Floating connector for high-speed automated manufacturing

Floating connector for high-speed automated manufacturing

New Products |
By Nick Flaherty

Harwin in the UK has launched a fine pitch board-to-board power and data floating connector series for high speed automated manufacturing.  

The Flecto floating connector series address the data and power transfer demands of high-performance applications while accommodating small movements in multiple axes to support high-speed automated assembly and enhance resistance to shock and vibration during operational life.   

The series has up to 160 contacts in a symmetrical double row layout with three choices of miniature pitches: 0.5mm (.0197”), 0.635mm (.025”) and 0.8mm (0.0315”). By accommodating movement of up to ±0.5 mm in both the X and Y axes, Flecto allows for accurate placement of multiple connectors between the same two PCBs where the sum of misalignments might, otherwise, present challenges for high-speed, high-precision mating.

The positional tolerance flexibility of Flecto connectors also enhances system reliability by maintaining connection integrity during shock and vibration events and reducing the possibility of degradation or failure from ‘fretting’ – a situation that occurs when long-term vibration causes plating to wear from rigid mating pins, exposing the underlying alloy to potential oxidation.

“Growing demand for multiple connectors per board pair increases the potential for mechanical alignment issues due to the capabilities of automatic pick-and-place systems and the associated reflow process, which can cause connectors to experience unintended strain,” says Ryan Smart, Harwin’s Vice President of Product. “In addition, once systems are in the field, many connectors are subject to stresses resulting from short-term or long-term exposure to shock and vibration.

The Flecto floating connector series supports board-to-board mating heights as low as 7.2mm and data rates as high as 12Gbit/s. Additional power pins available with the 0.5mm pitch options are rated for currents up to 3A.

Vertical and horizontal female connectors allow boards to be connected in parallel or at right angles to each other, while Flecto signal-only connectors feature either location pegs or posts to eliminate movement during solder reflow. On the mixed signal and power connectors, through-board solderable posts are provided for location accuracy and enhanced mechanical strength.

A number of the connectors feature shrouded contacts to prevent accidental damage when no mating connector is present, while others offer polarization within the shroud to ensure uni-directional mating.

Target applications for the floating connector series include factory automation, electric vehicles, LED displays, security cameras, IoT devices, data communications and a wide variety of embedded systems.

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