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Connector seals set tough tooling challenge

01 June 2012

DP Seals is currently supplying Hypertac with the interfacial seals needed for the latter’s latest high-density PCB connector range. But achieving the accuracy and precision demanded by the manufacture of these fluorosilicone seals proved quite a challenge and set Hypertac’s supplier - DP Seals - one of its toughest tooling tests to date.

Hypertac is a globally recognised supplier of high performance interconnects for demanding aerospace, defence and marine applications. The interfacial seals for its latest generation high-density PCB signal connectors have not only to ensure electrical isolation and maintain mating tolerances between the connector pins, they also have to provide high reliability protection against fluid ingress.

Hypertac’s PCB connectors use 0.6mm pins in multiple rows on a 0.953mm staggered pitch - dimensions the tool needed to match precisely whilst also adding the detail essential to ensuring a tight seal against dirt, oil and other liquid ingress; the seal itself is just 3mm thick. To meet this demanding specification, DP Seals fabricated a set of tools where each individual connector pin is represented by a custom-designed 0.7mm minimum diameter tool steel pin, held in place with a M0.6 countersunk screw just 2.5mm long.

“Hypertac gave us one of our most demanding tooling tests for many years,” recalls DP Seals’ tool room manager, Russell Willis. “We even had to manufacture our own Philips screwdrivers for the job.” These efforts paid dividends; as Hypertac’s lead connector project engineer, Anthony Hall endorses. “We were extremely impressed with DP Sealsmaterials knowledge and manufacturing quality, and the proactive role they took in helping us develop the solution.”

DP Seals is no stranger to the supply of high precision custom seals, gaskets and mouldings. The company’s products are usually hidden from view but they play a key role in a huge variety of industrial and commercial applications from Formula 1 racing cars and London Underground ticket machines to aerospace programmes, including those of Airbus and Boeing, as well as the Black Hawk military helicopter and Typhoon fighter projects. The company has been making custom rubber mouldings for over 35 years and employs some 40 people at two sites in Poole, Dorset.

The company is continuing its successful supplier relationship with Hypertac and now also manufactures very small, 4mm x 2mm, pin isolators that provide complex sub-millimetre detailing for Hypertac’s latest military connectors.

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