A PROFITABLE CONNECTION: WHY IT PAYS TO SWITCH FROM TERMINAL STRIPS

Brett Smyth from global electrical manufacturer, Ideal Industries, discusses the profit opportunity in encouraging a switch from terminal strips to lever or push-in connectors.

The old adage ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is a mantra many electrical contractors live by, continuing to use the tried and tested products and installation methods they’ve used for years because they do the job. There’s a lot to be said for familiarity; but there are also benefits to embracing new techniques that offer a faster, easier, safer and more consistent installation.

One seemingly small but hugely impactful switch that many electricians have already made is to convert from using terminal strips to using lever or push-in connectors. While the unit price of these connectors may be slightly more than terminal strips, the time savings they offer easily offset the minimal additional costs. What’s more, for many electrical professionals, the peace of mind that comes with knowing that connectors remove any inconsistency associated with the tightening of terminal strip screws also adds to that value-led rationale for selecting connectors.

Improving Installation Integrity

An installed cost purchasing strategy for delivering consistently safe and high quality installations by using lever or push-in connectors doesn’t only benefit contractors: it also delivers quality assurance for the completed installation. 

Firstly, it ensures that installations are consistently safe and compliant with current wiring regulations. The 18th Edition requires that traditional terminal strip connections should be accessible for annual inspections in compliance with BS EN 60670-22 which makes it difficult to select a suitable location for terminal strip connections, leading to non-compliance for many projects. Conversely, lever and push-in connectors are classified as maintenance-free when used in conjunction with an approved enclosure box, so can be part of a compliant installation anywhere within the property.

Secondly, using connectors rather than terminal strips ensures every connection is consistent because there is no variation in the tightening of the fixing screw that fastens the cable in place. Ideal Industries’ Connectors even include a stripping guide on the side to aid consistently accurate stripping of the cable prior to connection and a CPC port for relevant testing. Speed of installation stems from this standardised approach to making the connections and the fit and forget nature of lever and push-in connectors. While speed and consistency of terminal strip installations grows with experience, connectors remove any margin for error, even for inexperienced electricians who are still training.

Manufacturer Support

Lever and push-in connectors not only reduce the margin for error, they also offer electrical wholesalers an opportunity to increase their profit margin. Although the unit price is low, they are a high volume item and the margin per unit is higher for connectors than it is for traditional terminal strips.

Against this backdrop, it’s important to work with a manufacturer that will support a value-led approach to transitioning electricians towards lever and push-in connectors. Ideal Industries’ In-Sure Lever Connectors and In-Sure Push-In Connectors are manufactured with excellent design and production values at our in-house factories in Austria and the USA. They provide a cost-competitive choice for contractors while providing wholesalers with a bigger margin than lower quality alternatives.

Ideal Industries is also committed to supporting wholesalers in their efforts to convert customers to the use of connectors in place of terminal strips. In addition to providing training and technical data for wholesalers, we have developed a range of videos, collateral, online materials and webinars to educate the marketplace and support their buying choices. And to ensure that young people entering the electrical profession begin their career using connectors, the Ideal Industries team is also working with further education colleges, offering training to students.

Developing Opportunity

Lever and push-in connectors are not new but neither are they static. Ideal Industries is now introducing the In-Sure Gen 2 Lever Connector, a development that will make the use of connectors even easier and more cost-effective. Rather than considering connectors as a generic commodity that offers a like-for-like alternative to terminal strips, wholesalers should embrace the opportunity to drive quality and consistency in cabling installations while building their profits.