Military connectors assembled at the double

Growing demand from the defence sector prompted PEI-Genesis to expand its MIL-DTL-38999 connector assembly facilities.
Franchised connector-assembly specialist, PEI-Genesis, has enjoyed significant growth throughout its European operations in the last 12 months, achieving a 22 per cent increase in turnover despite the current economic gloom. Having seen particularly strong growth in sales of military circular connectors, the company expanded its MIL-DTL-38999 production capability into two separate assembly lines dedicated to producing fully qualified products.
Rather than stock finished products, PEI-Genesis holds a large inventory of piece-parts, only assembling a product once an order has been placed. This approach is particularly suitable for multi-pin connectors, which can be specified in a number of different configurations depending on the application.
PEI-Genesis has managed to reduce the cycle time for this assembly service, from receipt of order to despatch of finished products, to less than 48 hours. This is achieved by carrying a $60 million inventory of connector piece-parts and by automating the assembly process wherever possible.
For several years, PEI-Genesis has been QPL listed by the US Department of Defense for assembling Amphenols MIL-DTL-38999 Series I, II and III military circular connectors. Some of the processes involved in assembling these connectors differ from those required for most other connector types, so when demand for military circular connectors began to increase, PEI-Genesis decided to build two new dedicated MIL-DTL-38999 assembly lines at its 65,000ft European assembly facility in Southampton.
Setting up the new assembly lines was quick because PEI had already established a supply-chain partnership with Amphenol, involving close collaboration with a framework for communication at every level. Specifically, PEI-Genesis and Amphenol were able to share knowledge of MIL-DTL-38999 assembly techniques and tooling, ensuring that the most efficient processes were used from the outset.
As a result, PEI-Genesis invested in several new items of equipment, including two high-resolution inkjet marking machines, two customised mechanical flow ovens for print curing and two staking machines for the mechanical retention of the MIL-DTL-38999 connector inserts. Both assembly lines are fed by kanban systems and every connector undergoes Group A testing to ensure 100 per cent mateability. All assembly work is carried out under the companys ISO 9001:2000 quality system.
The investment has enabled PEI-Genesis to increase the Southampton facilitys annual MIL-DTL-38999 capacity from around 60,000 to over 200,000 connectors.
As well as handling Amphenols MIL-DTL-38999 Series I, II and III connectors, the new assembly lines will also be used for 38999 derivative products, such as the Amphe-Lite range of composite circular connectors and the Amphe-EX series of ATEX-approved hazardous-area connectors.
PEI-Genesis also work with other connector manufacturers, including ITT Interconnect Solutions (Cannon and VEAM), Polamco and Glenair, to meet requirements in the industrial, transportation, defence and aerospace sectors.
Worldwide, it assembles over 8.5 million connectors a year covering some 56,000 different part numbers. There are no minimum order quantities and around two-thirds of the annual output is built for orders of ten pieces or less.