved to assure optimum crimp quality and electrical conductivity of the wire to terminal connection.  This article will cover the common crimp types, crimp methods used to provide a quality wire to terminal connection and migration path from manual processing to automation of the crimp process.

Crimp Types

Closed Barrel: Closed barrel terminals have a round crimp barrel that surrounds the wire being crimped.  There are two typical open barrel configurations, formed by progressive stamping process with a seam where the two sides come together and form a circle and solid machines connector where the crimp barrel is seamless, normally produced on a screw machine. Closed barrel terminals come insulated or non-insulated and are in loose form or on a reel. Examples of closed barrel terminals include rings, quick connects, ferrules and solid pins used in aerospace applications.

Open Barrel: Open barrel terminals are generally U shaped prior to crimping and are crimped around the terminal in a B shape or overlapped.  Open barrel terminals are generally available mounted on a reel but in some cases are available in loose form for lower volume processing. In addition to a barrel for the wire, some open barrel terminals include an insulation support for applications for additional strain relief (from vibration or wire movement).  Open barrel terminals normally are un-insulated but in some cases have a partially loaded insulator pod which is inserted over the terminal during the crimp process.


An example of this terminal type is the ETCO pre-insulated terminal series.


Crimping Methods

Wezag Crimp Tool 1Hand Tools: A hand tool is used in low volume or prototype crimp applications. Tooling in a hand tool can be fixed and non-removable from the hand tool frame or can be removable. Crimp dies are available for open barrel and closed barrel terminals  A reliable method of crimping wire to terminals with good repeatability.  As volumes increase, repeated processing of terminals with hand tools can cause strain on an operator.

Bench Top Crimping: Crimping terminals with bench top crimping equipment provides moderate volume processing of loose piece and reel mounted terminals.

Wezag CS 200With loose piece terminals, the terminal and wire are hand loaded to a crimp nest and the operator cycles the press using a foot pedal or palm button.


Wezag CS200                                                          Carpenter Accu-Crimp 62

applicators2Reel mounted terminals are processed using a crimp press and applicator.  The applicator has a mechanical or pneumatic feed which positions the terminal on the crimp anvil.  The operator presses a foot pedal and the crimp press cycles, forming the terminal over the wire and advancing the next terminal for further processing.  A wide range of applications can be processed with bench top crimping equipment by the utilization of different press tonnages and applicators/die sets (fixed and quick change).

Automated Crimp Processing: Automated processing adds a wire cut and strip element to the crimp process.  The most basic form is the stripper-crimper which adds a wire stripping unit to a bench crimp press to strip the end of the wire and presenting the wire to the crimp nest for crimping.

Automated crimp centers process the wire from its source in a barrel or reel, cut and strip the wire to length and present it to a crimp press for crimping.  Reel fed applicators are the same as the bench top type.  In the case of loose piece terminals, a vibratory bowl is used to orient the terminals and present to the crimp press for crimp processing.

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An example of an automated processing crimp center is the Megomat Primo XLT .

Manual to Automated Crimp, a Migration Path

As volumes increase, the need to automated also increases.  On occasion, the increase is dramatic, requiring a greater step through the automation migration path.  But normally the increase is controlled and slower so migration can take a multi step approach over time.

Hand Tool to Bench Top Migration: Migrating from a hand tool to power assisted bench top crimping requires a bench top crimping platform like the Accu-Crimp 62 or electric powered CS200 from Wezag Tools (both pictured above).

Wezag UP60

Heavy Duty Applications use higher tonnage to provide the power needed toprocess large terminals.  The Wezag UP60 is pneumatic powered and provides over 7 tons of crimp force.

Non-Fixed hand tool die sets may be removed and compatible with bench top crimping units.  This reduces the overall cost of the migration from hand tools to powered bench top equipment.

Bench Top to Automated Process Migration: Migrating from a bench top to automated processing machine like the Primo XLT or Uno multi-station machines is simple and straightforward.  Mini style applicators used in a bench press application as pictured above can be mounted directly from a bench top press to the press on the automation system.  Some applications require a different feed cam to feed the terminal on the press downstroke to allow for the robotic arm to swing into position with no interference from the terminal.

However, in the case of loose piece terminals, separate presses with integrated vibratory bowl fed systems may be required as they are not a standard set up on an automated machine.

Loose Piece to Reel Mounted terminal Migration: Converting from loose piece processing to reel fed terminals requires a crimp press and applicator as described above.  The first step is determining the compatible terminal on reel equivalent. If a quick change mini applicator can be used, then the crimp press can be quickly changed from one terminal type to another simply by switching out the terminal applicator.

Crimp Process Validation and Control

Assuring an adequate quality and repeatable crimp and crimp process is common among all crimping methods. Non Destructive and Destructive crimp testing is used as pre-process and in-process validation methods.  For more information on crimp quality process and validation, please refer to our three part series which can be found on our News Channel: Part One (crimp validation), Part Two (In Process Crimp Monitoring) and Part Three (Machine Process Capability and Calibration).

Wire Process Specialties has over 30 years of experience in processing of wire and cable including crimp technology.  Connect Your Way to WPS.  Our vision is to help our customers reduce processing costs and increase production efficiency.

Etco Insulated Quick-Connects and New Innovations

Wire Process Specialties has a deep and rich history with Etco Incorporated spanning more than 30 years.  Etco is a manufacturer of high quality terminal stampings in reel form for attachment by automatic crimp dies.  Our customers appreciate the consistency in people and company operating philosophy.  Etco is privately owned and operated with two facilities, the corporate office, R&D and Manufacturing in Bradenton Florida and an engineering and manufacturing facility in Warwick Rhode Island.

In the late 1980’s the need for a high performance insulated quick connector was established. A connector which has superior crimping and insulating characteristics and can be applied in one stroke of a crimp applicator. Etco answered that challenge and the Etco Insulated terminal series was born.

The basic concept of the Etco Insulated terminal is a plastic insulator partly embedded over an open barrel quick connect.  The terminal is loaded into the applicator, the terminal is crimped on the downstroke of the press and the insulator is assembled over the terminal on the upstroke of the press. This connector assembly is a more reliable and better quality connector than the closed barrel insulated terminal alternate.

The Etco applicator is a mini style which can be mounted into most crimp presses semi-automated using an operator to present the wire, or fully automatic on a swing arm style wire process machine like the Schaefer Megomat Uno.  The applicator uses a  mechanical feed system for simple but accurate terminal feeding.  The insulator is inserted over the crimped terminal using an air cylinder which is activated on the applicator upstroke.


The Etco Insulated terminal series includes in line female quick connects from 1/8″ to 1/4″ width.  Interlocking 1/4″ males are available to mate with the Etco female quick connects. The Etco catalogue can be found on the Etco page of


 New Product Introduction – the Etco Fully Insulated Flag Quick Connect

 A CSA and UL recognized flag quick connect has been part of the Etco product line for many years.  The back of the terminal was open due to the terminal construction but approved by the product safety standards. New UL standards are being published which include a tighter requirement to fully enclose the metal contact.

Etco has recently introduced a back to the flag terminal to make the Etco Flag series the first in the market to meet the new UL standard.


 The back of the Etco flag is assembled onto the crimped terminal by an external assembly machine.  The terminal is presented into the assembly machine and activated. The terminal back is inserted into apertures in the terminal housing.

To view the advertisement from Etco on the new terminal, click here.



Etco, another valued Global Technology Partner shows how Wire Process Specialties can fully supply your wire processing needs. Connect Your Way to Wire Process Specialties to let us help you solve your wire processing challenges.