Keats Manufacturing is an industry-leading manufacturer of small metal stampings, wire forms, and assemblies. Our capabilities include the custom fabrication of complex electrical terminals from various high-quality metals and alloys. From in-house tooling design to pre-, post-, and selective metal plating services, we have the expertise and tools to optimize your terminals for a range of demanding electrical applications.
What Are Electrical Terminals?
Electrical terminals are necessary for connecting various circuits within an electrical system. They provide the essential function of conveying electricity from a grounding or power source to the device or application. In complex wiring systems, individual terminals are typically grouped on a long strip known as a terminal block. While their designs vary depending on the application, terminal blocks generally consist of a modular, insulated housing where two or more wires can be secured or terminated.
A terminal is generally affixed to the stripped end of a wire using crimping or soldering techniques. The most common attachment method is crimping, which involves compressing the terminal to the end of the wire using a wire crimping tool. The attached terminal then becomes an extension of the wire, allowing it to interface with pins, posts, or other terminals within the wiring system. Crimped terminals, also known as compression terminals, are a specific type of terminal.
Terminals can be distinguished from splice connectors by the fact that they consist of a single terminating conductor and mechanical connection. Splices, on the other hand, feature at least two terminating conductors and no mechanical connection.
Electrical Terminals Types
When choosing an electrical terminal for a wiring application, it is important to be mindful of both the connection requirements and environmental conditions of your application. Understanding the various types of terminals available and their ideal uses is critical for making the proper selection. The most common terminal designs include:
Electrical ring terminals are the most versatile and widely used type of electrical terminal. A ring structure on one end of the terminal allows a bolt or screw to pass through, allowing the wire to be securely affixed to equipment with minimal risk of slippage or disconnection. Ring terminals are ideal for harsh, high-vibration environments such as those encountered in automotive wiring systems.
Also known as fork terminals, spade terminals have a fork-like end that facilitates easy connection or disconnection in an electrical system. This design allows the screw or bolt to remain partially screwed in while attaching or removing the terminal. Commonly used with bus bars, spade terminals enable new wires to be installed without having to remove existing wires to make space.
Hook terminals feature a hook-shaped end that allows the wires to be easily and quickly connected to the electrical system without removing the screw. This design makes them useful for applications with limited space available for installation. The hooked end also allows for a more secure and durable connection than the one provided by spade terminals.
Quick-disconnect terminals allow two wires to be quickly connected or disconnected to an electrical system. Featuring male and female ends, the male terminal conveniently slides into the female terminal to form the connection. These terminals are commonly used in automotive and consumer applications that involve frequent repair or replacement.
With bullet electrical terminals, the pole-shaped end of the male terminal is designed to fit securely into the hollow-bodied female terminal. This provides a durable, tight connection that helps protect the wires from corrosion and other contaminants in harsh environments.
Butt terminals are used to safely connect or terminate one or several wires. After inserting the wires into the terminal’s open ends, both ends are crimped to complete the connection. Butt terminals are beneficial for wiring applications requiring extra protection against moisture, corrosion, and abrasion.
Characterized by a flag-like shape, flag terminals allow wires to be conveniently and securely connected in various electrical applications. Their slim, sleek design allows them to complete connections in spaces that are too confined for quick-disconnect terminals.
Keats specializes in developing stamping dies to produce custom terminals for custom applications. Our development team will work directly with yours on design for manufacturability in order to ensure that the final terminal design is able to be manufactured quickly and efficiently.
We specialize in designing stamping processes which produce the most complex terminals in the world for custom applications at high rates of speed. Terminals produced in Keats plants can be found in nearly every vehicle made and in the majority of appliances.
Our 60+ years of expertise and our reputation for quality make us a trusted supply chain partner to some of the largest OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers.
Electrical terminals are an integral component of electrical wiring systems in a range of industries, including:
In heavy-duty construction equipment, robust electrical terminals are essential for ensuring secure connections in visual displays, peripheral controls, cooling systems, and more.
Terminals are widely used in the electronics industry to facilitate connections in outlets, circuit breakers, fuse boxes, and other electrical systems.
Most of an automobile’s internal systems are controlled electronically, from ignition and lighting systems to infotainment platforms. These systems rely on a complex network of electrical terminals and connectors to secure individual wires and circuits.
The military industry relies on MIL-SPEC terminals that can maintain reliable connections while protecting wires from various harsh environments. These terminals are installed in everything from military aircraft and vehicles to complex communications systems.
The medical industry relies on high-precision electrical terminals that can ensure the safety and functionality of everything from portable defibrillators to MRI machines. To ensure the highest level of safety and performance, these devices must be designed in compliance with strict medical industry standards.
Modern communications systems are highly interconnected networks consisting of transmissions equipment, relay and tributary stations, and data terminal equipment. Electrical terminals play a key role in keeping complex wiring systems organized and facilitating stable connections among the various individual circuits supporting the system.
Terminals are essential for connecting wires in stoves, dishwashers, ovens, HVAC units, and more. For optimal appliance performance, these devices must be designed to withstand high vibration, high temperatures, heavy use, and other application-specific challenges.
Custom Electrical Terminal Manufacturing from Keats Manufacturing
Electrical terminals play a critical role in establishing secure, reliable connections in a range of electrical systems. At Keats Manufacturing, we specialize in manufacturing custom metal-stamped electrical terminals for a range of sensitive and mission-critical electrical applications. Our skilled engineers utilize cutting-edge four-slide & multi-slide forming techniques, high-speed progressive die stamping, and CNC machining to achieve the highest levels of quality and precision in each product.