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Connector Insights from iCONN

The Benefits of Underwater Cable Assemblies

Posted by Rick Regole on Mon , October 16, 2017

Underwater cable assemblies are a must. That's because water and electricity don’t play nice together. Without the right safeguards in place, water exposure (even excess moisture) will corrode the internal components of your cable assembly. Inevitably, this will cause your equipment to fail (or worse).

What’s particularly alarming about electrical systems and underwater applications is the potential for electric shock and drowning.  Water conducts electricity, which means a corroded cable can produce what’s called alternating current leakage. If this occurs, it can electrocute or even incapacitate nearby swimmers.

The most vulnerable part of an underwater cable assembly is at the termination point. To address this issue, iCONN Systems custom engineers ingress-proof overmolded connectors. Overmolding is an injection molding process that secures a connector body to the cable and encapsulates terminations that occur in the assembly. This process ensures that the assembly can be submerged safely.

Now that we have the what covered, here’s the why.

Benefits of Molding

Creates a Watertight Seal

Underwater applications are required to meet a standard rating for sustained performance. Engineers refer to the IP code published by the International Electrotechnical Commission. The goal rating for underwater cable assemblies will depend on the exact use case and generally falls between IP67, IP68 or the most waterproof — IP69K. Proper overmolding and sophisticated design is the only way to achieve this level of protection against water ingress and earn these ratings.

Increases Flexibility and Strain Resistance

Underwater environments present numerous challenges including current drag, depth pressure and interferences. Molding ensures that the seal between the cable, connector and coupling is strong and resists strain. The molding encases cable components under a sealed resin, which makes the assembly tamper-proof, impact-proof and flexible at the cable exit.

Furthermore, iCONN can create a custom overmolded connector with 360-degree strain relief for full motion durability.

Extends the Life and Dependability of Your Product

Ultimately, the benefits of overmolding for underwater applications add up to two major advantages: a longer product lifespan and (of course) consistent, reliable electrical connectivity. Not only is this critical to safety, but it also reduces instances of equipment maintenance, replacement, or failure. This ultimately improves your bottom line health.

Looks Aesthetically Pleasing

The overall quality, look and feel of your product is enhanced with molding because it creates a smooth transition from the cable to the connector. Overmolding is available in a variety of colors and can be branded to include your logo.

At its core, iCONN is an innovator in cable assembly design. A testament to its drive for ingenuity, ICONN engineers developed many custom assemblies that have been in application for years. Custom doesn’t always equate to an expensive solution. Our i8 Snaplock connector (part of the iSENSOR i8 product line) is overmolded with a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) material and eliminates the existence of a coupling nut, resulting in a lower cost.

Overmolding Guide