How can you gain market and industry leverage with your electronics product? One way you can achieve this is by using custom connectors and partnering with a high-quality interconnect pins manufacturer. Why? Because standard interconnect connectors might not meet the performance grade you need for your product.
The three general types of connectors are board-to-board, wire-to-board, and wire-to-wire. Interconnect pins and connectors can fulfill all three types of connection in a non-permanent but stable connection, even in supercomputers.
Keep reading to find out how you can achieve optimal performance and maximize savings through custom interconnect solutions.
What Are Interconnect Connectors?
The most appropriate and oversimplified description of interconnect connectors is that they are electrical connectors between components.
The basic purpose of any electrical connector is to establish a physical contact of one metallic (or conductive) surface with another metallic (or conductive) surface. This contact facilitates the transmission of signals or power from one component to another. An example of this is the power supply cable between a UPS and the motherboard or GPU in a desktop computer. Another example would be to use an FR-4 header with .64mm/.025" pins to stack PCBs together.
An example for data transfer would be flat flexible cable (FFC) between components and PCB in a laptop. A common use for this kind of setup would be the laptop screen to the motherboard.
Various simple design concepts can accomplish this. Though, to say the application of these concepts is simple would be a disservice to the incredible innovations in recent decades. Current waterproof devices would be impossible without such innovations for connectors.
In many industrial or mass-production systems, interconnect devices are temporary systems designed for quick testing without soldering. The goal is to establish a stable non-permanent connection. In other words, the goal is to connect two devices without soldering.
Examples of Different Interconnect Connectors
Are you wondering what interconnect connectors look like? The truth is that you look at them every single day. So, what are the ways to interconnect two components in various designs, like PCBs?
Most of these connectors have two parts, a male and female method of connection. Most of the methods are:
- Socket and plug
- Pad and pin
- Wire and crimp
- Beam and blade
From these four basic types of connection, we get many standards like RJ45, USB-C, PC/104™, and others.
Plugs and Sockets
The most common interconnect connector is a simple power cable and molded plug. This plug will have a mating socket (receptacle or housing). The plug has solid blades in various configurations for a making socket with internal contacts.
Also falling under plugs and sockets are jacks and plugs. Headphone jacks and plugs are the most common type of this connector, with Apple and other mobile device manufacturers now beginning to abandon the standard.
Pad and Pin
One of the most basic of all connectors is the pad and pin. Yet, for all the simplicity of a pin contacting a pad, pogo pins have transformed our world with device connectors like MagSafe developed by Apple. In addition to magnetic pogo pin connections, there is a rise in these connectors in watertight situations.
IP (Ingress-Protected) ratings are now on almost every phone and wearable device in an almost transparent integration into our everyday lives.
Pogo pins are spring-loaded pins that keep a plunger in contact with a device's contact pads. They are also used in devices-under-test by making a veritable bed-of-nails to test PCBs and other equipment.
Otherwise interconnect pins are made from solid wire pins, usually automatically inserted into the plastic or on the PCB. Swaging processes have advanced custom pin design and manufacture to revolutionize the industry. That also translates to massive cost savings on even custom parts.
Crimped Connections and IDC
Wire and crimp connections have a bare wire which is then cinched down by its mating connector. Often, this connection method facilitates the use of another connector such as a ring terminal, spades and forms, splicing wires, and so on.
Related types of connections are screw terminals and binding posts. These are quite temporary in most cases, and found often in audio setups (although less and less frequently these days). This is a bare wire being captured by a screw or clamped to an electrode.
Another example of a cousin to crimping is IDC or insulation-displacement connectors. Ribbon cables attach components in high-density environments—the forebear of the FFC we talked about earlier. In this situation, the insulation is cut into by the IDC connector's blade and butts against the bare wire beneath.
This creates a gas-tight connection to reduce corrosion and increase connectivity. This IDC or insulation-displacement contact and crimping are the more permanent of the solderless connection types.
Blade and Beam
Technically, most power plugs fall into the category of a blade connector, but not always. A blade connector is most often seen in automotive connections, such as a Molex connector.
This is very common in RV and towing applications and high power connections where a good contact in rugged situations is necessary. This is why it's used in most power plugs for appliances in the USA, UK, and others.
Custom High-Quality Interconnect Pins Manufacturer
How does pin insertion save money and time on manufactured products—for example, smoke detectors? How can you leverage your manufacturer of custom interconnect pins?
The best way for an engineer or designer to save on cost is to design for assembly (DFA) or for manufacturing (DFM). Pin insertion directly into a PCB is one way to eliminate the need to use a premade connector (which has plastic and labor included in it). Then if there are specific mating requirements, you can use your plastic housing to add those features and mating with the connector. Pin insertion is only one aspect of how you can design your part for assembly, instead of function alone.
Simplifying your design for mass production methods is something a custom high-quality interconnect pins manufacturer and partner can advise you with. This way you won't increase the unit price or decrease product quality or function.
Custom designs for interconnection, such as with a fire alarm/hazard monitoring sensor, allow you to have a permanently fixed base on a surface with a replaceable unit. These sensors must be replaced every 10 years and may need maintenance or replacement before then.
The installed permanent base may remain while the unit is replaced, serviced, or tested, and reinstalled a number of times. This can all be due to a custom interconnect connector made for function and assembly in a simplified design.
Leveraging Your Position Using a Custom Pin Manufacturer
Custom interconnect pin systems can be difficult to design from scratch. This is where a high-quality interconnect pins manufacturer can assist your design team by giving advice and guidance, as well as expert execution on fabrication.
Bead Electronics has been working as a leader in custom connectors and pin design for decades. There's no reason to reinvent the wheel when it comes to custom design.
About Bead Electronics
Bead Electronics, is a global manufacturer of electronic connector pins and has been manufacturing in Connecticut for over 100 years. The award-winning company carries over 500 patents and is best known for inventing its manufacturing process called swaging. This process is a high-speed, virtually scrap-less, cold-forming process capable of producing a wide size range of metal electronic components that are consistent and cost-effective. The family-owned business is led by its fifth generation. Click here to speak to a connector pin specialist today.