Interconnection


The importance of overmoulding in interconnect design

26 April 2022 Interconnection

A reliable and robust electrical connection requires more than cables and connectors. Depending on the application and the environment, a better solution may be to develop special connections with inserted or overmoulded pins.

Electrical contacts can be completely protected by a plastic overmoulding made from a material selected to meet mechanical or environmental protection and space constraints. The protective function of this overmoulding feature is essential to ensure the reliability of the connection. Overmoulding can also be an asset to adapt and facilitate the integration of the connection into the customer’s system.

For connections on printed circuit board assemblies (PCBA), the use of standardised connectors is typical but, depending on the size and the specific customer’s requirements, customised interconnect solutions may be necessary. The press-fit contact solution on a circuit board is one of these solutions. A stamped contact with the press-fit function (eye-of-the-needle) is inserted into the plated hole of a PCB without the need for additional soldering operations. This insertion can be automated through the integration of dedicated machines into the assembly lines.

The design study phase allows the designer to define the size of the contact according to the current required for the application. Qualified press-fits of different thicknesses and platings are used to meet customer specifications and the PCBA with its press-fit contacts is then assembled into a plastic housing. This solution reduces the cost of the connector function and provides an optimally integrated unit.

Overmoulded connections to fit the customer’s needs can also be considered. The co-engineering phase plays an essential role in the definition of the product, i.e., optimisation of the geometry of the parts with the help of rheology software and a choice of materials (PA, PBT, PPS, PPA and others) in relation to the various constraints. The overmoulding joins together a set of parts while guaranteeing mechanical integrity and providing resistance to a variety of conditions such as shock, abrasion, chemical products, radiation, temperature and moisture ingress.

The use of connectors is not always required, even for complex links – interesting alternative solutions can be implemented. Special housings with contacts crimped or soldered to an extruded cable (which is itself overmoulded), in-line in continuous or semi-automatic mode, are among the custom-designed solutions that connector and cable manufacturers who have integrated this expertise are able to offer.

Axon Cable’s capabilities with various technologies such as cable extrusion, injection of classical or technical thermoplastics, moulding of mono- or bi-component resins and transformation of elastomers can prove to be a valuable asset for meeting customers’ requirements. Examples include resistance to temperatures ranging from -80°C to +250°C, or when limiting flame propagation may be required.

The applications are diverse and encompass the automotive, defence, space, oil research and implantable medical fields.

For more information contact Hiconnex, +27 12 661 6779, [email protected], www.hiconnex.co.za


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