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Making sure your connectors are tough enough for industrial deployment

30 September 2020

The use of industrial connectors in an industrial context is certain to set some challenges. There are likely to be a number of factors that could have a detrimental effect on the smooth operation of these components.

These include challenging temperature levels, shocks, vibrational forces, torsion forces, high humidity, etc. In addition, the connectors may need to deal with regular mating/un-mating and poor treatment of equipment by machine operatives. Let’s look at what needs to be considered when specifying connectors for industrial applications. 

Industrial connectors must be robust in various ways. Coping with the ongoing vibrations caused by heavy machinery is an important point to consider and the selected connectors should be adequately resilient. Tests relating to the EIA-364-28D Condition IV standard expose connectors to vibrational frequencies cycling from 10 to 2000Hz, with a 1.52mm vibrational amplitude, for a period of 12 hours to ensure that no break in electrical contact occurs. Connectors that comply with this standard are recommended. 

Other mechanical stresses may need to be considered. Forces could be present that put cabling at risk of being pulled out, so it is essential that effective strain relief is in place. Connectors featuring surface-mount hold-downs should be sourced, as these add to the overall footprint and can withstand a greater pulling force. This helps prevent the cable assembly being pulled off the PCB. When greater strain relief is required, it may be necessary to apply an epoxy resin compound to the connection points of the cable assembly to fill the rear of the cable connector. Known as backpotting, this is of particular value in applications where there are complex, repetitive movements involved – such as robotic systems. Latching or screw-locking between connectors also prevents accidental or vibration disconnection between cable-to-board mated pairs.

Read the full article in the October issue of DPA

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