Smart connectors need to be tough

ESUK Jul13 p24 Harting3Industrial systems increasingly involve electronics, which means greater demand for high density interconnection systems that are also robust, says Harting‘s Kevin Canham

The industrial environment has seen a growth in the number and types of IT applications in areas such as controllers, measuring and monitoring equipment and data processing systems. This is due, in part, to the development of intelligent and flexible systems. Decentralisation, networking and miniaturisation are the catchwords that hallmark these developments.

Intelligent devices are moving closer to the machines that they have to work with and therefore have to display a high level of robustness. Naturally, this also applies to the connectors that are built into these devices. As a result, demand has increased for new types of cost-effective, flexible and high-density interconnection systems.

Flexible and robust

Typical of these new developments is the Harting Har-flex connector family, which utilises new tooling to offer a broad choice of contact configurations. Based on 1.27mm contact spacing, the high-density footprint is available in sizes between six and 100 contacts. A special fixing clip fixes  the connector to the PCB securely, preventing stresses being transferred to the surface-mount termination area during insertion and withdrawal of the mating connector.

For boards spaced between 8.0 and 13.8mm, straight versions in four different stacking heights are available. There are also angled options available, which helps ensure a variety of possible combinations for a range of applications. This versatility, combined with the high-density contact spacing, allows users to maximise the use of PCB real estate, thereby achieving overall space savings and cost efficiencies.

Designed to fit

In addition to the straight and angled PCB connectors, versions for ribbon cable assemblies are also available. The connectors for flat ribbon connection and PCBs can be combined into complex systems, each adapted to its specific surroundings. Harting offers ribbon cable assemblies with many size options and lengths to customer specifications.

In spite of the rugged design, Har-flex connectors are also suitable for high data rates, which means that they can handle modern transfer protocols such as Gigabit Ethernet or PCI Express.

For added convenience, Har-flex connectors are delivered in packaging compatible with production machines and can be processed in the SMT solder process. Designed for SMT termination, connectors are supplied in tape and reel packaging, compatible with established pick and place processes. The connectors include pick and place pads, which support fully automatic placement on PCBs. According to Harting, they are well protected during shipping and handling and meet stringent requirements on ‘processability.’