FT-45 modular plug crimp tool displayed with modular plugs

The UK is ranked among the top five most innovative countries in the world, according to the Global Innovation Index, and when it comes to intelligent and sustainable buildings, we’re well-equipped to deliver efficient and responsive buildings that enhance the user experience. But with smart buildings come sophisticated data networks. Brett Smyth, Managing Director of IDEAL® Electrical EMEA and APAC, discusses the importance of consistent and compliant data network terminations.


Smart building technology has seen a significant shift. Previously considered an upgrade or specialist addition to residential, commercial and industrial buildings, smart solutions have quickly become standard spec.


Research reveals the global smart building market is expected to hit a staggering $570.02 billion by 2030, expanding at a CAGR of 25.3% from 2022 to 20301. Growing demand for energy-efficient systems and the rise of Internet of Things enabled building management systems are cited as key factors driving the growth.


The construction industry in the UK is no stranger to smart buildings. In fact, benchmark-setting buildings that deliver outstanding innovation, ambition and contemporary design are becoming commonplace in many of the major cities – and particularly the capital. The striking, all-glass Crystal building in London, for example, has been described as one of the most efficient buildings in the world and was the first to achieve the highest sustainable building accolades – Platinum and Outstanding from LEED and BREEAM respectively. The sophisticated building management system covers lighting, windows, blinds and heating, allowing all elements to be monitored, benchmarked and fine-tuned to enhance comfort and reduce energy use.

Similarly, the Southworks seven-storey office building was the first building in the UK to achieve the Smart Building Certification Platinum certificate, and only the second in the world to do so, and also achieved a BREEAM Outstanding rating. It boasts a responsive and productive environment with smart sensors plugged into the HVAC system and lighting controls, and measures environmental variables such as density, occupancy, air quality and noise levels. Vodafone’s sleek Global Headquarters in London also makes smart use of data through a multi-sensor network, gathering information on the likes of air quality, energy use, occupant movement, noise levels and space utilisation.


Indeed, the scale and creativity of architecture here cannot be argued, however, with the smart building boom well underway, it is vital that the industry has the tools at its disposal to keep pace with staggering demand, be it new developments or retrofit projects. Key to this is the ability to install increasingly sophisticated data networks quickly, effectively and without error.


The more complex the network, the greater the number of RJ45 assemblies and terminations required, which can inevitably result in consistency being compromised. Identifying faulty terminations on the system can be an onerous, costly and time-consuming task. As such, terminations must guarantee best practice and consistency every time.


Whilst conventional installation methods require conductors to be trimmed to an exact length before the plug is placed onto the cable, the FT-45™ Feed-Thru Modular Plugs leave no such room for error. As single-piece connectors, there is no need for installers to assemble a three-piece connector, nor do conductor wires require precision trimming; instead, installers simply remove an appropriate section of jacket, remove the centre spline (if present), untwist the pairs into the correct order, and trim the ends flat. The cable can then be slid into the connector until seated.

The unit features open ends that allow conductors to be completely fed through the connector before crimping. The cable can be pushed into the connector to ensure the twisted pairs are as close to the pin contacts as possible, and that the jacket is seated beyond the primary strain relief for a secure connection.


The versatile FT-45 Crimp Tool further enhances this error-free approach; installers simply squeeze the handle to the closed position to cleanly shear the excess conductor wires and leave a smooth, flat finish – crimping and cutting the cable in a single action.


Used on installations around the world, the FT-45 Feed-Thru data termination system ensures consistent, resilient and compliant data networks, regardless of the number of installers working on site, skill level or time pressures. If the industry is to keep up with demand for smart buildings, getting data networks right the first time, every time, is crucial.