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Having the right connectivity can drive revolution in automotive testing.

30 September 2021

Efficient quality end-of-line equipment can innovate the automotive industry.

Comprehensive automotive test equipment allows cars to be smarter, greener and safer. ​To achieve both the necessary certifications and customer confidence for sales success, new cars must endure an even more stressful, rigorous, and aggressive testing and validation regime. Whether it is testing of drive trains, power trains, bearing or lights, the more stringent the demands - the more relevant the test equipment.

This testing can occur during various steps in the process, such as in-process testing during production, end of the line testing of the device, postproduction stress testing, as well as in-car testing.

For these reason, 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, again and again.
 
Throughout the years, testing companies had to wear a very high cost of replacement and custom arrangements to support their customers’ ever-changing models.

Such outlook demand connectors that can perform reliably and consistently in the relentlessly unforgiving automotive 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.

What’s more, often this test equipment is automated, and the interfacing connectors will suffer from particularly rough treatment as slight but repetitive misalignments add to the stress on them.
 
That’s exactly what Smiths Interconnect’s L, H and N Series of high-density, modular rack and panel connectors were designed to deliver.

Modular Connectors

 
Significantly, the series are based on a rugged modular building block system of volume-produced components. This enables customers to custom-configure connectors with large numbers of contacts into a single frame, meeting their own customers’ exact and changing requirements with off-the-shelf components for lower cost and shorter lead times.

L Series Connectors are high density, modular, rack & panel connectors that include coax and high current contacts up to 200 A. The L series is used in high demanding of applications where the environment requires durability, ruggedization and extended operating life.

Utilizing Hypertac® hyperboloid contact technology the interconnects offer high mating cycles (up to 100,000) combined with low insertion and extraction mating forces, as well as unsurpassable immunity to shock and vibration.

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 and N series offer similar capabilities but with great density.

The H Series offer a variety of designs to meet specific customer needs for extreme high density signal, power, and coaxial interconnect solutions. The modular design of the H Series allows custom configurations from standard off-the-shelf components without the cost and lead-time of custom tooling.

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.

The market for automotive test equipment is growing continuously due to expanding demand for new cars and trucks, tougher pollution and fuel economy regulations, the expansion of in-vehicle electronics, as well as enhancements in the design and performance of the automotive test equipment itself. 

Manufacturers of test equipment and test fixtures have relied on connectors to provide connectivity and ensure that their equipment performs in compliance with the strict industry requirements.

As automotive test equipment continues to meet the expectations of today’s increasingly complex vehicle testing systems, Smiths Interconnect’s connectors will be there to make the designer’s task easier and worry-free with our application-specific, high-reliability electrical interconnect solutions.

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