Austin, Texas-based Electrical Markets Division of 3M is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its development of cold shrink technology. Specially formulated rubber tubes, stretched on a removable core, are used for electrical insulation, splicing, and terminating. No source of heat or extra tools are needed to install a cold shrink accessory.

“We were looking for a simpler, better way to insulate in-line splices for electrical power cables,” recalls Jim Sievert, the 3M engineer who first conceived the cold shrink idea. He and a team of associates at the company’s St. Paul, Minn.-based laboratories spent many months in material and process development, overcoming a number of technical challenges to eventually bring the idea to the market in the first of an ongoing series of products.