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Connector Insights from iCONN

Myths About New Product Development & Custom Connectors

Posted by Rick Regole on Mon , November 19, 2018

new-product-developmentGiven the hundreds of details product development teams are tasked with sorting throughout a project, it can be easy to adopt certain “truths” to lighten the decision-making load. But beware; skimming over certain details may prevent your product from reaching its full potential. The design of your connectors and cable assemblies represents a sizable opportunity for your team to increase the value of a product. At the same time, if treated as an afterthought, the wrong electrical setup can quickly become your product’s downfall. Today, we’re clearing up some common misconceptions about customized connectors and proving once and for all just how beneficial and obtainable this seemingly small detail can be.

Myth: Customized cable connectors aren’t as important as other product details. The design can wait.

Truth: There’s a long list of top-priority details to consider when designing a successful product. Your cable assembly shouldn’t just be on that list; it should be near the top! Here’s why:

  1. Electrical malfunctions account for thousands of injuries and deaths each year. Poor quality cable assemblies and designs are often to blame.
  2. Selecting the wrong cable assembly or connector can put you at risk for compliance issues, electrical failures, user hazards and recalls.
  3. A custom engineer will ensure your team thinks beyond just correct size and amperage and takes into account connector angles, overmolding materials, termination types, mechanical needs, miniaturization and more.
  4. The benefits of a customized electrical system are far-reaching. They include time- and cost-savings opportunities, electrical performance, lifespan, risk reduction and added product value.

Myth: Customized means expensive; we can’t afford that.

Truth: Customized solutions can cost more than off-the-shelf components, but the most successful product development teams know upfront cost isn’t the best determinant of value—lifetime cost and benefit is. Here are just a few of the ways customization can provide that value:

  1. A customized cable connector engineer will respect budget parameters and provide cost transparency and savings options throughout the design process. For example, customized connector doesn’t have to be made from scratch; you can start with a stock product to reduce cost and modify as needed to meet the exact needs of your application.
  2. Products that use low-quality cables and connectors may require extra maintenance, repairs or replacements, all of which will cost your company. Customized connectors offer superior performance, safety, reliability and longevity because they have been designed, manufactured and rigorously tested for the numerous use cases specific to your application and environment, thus saving your company money in the long run.
  3. Customized cable connectors can help your product team achieve key certifications and ratings, adding value to the product and delivering a measurable return on your investment.
  4. Customized connectors reduce the risk of devastating product recalls or safety issues that can bankrupt a company or cause irreparable damage to its reputation.

Myth: Customized cable connectors will take too long to manufacture.

Truth: Thanks to modern manufacturing advances, this is no longer a concern in most situations. And, if your product team heeds our recommendation and considers electrical details early in the development process, there is plenty of time to manufacture a customized connector without affecting the production timeline.

Innovative technology solutions like 3D printing shorten the design process by allowing engineers to create rapid prototypes of the connector and test and tweak the design in days instead of weeks or months. This and other types of rapid prototyping ensure the customized cable connector design that goes to manufacturing is tried and true, which eliminates costly and time-consuming errors early in the process.

The next time you’re making decisions about a product’s electrical assembly, give yourself extra time to consider how a customized solution might improve the safety, performance, and lifetime value of your product. If customization makes sense for your project, be sure to work with a reputable design engineering firm with the tools, resources, and expertise to ensure that your electrical solution develops seamlessly alongside other project details.

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