Updated: June 26th, 2015

This issue’s “Connector Basics” topic, explained by George Bedorf of APEX Electrical Interconnection Consultants, is connector manufacturing process validation.

Thumbs Up for Validation

Connectors are made from plastic and metal. The selection of these materials, including metal finishing, along with very precise and detailed mechanical parameters, are described on production drawings and related specifications. Connectors that meet all the specified design requirements are manufactured and tested to validate the connector performance. A test report and product specification provides proof that the design satisfies the customers’ requirements. Often, connector performance problems in customers’ applications are a result of product that was not manufactured to specified design requirements. Manufacturing process validation will reduce the risk that this will occur.

Validation of the manufacturing process demonstrates that the processes have the potential (or capability) to consistently produce products that meet specifications and ensures that product design objectives are achieved throughout the product life cycle. Records of the validation are maintained for future reference.

One approach to process validation has been to perform a “first article inspection.” Parts produced by a production tool, usually contacts from a stamping die or plastic housings from a m