Page 38 - 2019 How-to-Specify E-Book
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In this market, seemingly simple requests, like reducing the size of a Micro-D connector by 20% or reducing a connector’s pitch, often require a good bit of effort from manufacturers. Since decreasing a connector’s size could potentially decrease its technical performance, the main challenge for connector suppliers is to meet downsizing demands while maintaining the same — or even improving — performance levels.
Modular connector designs can play an important role in meeting downsizing demands in applications with challenging performance requirements, as they give design engineers the freedom to select exact pin counts and specific types of contacts, and even to intermix different types of contacts in the same connector to save space. Modular connectors can also make it easier to select the appropriate housing, insulation, and contact materials required to provide peak performance in military and aerospace applications exposed to high altitude, vibration, shock, radiation, fluctuating temperatures, oil or fuel exposure, and other environmental hazards.
Nicomatic’s CMM Micro modular plastic connectors meet or exceed MIL-DTL-55302F and BS-9525-F0033 requirements, allow for more than 20 million arrangements of high-power, high-frequency, and low-frequency contacts in the same connector, and are made using a rugged, lightweight PPS material that can withstand temperatures up to 260°C, amongst other hazards.
Signal Integrity
Military equipment utilized in land, sea, and air environments is often exposed to an array of environmental hazards, including dust, dirt, water and other liquids, extreme temperatures, rough handling, and countless other factors that could potentially cause electronic devices to fail. Due to the often-essential nature of such equipment, connector manufacturers must go to great lengths to ensure peak performance despite environmental interference — and especially so with regard to signal integrity considering the dense interconnectivity of most modern electronics.
Protecting the signal integrity of military and aerospace connectors starts with the careful consideration of voltage ratings, as the low atmospheric pressures at high altitudes reduce the amount of energy (i.e., voltage) needed to create a leakage current, which can negatively affect connectors’ electrical properties. Connector designers also need to consider their choice of contact materials and technologies, as well as any additional application constraints, like high densities of electronics crammed into tight spaces, which can generate crosstalk and electromagnetic interference (EMI) capable of causing catastrophic failures in critical communication applications and UAVs. Materials selections, thoughtful connector designs, and shielding mechanisms can offer effective EMI prevention and signal protection in such sensitive applications.
For example, a customer with a radar system that was mounted on a truck trailer and used to monitor the sky for unfriendly missiles needed a low-loss, phase-stable cable assembly and harness to ensure accurate, uninterrupted surveillance. Our engineers developed a custom cable assembly with a standard metallized composite connector and multiple value-added features, including weight savings, reduced installation time, and cost effectiveness. The final cable assembly and harness featured end-to-end shielding to protect the signal from EMI generated both internally (by multiple-frequency components) and externally (by other electronics).

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