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Multi-million-pound expansion includes increased capacity for backshell manufacturing

16 May 2024

Harwin's new investment will reduce lead times and address the growing demand for value-added interconnect solutions that incorporate end-to-end mechanical and electrical protection.

Harwin has announced a multi-million-pound investment that will include significantly increased capabilities for connector backshell production. 

The eight-fold capacity expansion includes the installation of a fully automated ‘lights-out’ manufacturing system installed at the company’s newly refurbished manufacturing facility in Portsmouth, UK.

The new announcement comes as part of a strategic program to further reduce lead times and address growing customer demand for complete interconnect solutions that combine reliable, high-performance connectivity with mechanical protection and end-to-end EMC shielding. 

Backshell production will be based around eight new five-axis, high-speed milling machines built into a manufacturing cell driven by a WorkPartner automation system that supports 24/7 manufacturing.

Metal backshells with built-in shielding provide mechanical and electrical integrity in a range of demanding environments, while adding a metal braid around the cable assembly and attaching that braid to the backshells supports full 360º shielding across the whole cable assembly. 

Harwin supplies a full range of backshell and cable assembly technologies for its high-reliability Gecko, Kona and Datamate families and is seeing significantly increased demand for these technologies.

“The need for performance, reliability and mechanical and electrical integrity means customers are looking to suppliers to deliver value-added solutions that bring together connectors, cable assemblies and robust end-to-end mechanical and electrical protection,” comments Ryan Smart, Harwin’s VP of Product. 

“From robotics to aviation and uncrewed vehicles to newspace, this is driving increased demand for our backshell products across a variety of applications – a demand that we are addressing through further investment in manufacturing capabilities, including backshell production.”   

Harwin supplies a comprehensive range of cable and board/panel mount backshells featuring a rugged aluminium alloy construction and electroless nickel plating. The aluminium gives a strong, yet lightweight protective covering, with good shielding properties from its high conductivity, and excellent strength-to-weight ratio. 

The nickel coating provides corrosion resistance (which can be a weakness of uncoated aluminium). All metal backshells meet the operating temperatures of the applicable product family. 

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