Modern drivers expect their cars to provide an even smoother, quieter, and easier experience – whilst also being safer, tougher, and less environmentally impactful. It’s a tall order. To achieve both the necessary certifications and customer confidence for sales success, new models must endure an even more stressful, rigorous, and aggressive testing and validation regime.
Automotive testing today subjects whole vehicles, components, and systems to an intensive series of laboratory, virtual and real-world assessments – from emissions analysis, crash simulations and extensive electronics testing, to a wide range of ‘buzz, squeak and rattle’ investigations.
It’s not just the cars that must withstand such harsh conditions. The testing equipment, itself, must be highly sophisticated and sensitive yet, at the same time, exceptionally robust so that it can keep putting the vehicles and components through their paces - again and again and again.
What’s more, often this equipment is automated, and the interfacing connectors will suffer from particularly through treatment as slight but repetitive misalignments add to the stress on them.
Throughout the years, testing companies had to wear a very high cost of replacement and custom arrangements to support their customers’ ever-changing models.
One leading European automotive testing and validation company turned to Smiths Interconnect for a solution.
Their customers not only want to achieve regulatory compliance and confirm product safety and quality; they want to expose any faults early to minimise total development costs as well as quantify any areas of superiority to support brand positioning.
Such cutting-edge expectations demand connectors that can perform reliably and consistently in the relentlessly unforgiving test environment, with the resilience to withstand multiple mating cycles over an extended period of time without failure. But, at the same time, they need to be easy to assemble, have a low unit price and be configurable for different applications and models.
The L Series frames come in various lengths to accommodate a variety of modules including mixed signal, power, coaxial, fibre optic and pneumatic, providing up to 200 amps.The frames range from a basic frame with just two side rails and two end caps, to more complex versions with plastic backshells for strain relief, half-turn jackscrew extractors for quick disconnections, and float-mountable guiding and coding functions to ensure smooth, reliable and speedy blind mating/unmating.
The H connector range benefits from a high contact density up to 1,000 x 0.6mm removable contacts, allowing up to 5,000 mating cycles – 15,000 with a half-turn jackscrew - and a high current rating up to 50 amps. It has a metallic shell with adjustable cable clamp from 12mm to 25mm.
The N Series connectors are designed for the most demanding of applications. They include coax and high current contacts up to 25 amps, allow for up to 900 contact positions and offer up to 100,000 mating cycles.