Do you need heavy duty connectors (HDCs) for harsh industrial applications? Maybe you need HDCs that can withstand high humidity, high temperatures, or electromagnetic interference (EMI). Maybe you need heavy duty connectors that withstand water, saltwater, particles, vibration, or impact instead. As explains, cable assembly designers have some key questions to ask and answer.

Housing Material

For starters, which housing material do you need? If your HDCs are for custom cable assemblies used with moving equipment, you may need a die-cast aluminum housing that’s impact-resistant and lightweight. In wet environments, plastic connectors are preferred because they won’t rust or corrode. If your design packs electronics into small spaces, you may need materials that provide EMI shielding instead.

Ratings and Standards

Do your HDCs need to meet Ingress Protection (IP) ratings or National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) standards? If so, which ones? IP ratings describe the level of protection that an electrical enclosure provides against solids and liquids. NEMA ratings also describe the environments where an enclosure may be used. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has numbered enclosure ratings, too.

Housing Size and Insert Types

With heavy duty connectors, housing size is generally a function of the pluggable inserts that are needed to carry power, signal, or data to and from factory equipment. Increasingly, modular inserts that support an integrated hybrid cable assembly are used. Options for insert types include RJ45, MT12, USB, D-sub, fiber optic, and pneumatic – just to name a few. Which housing size and inserts are right for your design?

Contact Types and Manufacturing Expertise

The use of different contact types also drives HDC selection for a custom cable assembly. Choosing the right manufacturing partner matters, too. If you’re building cable assemblies in-house, do you have the crimp tools and termination knowledge that you need? If you don’t, consider outsourcing your project to SHINE, a contract manufacturer that is tooled for many of the major industry interconnect suppliers. To get started, please contact us.