New labor-saving, self-insulating tap and splice connectors give you a competitive edge.

Everyday, contractors face the challenge of how to win competitive bid contracts. Reducing material or labor costs is always helpful. However, finding ways of being more productive is sometimes the only way to reduce labor costs. And although there are many ways to perform different tasks, costs of materials are often pretty close to what the contractor bids on a project. A new category of connectors, self-insulating multi-tap connectors, is one way to significantly reduce the labor of tapping and splicing.

The continued evolution of electrical tap and splice devices has led the industry to obtain code approval for the tap and splice connectors. Various lengths of rectangular aluminum blocks make up these connectors. Drilled, the blocks can accept conductors. Range taking size is a function of the conductor hole size. The length of the bar determines capacity. A unique feature of these multi-tap connectors is their integral insulating cover. Previously, you could buy this range of connector sizes and conductor capacities only in power-distribution blocks. The multi-tap capability is up to seven taps. Split bolts normally allow one tap, although one special type can accommodate two taps. Their economical application range, combined with simplicity, make them less expensive than power-distribution blocks. This is enough to make contractors turn their heads.

One of the nation's top 50 contractors, Cannon & Wendt, Phoenix, Ariz., had a six-figure contract on a project to upgrade a microchip plant. When Jim Plotz, vice president of the company, learned of this new type of connector, he brought it to the foreman's attention. Plotz faced a dilemma. Time, space, and money were at a premium. Cannon & Wendt has a policy of investing in the latest labor-saving tools and connectors, so they chose these connectors.

They used eight self-insulating multi-tap connectors in the project, including transfer switches for the main generators, two ATS switches on the roof, and two pump transfer switches. Photos 3 and 4 (on page 48D, original article) illustrate the efficient arrangement of the splices required of the sixteen 350 kcmil conductors in the limited space at the A BUS and B BUS.

So what do you need to know to use multi-tap connectors? Just a few simple rules and some practical guidelines.

Application. You can use multi-tap connectors in any normal, dry, and protected location or in place of a split-bolt connector, a mechanical connector with a snap-on protective cover, or a power-distribution block. You can't use them in a wet location or where vibration or cold could damage the cover. Here you should use anchored power-distribution blocks. You can buy specially rated connectors for watertight applications. However, each should carry the manufacturer's part number and wire range capacity.

Selection. You should select connectors to accommodate applications; the size of main would be the larger, and the smallest tap would be the smaller needed. And pay attention to the tap hole requirement, comparing that with the connector's tap holes.

Installation. Don't forget: all connectors require an Allen wrench to install. Freestanding multi-tap connectors with integral insulating covers are rapidly becoming an industry standard for fast and versatile electrical distribution connections. You can rely on these connections if you follow Code installation procedures.