Perry Vandepeer, Marketing Manager at Amphenol explores the tough demands of interconnection in unrelenting military aerospace applications
There are a number of factors driving the development of interconnection in Mil/Aero applications. Key trends are pushing towards miniaturisation, higher data rates, increased power requirements and the effects of RoHS legislation within the highest possible reliability levels.
Global connector manufacturer, Amphenol offers a broad product range capable of addressing the C4I SR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) markets.
Applications within these C4I SR systems include ground, surface and aerospace surveillance equipment, radar, communication networks, sensors, electro-optic/infrared devices, signal and image processing equipment, tactical radios with anti-jam and low-probability-of-intercept facilities, radio networks, field Ethernet connections, rugged PCs, control and command shelters, electronics combat threat warning systems, decoys, electronic countermeasures as well as GPS navigation and inertial navigation systems.
The company offers ruggedise standard communications interfaces such as RJ-45 and USB into recognised military connector styles within a field series range of products.
Recently launched in June 2012 at the UK military DVD exhibition was the company’s latest range of connectors which incorporates the standard Micro-USB interface into its Terrapin Connector Series.
The new Mico-USB connector combines the benefits of a rugged, miniature IP68 sealed connector with the technology of a Micro-USB. By incorporating this technology into the new connector, the device offers increased durability and reliability for USB data transmission in a variety of harsh environments.
The shell design of this series also ensures blind-mating of receptacle to plug and IP68 sealing in both mated and un-mated conditions which eliminates ingress of moisture and dust through the interface.
Other key features of the product include a high degree of robustness including crush resistance resulting from the toughened brass shell material and excellent grounding/EMI screening. Also, the use of brass provides an increased number of mating cycles (2000) when compared with standard aluminium connectors.
The Jam Nut Terrapin connectors are available with either a Micro-B plug or Micro-AB receptacle insert and feature a grounding post on the shell for screening as well as a PCB board for termination.
Tough demands in the line of duty
Typical applications for this product range include battlefield communications, soldier systems, ruggedised computers, PDAs and GPS devices as well as handheld equipment and data storage for harsh environments.
At the Farnborough Airshow this year the company launched its latest High Power Single Pole Connector. Combining the benefits of field proven MIL- DTL-38999 Series III circular connectors with hyperbolic contacts that extend the boundaries of high power connector technology, the Rhino 38999 Series connector is designed not only to meet the latest military and industrial specifications but also meets stringent safety requirements in the field.
Recognising a distinct trend towards increased power and voltage requirements within such applications as military and electric drive vehicles, aircraft and intelligence base stations, the company launched this connector series, suited to high reliability applications including vehicular, aerospace, industrial, automation, mining, offshore and other harsh environments.
The use of the companys Radsok contacts creates an electrical interface that exceeds typical interconnect requirements via a hyperbolic socket contact construction, which distributes normal forces over a high percentage of the mating surface to ensure a smooth and even engagement force with exceptionally high performance under vibration.
The large surface area of the socket contact also results in a very low contact resistance enabling much higher current ratings compared to other power contact designs.
The series provides IP2X finger protection on both plugs and receptacles. Flange Mount, Jam Nut or Inline connection is offered with high reliability, low contact resistance Radsok contacts which feature durability up to 500 mating cycles.
Available in a variety of shell materials including aluminium, stainless steel and aluminium bronze, the connectors can be provided in standard 38999 Series III shells or the new Bulldog breakaway connector style. Offering current ratings of 100-750A and operational voltage ratings of 630V, the connectors also provide 360° screening.
The company have now announced availability of a new RoHS compliant plating alternative to cadmium. Black zinc nickel plating is now available on a wide variety of its connectors and accessories including proprietary MIL-DTL-38999 and MIL-C-26482. This conductive and non-reflective black finish is approved for 500hrs salt spray endurance and is fast becoming the new defence industry standard.
Although there has been an exemption for the use of cadmium in military applications, for several years now, manufacturers have reduced its use but have accepted reduced performance as a consequence.
In response to industry demands, the company has designed and installed a new processing line at their Whitstable, UK facility to enable plating with black zinc nickel; a conductive and environmentally sound surface treatment.
The salt spray performance of black zinc nickel plating makes it an excellent choice for applications in a highly challenging environment.