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Connectivity Solutions For Transportation

Keep Your Systems Moving At The Pace Of Innovation

As the transportation industry continues to introduce innovative new technologies to improve speed, reliability and the commuter experience, electrical connectivity solutions also need to evolve. Transportation is a diverse sector, encompassing everything from consumer and commercial vehicles to planes and ships. 

The types of electrical connectors and cable assemblies needed to power transportation vary depending on the application, but there are some common themes — including the need to withstand high vibration, extreme temperatures and other harsh environmental conditions. 

Challenges with Electrical Connectivity In Transportation

Finding the right electrical connectivity solutions for large vehicles and complex transportation systems requires careful planning and attention to safety regulations as well as unique specifications. Here are a few challenges to consider: 

Harsh Environments

Public transportation systems often operate under high heat or sub-zero temperatures and are exposed to heavy rain, snow and ice, high winds and dust. These can damage electrical connections.

Transmitting Power, Signal and Data

Today’s transportation systems are built to be connected and intelligent, requiring the transfer of power, signal and data from a single cable. Designing a cable system with these capabilities while meeting tight space and weight constraints can be difficult. 

Electromagnetic Interference

Trains, planes and delivery trucks use multiple electronic devices for navigation, communication, and monitoring. They also operate in close proximity to power lines, which can lead to electromagnetic interference (EMI) or radio frequency interference (RFI) that disrupts power and signal transmission. 

Regulatory Compliance

Connectivity solutions for the transportation industry must comply with numerous safety regulations from governing bodies including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). There are also specific standards for electrical equipment that may apply, including UL certifications and RoHS compliance.

Space and Weight Considerations

Whether it's a vehicle or an airplane, each one of the hundreds or thousands of components has the potential to add to the size and weight. Design engineers need to be mindful of how bulky wiring or cable assemblies could contribute to reducing fuel efficiency and add to the costs of these already expensive systems.  

Electronic Connectors and Cable Assemblies for Transportation

iCONN offers a variety of standard connectors, modified connectors and custom connectors and cable assemblies to meet the toughest demands of the transportation industry. Here are just a few examples. 

Circular Connectors

Circular connectors are commonly used in transportation because they are easy to connect and disconnect. They can accommodate a variety of applications, including those that require both signal and electrical power. However, because of their smaller surface area and fewer connection points, design engineers need to balance the need for higher voltage ratings with the flexibility they offer. The iMINI series is one example of a circular electronic connector that can meet high voltage demands with up to 12 contacts while still accommodating tight space requirements. 

Custom circular connectors or connectors that include additional bulkheads, jam nuts or flange mounts can offer more versatility. 

Rectangular Connectors

Rectangular connectors offer additional surface area and more access points, making them a good fit for applications that need to transmit power, signal and real-time data in one assembly. However, poorly designed rectangular connectors can create issues with connector seals, allowing water or elements to interfere. This can cause expensive vehicles, ships, or aircraft to short-circuit. 

Automotive Connectors

Automotive connectors are built to withstand high vibration and high temperatures within motor vehicles while transmitting power, signal and data. While there are standard options available, they may require overmolding or custom engineering to ensure they meet industry standards and are compatible with other systems.

Aviation Connectors

Aviation or aerospace connectors are designed to be reliable and durable amid extreme environmental conditions. They also must meet FAA safety standards for aircraft operations and related fixtures, such as airport lighting systems.

Marine Connectors

Connectors for marine applications need to be waterproof at specific depths, able to withstand high pressure, and resistant from saltwater corrosion. In some cases, they need to be able to be mated and unmated while underwater. NiobiCONN is an underwater electrical connector made from niobioum, which forms a thin, protective film when it comes into contact with water. The film allows two contacts to safely be connected and disconnected, making it ideal for marine applications, oil and gas, saltwater mining, transportation and more. 

Custom Cable Assemblies

iCONN’s in-house engineering team can build custom cable assemblies for a variety of transportation systems and specifications, including cables with EMI/RFI shielding and assemblies that need to meet unique needs for electrical wiring and configuration. 

Advance your transportation designs without reinventing the wheel

Innovation in the transportation industry doesn't necessarily have to mean introducing a brand new solution. More often, it's finding ways to enhance existing applications and systems. Whether you're trying to meet a specific requirement, reduce costs or address supply chain challenges, we can help you re-engineer an existing solution and adapt it to your needs. 

Contact us today for a custom solution or use our configuration tool to design connector solutions that meet your exact needs and download a CAD rendering of the design to share with the rest of your product team.