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Connector Insights from iCONN

The Benefits of Overmolding for High Heat Conditions

Posted by Rick Regole on Mon , October 15, 2018

Applications are considered “high heat” if the environment exceeds 60⁰C (140⁰F). At this temperature, regular cables and connectors begin to melt and will either fail or create a serious hazard. High heat cables, on the other hand, are specially engineered from the inside out using heat- and flame-resistant materials that won’t deteriorate under such extreme conditions.

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As the outermost layer of a cable assembly (and the first layer that will come into contact with extreme temperatures, overmolding plays an important part in protecting internal components. The materials we typically use for high heat overmolding are Glass-Filled PBT (Polybutylene Terephthalate) and Glass-Filled PA (Nylon or Polyamide). PBT and PA are thermoplastic compounds reinforced with glass fiber to provide high-temperature deflection, low shrinkage rate, high rigidity, and good mechanical strength. Beyond protecting the cable exterior and maintaining a safe internal temperature, high-heat overmolding offers numerous benefits:

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The Future of Overmolding: What’s Next for Product Developers?

Posted by Rick Regole on Mon , September 24, 2018

Overmolding doesn’t just have a future in product manufacturing; it is the future. With the injection-molding market value expected to reach $496.22 billion by 2025, this industry might as well be on a rocket ship headed to Mars; the next several years are nothing short of Sci-Fi-level extraordinary. Autonomous cars, bacteria-resistant medical equipment, printed micro-electrical components—they all require specialized cable assemblies that are as sophisticated as the end product. To raise the bar, manufacturers will need to rethink how technology supports their operations. Check out these three mind-blowing trends that will completely transform the future of product development and manufacturing. Will you be ready?

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Things to Know About Overmolded Prototypes

Posted by Rick Regole on Mon , September 10, 2018

In a globalized market where speed and affordability take precedence over almost everything else, your ability to simultaneously design and develop products will make or break your success. Prototyping is your ticket to the top, especially if your product involves overmolded parts—and this article will explain why. Here are 5 things you should know:

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4 Things to Know About Field Installables

Posted by Rick Regole on Mon , August 20, 2018

When technicians work in hard-to-reach places, dangerous environments, or in the absence of all their tools, they sometimes need a fast and effective way to install or terminate cabling. Field-installable connectors have been adapted for just this purpose. These specially designed connectors do away with unnecessary processes like epoxy curing to reduce the amount of tools, time and effort needed by a technician to complete installations or terminations. But before you assume that the many benefits of field installables are right for your application, here are four things you might not know about these clever connectors.

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Trump Tariffs & Product Development: What to Know

Posted by Rick Regole on Mon , July 30, 2018

New tariffs imposed by the Trump administration have U.S. manufacturers at full attention. The first new tariff went into effect on June 1st, and places a 25% tax on steel imports and a 10% tax on aluminum imports from America’s largest trading partners—Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. The second new tariff went into effect on July 6th and enforces a 25% tax on 818 Chinese goods, including automotive and aviation parts, various industrial machinery, electricity transformers, radar and radio devices, electrical equipment and many more.

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Here's What You Need to Know To Be Ready To Buy Overmolded Cables

Posted by Rick Regole on Mon , July 16, 2018

If you're in the market for overmolded cable assemblies but don’t quite know where to begin—you’ve come to the right place. Below is a handy checklist that will help set you on the fast track to the best possible solution for your application. As you work through this checklist, be as detailed as possible. The more information you can provide to your cable assembly design and engineering team, the more cost and time effective the development process will be.

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The Benefits of Low Pressure Overmolding for Electronics

Posted by Bob LeGere on Mon , July 2, 2018

According to IPC Association Connecting Electronics Industries, the demand for printed circuit boards (PCB) and electronics manufacturing services has increased year-over-year by 39%. This surge is expected to continue well into 2018. To keep up with demand, manufacturers must develop newer, leaner production processes that result in a faster turnaround time without adding to the cost of ownership or compromising quality.

Traditionally, manufacturers used potting to encapsulate and protect electrical components. This process involves pouring liquid resin over electrical components, boards, or assemblies to insulate and protect the product against thermal shock, moisture, corrosive substances, etc.

The downside of potting is that the process involves many steps and requires a long curing period that increases the cycle time and can be conducive to shrinking, putting the electronic component at risk. Depending on the method used, potting materials and processes can also be quite expensive. For example, vacuum potting or using silicone rubber compounds.

High Pressure Molding (HPM) is the manufacturing world’s answer to many production woes. Instead of pouring liquid resin, this overmolding method injects the resin at high pressure into a metal mold. The extreme pressure presses the resin more tightly against the mold walls to create greater detail or produce parts with complex geometry. High pressure also makes this process fast, resulting in less production time and resources, a high production rate and, ultimately, a less expensive product.

But, not all products can stand up to the force of high pressure molding. PC board assemblies and other electrical parts are delicate, and require a softer molding approach that can still outperform potting, but doesn’t damage product components.

Low Pressure Molding (LPM) is an ideal overmolding method for delicate, low-volume electronics. The LPM process is similar to HPM, but uses less pressure to inject molten plastic into a mold. Because the pressure is reduced, this method requires more time than HPM, but—compared to potting—it offers a variety of benefits to help improve the cost, quality and time involved in overmolding delicate electronics like PCBs, connectors, sensors and cable assemblies.

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Chemical Compatibility of Plastic Resins

Posted by Rick Regole on Mon , June 18, 2018

Material selection is an important step in the overmolding process for cable assemblies and electrical components. Your decision isn’t just about which materials will result in the maximum adhesion, but also how those materials will perform in the field. Applications involving chemical exposure require extra care and attention, as not all overmolding materials offer the same degree of chemical resistance. Below is a basic comparison chart to help you understand how some of the most popular plastic resins stand up to different basic chemical groups.

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Overmolding Materials: How to Balance Cost & Quality

Posted by Bob LeGere on Mon , June 4, 2018

When done strategically and professionally, overmolding is a great way to extend the lifespan of your product’s electrical components and enhance performance and versatility. Over extended periods of time, you can really start to see large returns on the investment of overmolding your products through streamlined production, increased quality, and longevity of the product itself. However, to truly tap into the value of overmolding, development teams must know how to balance cost and quality during the product development process.

Several factors can throw cost or quality off-kilter, including unreliable material suppliers, cut-rate materials, and poor tooling design that either waste materials or make assembly a painstaking chore. To help you strike the perfect balance, we have some sage advice:

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How to Choose The Best Cable Assembly Company

Posted by Rick Regole on Mon , May 21, 2018

A great reputation, fair prices and proven expertise are all indications of a good cable assembly company. But these aren’t the qualities that make a company great. No matter who you choose to work with, the ultimate goal is to see product development teams succeed. In support of this mission, iCONN’s sharing some of the less obvious qualifiers you should look for when choosing a cable assembly company. When the success of your product is on the line, why settle for anything less?

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