I have to admit I have a weakness for electrical tools. Being an electrical engineer and working for an electrician one year in college probably has something to do with that. So I was intrigued when I started seeing references to Ridgid’s new manual hydraulic crimp tool, especially when it seems everybody is coming out with cordless tools.
Ridgid introduced the RE 12-M crimp tool earlier this May (2016). Weighing in at 11.8 lbs, it’s said to be the lightest 12-ton manual hydraulic C-frame crimping tool on the market. I thought that this claim was a little specific – how may 12-ton manual hydraulic crimping tools are there?
I searched and was surprised to find a number of manual hydraulic crimpers of 8, 10, and 12 tons. Take Greenlee’s HKL1232 for instance. It’s a comparable 12-ton manual C-frame crimp tool that weighs 14.4 lbs.
So just what do you use a manual hydraulic crimping tool for, you ask? It’s used to crimp compression lugs and connectors onto copper, aluminum, and ASCR (Aluminum Conductor Steel-Reinforced) wire and grounding rods. In the image above, Ridgid’s crimping tool is being used to crimp a compression lug onto a copper wire cable.
As the name implies, this tool can apply up to 12 tons of hydraulic force. The C-shaped jaw opens to 1.65″ wide to attach lugs and connectors for wire up to 1000 kcmil for copper, and 750 kcmil for aluminum wire. I admit I had to look this up: kcmils are used to measure wire larger than 0000 AWG.
The RapidAdvance system allows you engage the die with the connector with just two pumps of the handle. Once engaged, you just keep pumping until the relief valve signals you have reached the maximum force. The ram can then be retracted.
The head rotates 330° so you can crimp in tight spaces, and you can attach a separate removable head stand that keeps the tool stable enough on the ground for a single person to hold the wire and pump the handle at the same time.
The 22″ long tool has rubber grips for comfort and control and has a low operating force to prevent fatigue. The low force on the handle of course is going to mean that you have to pump it more times to get the same force.
You can buy just the bare crimp tool, or a small kit that comes with the crimp tool, a blow molded case, and the head stand. The blow molded case also has spots for 13 pairs of crimping dies, with decals for identifying the die slots. Of course you’ll still need to buy the proper sized dies for your applications.
The dies are sold separately. You can buy individual dies or you can buy a complete set for either aluminum or copper. Each die has a color code that matches with the proper lug.
We can’t find the RE 12-M manual hydraulic crimp tool sold anywhere yet and there’s no pricing information available. We asked Ridgid for a cost on the tool and they gave us two quotes. By itself, the crimp tool will set you back $1490, and it’ll run around $1600 for the kit that comes with a case and head stand. We’re still waiting on the die pricing, but based on other brands similar offerings, it’s probably in the $90 range per die.
Check out the video below, to see the manual hydraulic crimp tool in action.