Safety is the first priority when working on electrical installations – so always choose a tool you can trust, explains Alex Garami of KNIPEX.
As every professional knows, an electrician must be able to rely 100% on the tools that have been specially manufactured for use on electrical installations. Unfortunately it is nearly impossible to visibly distinguish quality tools from cheap imitations, but the difference is extremely important and could save your life.
Therefore it is well worth looking behind the scenes at the manufacturing and third party testing methods which leading brands such as KNIPEX carry out on their tools, before making them a part of your toolbox. It is only in this way that the otherwise seemingly invisible difference in quality from unscrupulous imitation tool suppliers becomes obvious.
Put to the test
Our production methods and the equipment used for testing insulated tools are frequently examined, certified and monitored by the Association of German Electricians (VDE). Each design of our insulated pliers is authorised by this independent VDE Institute concerning its safety features before a type approval is granted. Added to all this are rigorous random tests.
All of these production and test standards offer the greatest possible protection when working with a voltage up to 1000V AC and 1500V DC. Every single insulated tool from our VDE range is first tested at a voltage of 10,000V AC. This represents a test load that is 10 times as high as the maximum voltage permitted during work. This safeguards electricians when they are working.
We also test the tools’ electrical insulation. After a submersion in water for 24 hours, the tools are tested for three minutes at 10,000V AC with a simultaneous measurement of the leakage current. The reading of the leakage current must stay below the strict limits defined in the standards. After storage for 168 hours at 70°C, the adhesion of the insulating coating is tested with a tensile load of 500 N. The insulating material must remain firmly bonded to the basic tool. We only use flame resistant, self-extinguishing plastics for insulation. The insulation heated to 70°C must prove under standardised test conditions that its shape also remains sufficiently stable in a warmer environment.
The tools are also cooled down to -25°C and the insulation material must retain the toughness necessary to prevent it breaking if the tool is hit or knocked. Tools capable of being assembled are checked for voltage and flashover resistance in a bath of steel balls at 10,000V.
International standards are in place, such as IEC 60900, which specifies worldwide requirements for tools used when working live. EN 60900 made this IEC standard mandatory for EU countries in 1995. Professionals know all our tools are made from quality materials according to these stipulated national and international standards, taking into account all the knowledge and experience that comes from 50 years of manufacturing insulated tools. Choosing untested imitation tools just isn’t worth the risk.