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FAQs at Smiths Interconnect: test sockets, capabilities, and support

At Smiths Interconnect, we receive some of the same questions repeatedly, so we’d like to offer up those answers early on for our existing and potential customers.   

Here are some of our most frequently asked questions, and if you still have thoughts, questions, or concerns, we’re here to help! 

1. Who is Plastronics? And how do you fit into Smiths Interconnect?

After over 40 years of industry experience, Plastronics was acquired by Smiths Interconnect as the company’s one-stop shop for burn-in and reliability testing. As the complementary in-house burn-in division, we have also brought a wealth of knowledge and expertise in socket design and manufacturing.  

What do we bring to our role at Smiths Interconnect? 

  • Specialized engineering expertise to deliver solutions for real-world applications  
  • Vertically integrated manufacturing process with automated quality control, tooling, stamping, machining, and pin assembly
  • Semi-custom delivery methodology, combined with a range of manufacturing practices, enables ultra-fast delivery and unparalleled value for our customers 
  • Our global footprint offers unprecedented flexibility and responsiveness for semiconductor companies, circuit board manufacturers, and burn-in service providers worldwide 
  • More than 40 years of success meeting customers' performance, delivery, and budget requirements 
  • With more than 50 patents and industry-driven new product development, we support current and future customer needs and ensure solutions are ready to meet market challenges 



2. What are your core competencies? What is at the center of what you do at Smiths Interconnect?

We are asked this often. In our part of Smiths Interconnect, we have three competencies at the core of our technology: plastic injection molding, stamping, and automation. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the industry and provide significant benefits to customers in a wide range of electronic applications.

Plastic injection molding: Our patented technology combines plastic molding and electronics to create socket solutions that are more durable, cost-effective, and smaller in size than traditional socket solutions. 

Stamping: The H-Pin is our patented stamped spring probe with the mechanical, electrical, and thermal performance of a spring probe and the ease of use and high volume manufacturability of a stamped contact. 

Automation: We have automated quality control, tooling, stamping, machining, and pin assembly, thereby reducing the cost of testing for each supplied solution. 


3. Do you have test sockets? How much do they cost? How soon can I get them?

Yes, we offer test sockets – they’re our bread and butter. Whether your package matches a socket in our current off-the-shelf catalog or requires a custom socket for your innovation, we have the technology and the expertise to determine and deliver the right solution for you.  On a daily basis, our team sends out quotes for some of the most standard socket solutions to support less complicated projects. In the same day, we may send out quotes for some extraordinarily complicated projects, which require highly customized sockets and more extreme testing.  

Our automation makes both of these ends of the spectrum possible – as we can load 3,500 pins per hour, making a 9,000-pin socket possible in a timely manner. We also know that many of our customers are facing pressure to “do more with less”, which is why we may recommend that you utilize multisite sockets.   For example, instead of buying 80 sockets, you could decrease the number of sockets and increase the number of rest positions. Not only is it possible to decrease the number of burn-in boards, but it frees up capacity in the burn-in chamber. It is much more efficient to load a socket with 2-4 positions versus loading one socket at a time, so it is an added benefit that labor costs are potentially reduced. 

Furthermore, our unique automated manufacturing process ensures that you get the quickest lead times on any new project or modifications to existing products.   


4. Who do I talk to for different parts of the ordering process? Is there local support?

Typically, you’ll start with someone from Tech Support, who will help put together a statement of work, then Customer Service takes it from there to make sure orders are submitted. Once your order ships, you’ll work closely with either our Sales Manager or our Business Development Manager. 

We’re sometimes asked, “Who do I talk to if I’m buying sockets in the U.S. but I’m shipping them overseas?” Well, our privately-owned, independent, U.S.-based socket supplier organization has a global footprint for sales and application engineering anywhere in the world – you’ll have the local support you need. 


5. How do I know you can handle what I need for burn-in, sockets, or my semiconductor devices?

First, we have semiconductor components built to handle the extreme 

  • Our socket solutions can handle up to 200°C (392°F) and accommodate higher pin counts, making them suitable for high-performance electronic devices.
  • Our burn-in ovens have evolved to accommodate the increasing temperatures needed to simulate harsh environmental operating conditions. In the recent past, temperatures ranged between 125°C (257°F) and 150°C (150°F), with an occasional 180°C (356°F). The automotive industry, for example, has been regularly pushing for burn-in temperatures of up to 175°C (347°F). 

Second, we offer greater design flexibility, allowing for customization and optimization of the socket design to meet specific application requirements (for cooling and heating intercomponents, for example). 

Lastly, our advanced technical engineering expertise sets us up to be well-informed about the usage of the sockets themselves, as well as the systems they’ll go in. Our industry experts have a total understanding of the applications, processes, and equipment used in conjunction to ensure you’re delivering reliable semiconductor devices to the world. 

Ready to discuss your socket solution needs? 

Schedule a quick consultation


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