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Connector Insights from iCONN

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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Rapid Prototyping Tools & Technologies

Posted by Bob LeGere on Mon , May 7, 2018

For project teams seeking custom engineering solutions, rapid prototyping capabilities are non-negotiable. Time is money, and if you can’t fail-safe and pivot fast, the marketplace will outpace you. Here’s how some of the latest prototyping tools and technologies are reshaping product engineering.

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Where Can 3D Printing Be Found?

Posted by Rick Regole on Mon , April 30, 2018

40 years ago, the idea of manufacturing objects on the spot was a far fetch. Today, 3D printing is reshaping some of the most prominent industries in the world. Just when you think this technology has met its potential, industry leaders shock and amaze with incredible uses. You won’t believe the capabilities of 3D printing today.

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8 Things You Didn’t Know About Rapid Prototyping

Posted by Bob LeGere on Mon , April 16, 2018

Rapid prototyping is quickly becoming the new way to do product development. You probably already know how this process saves on cost and time, and ultimately results in a higher quality product. But did you know…

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What Is Rapid Prototyping?

Posted by Rick Regole on Mon , April 2, 2018

Albeit risky, every project team faces a degree of trial and error during product development. That’s why teams have gotten remarkably good at calculating how product components will work together. If something that should work suddenly doesn't, it can bring production to a screeching halt. Thanks to evolving technology, top manufacturers offer a solution to this problem that quickly turns theory into fact. It’s called rapid prototyping, and it’s the stuff product developer’s dreams are made of.

Rapid prototyping: Fabricating a scale model of a physical part (e.g., modified connectors) using 3D printing to test the efficiency of a part or product design before high-volume manufacturing takes place.

Prototypes can be fully functional or for aesthetic evaluation. Instead of basing key decisions on educated assumptions, this service allows design teams to hold life-size product components in their hands. They can see the component in the physical world, feel its weight and plug it into the application. They can also determine that the component is an exact fit for the product before design issues create large-scale problems.

Beyond helping development teams validate their theories and confirm their technical requirements are met, rapid prototyping packs serious value. Here’s what you get:

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What's the Difference Between a Cable Assembly and a Wire Harness?

Posted by Bob LeGere on Mon , March 19, 2018

When sourcing electrical components for product development, you’ll often see the terms “cable assembly” and “wire harness” used interchangeably. People also mistakenly use the terms “cable” and “wire” synonymously. But in truth, these components couldn’t be more different. Sure, they’re both used in electrical and communication fields to route electricity between different locations. But that’s where the similarities end. Each has a distinct purpose, which means the success of your product depends on selecting the right one based on the specifications of the application. Here’s a brief overview of the differences between cable assemblies and wire harnesses to help you make the right choice.

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Materials in High Temperature Applications

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