Color-keyed Cable Lugs

Color-Keyed® Compression connectors

The Color-Keyed® compression system ensures a proper crimp onto the conductor by matching the right connector to the right tool and die, using a color coding system that was developed and introduced to the industry by Thomas & Betts. When using the Color-Keyed compression system with our Blackburn® line of compression connectors, the installer can count on a reliable, high quality connection.


Stranded Wire Termination: The precision hardened steel dies used by the Color-Keyed system exert tremendous, controlled pressure on the connector and form the strands and connector into a solid mass.

Verifiable and Inspectable: A die code embossed onto the Color-Keyed connector during compression makes it easy for inspectors to compare the finished crimp with the die table to verify correct termination.

Shure-Stake® Crimp Mechanism: The Shure-Stake crimp mechanism eliminates guesswork and produces proper terminations every time.

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Color Keyed® is a system solution designed to meet the most stringent UL & IEC Class A testing requirements. Our Color-Keyed® lugs are made of 99.9% pure, oxygen-free copper. The Color-Keyed® color coded crimping system assures the right die is used with the right lug resulting in an accurate, reliable crimp. Color-Keyed® dies are designed to produce a circumferential, hex- or diamond-shaped compression rather than a simple indent resulting in assured high conductivity, exceeding IEC 61238-1 and UL standards. Circumferential compression creates large area of high pressure contact between cable and connector which in turn results in low resistance and high pull-out values.

IEC Metric Information
  • Straight 1 hole / 2 hole : wire sizes from 10mm² – 400mm² with metric bolt hole from M5 to M24
  • 45°: Wire sizes from 10mm² – 240mm² with metric bolt hole from M6 to M16
  • 90°: Wire sizes from 10mm² – 240mm² with metric bolt hole from M6 to M16
UL Information
  • Copper tin plated AWG compression lug for power cables rated voltage up to 35kV with high-voltage insulation. From #8 Str. to 1000 kcmil
  • Designed for AWG stranded, flexible cable,welding cable and portable chord
  • Hole inspection to ease installation control
  • Chamfer barrel to assist installation work
  • Made of high-conductivity seamless copper tubing. Surface: tin plated
  • Certification: UL, CSA listed for AWG conductors

Just 4 easy steps to a perfect connection:

Step 1
Strip the insulation carefully to avoid nicking or cutting conductors (wire brush if required).

Step 2
Determine the proper Color-Keyed® Connector for the cable size being used. Connectors are marked to show cable size.

Step 3
Select the proper installing die and appropriate tool.

Step 4
Locate tool with correct die in proper position on connector and activate tool. When making multiple crimps, make the first crimp nearest the tongue and work towards the barrel end. When properly crimped, the die code number will be embossed on the connector for easy inspection to determine if correct die and connector combination were used.

About Precision Dies System

The IEP T&B method utilizing compression tools with matching dies forms the connector and conductor into a solid, homogenous mass to provide an optimum electrical bond between connector and conductor.

IEP Thomas & Betts method dies are designed to produce a circumferential, hex- or diamond-shaped compression rather than a simple indent. Precision dies are an integral part of the Thomas & Betts method. The precision hardened steel dies exert tremendous, controlled pressure on the connector and conductor. The dies compress the connector around the cable, converting the round strands to hexagonal or diamond shapes and forming the strands and connector into a solid mass. Each die is designed so that all conductors receive the same amount of compression force.

The circumferential compression creates a large area of high pressure contact between cable and connector which, in turn, assures high conductivity, low resistance, and high pullout values which exceed UL requirements. These features result in a permanent, low installed cost connection. You can install it, and forget it.

IEP Thomas & Betts’ System tells you where to place the Installing Die.

IEP Thomas & Betts (T&B) Color-Keyed® connectors not only identify the correct installing die to be used for positive compressions, but also indicate the proper placement of the die on the connector. This is done by the bands of color on the connector which match the color on the dies. Compression is made between or on these color bands. The color name is also spelled on the connector as an added means of identification.

IEP Thomas & Betts Dies Offer Inspection Capability.

Dies that are used in Thomas & Betts hand and hydraulic tools contain the “die code” numbers which are engraved on the compression surface of the die. Under compression, this number becomes embossed on the completed connection for inspection purposes. The inspector compares the die code number embossed on the connector with the die table to ensure that the proper connector was compressed with the correct die for that particular size conductor.

Quality tooling with the Shure-Stake® Mechanism

IEP T&B manual tools with the exclusive, Shure-Stake® mechanism take the guesswork out of making compression connections. The Shure-Stake® mechanism provides a full cycle compression stroke every time. Once the stroke has started, the tool will not release the connector until the proper amount of force has been applied. This is your assurance of a fully compressed connection. T&B compression tools develop uniform, controlled pressure to each connector within their size range. Thomas & Betts offers electric and battery-powered hydraulic pumps with a Shure-Stake® feature that guarantees a full cycle compression.

IEP Thomas & Betts Method Components Meet Industry Standards.

Depending on the application, all Thomas & Betts copper connectors meet U.L. Std. 486A for code stranded and 24 gauge flex, CSA Std. C22.2, No. 65.600 V. requirements for power and U.L. Std. 467, CSA Std. 22.2 No. 0.4 requirements for direct buried grounding.

IEP T&B method connectors are available in a range of sizes and styles to accommodate No. 8AWG through 1000 kcmil and larger copper or 2000 kcmil and larger aluminum cable. They may be compressed on cable with either manual or hydraulic tools. They are offered with standard length or long barrels, with one bolt or two bolt holes, or in two-way styles, for splicing applications. Two-way connectors are compact, providing high pullout values with low resistance.

IEP Thomas & Betts (T&B) Color-Keyed® two-hole lugs are ideal for bus bar applications that require two bolts to prevent lug rotation.

The T&B method is the most efficient, highest quality connection that has been engineered and delivers the best electrical performance and highest reliability. IEP T&B Compression Connectors eliminate risk of problems relating to loose connections when installed properly.