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Reliable, cost-effective connector system with DuPont

Du Pont Engineering Polymers : 29 March, 2004  (Company News)
For its new colour-coded Aqualok connectors, ITT Cannon uses DuPont
These single, twin and 51-pin connectors are the latest addition to ITT Cannon’s APD range of circular connector system, intended mainly for tractors, construction machinery and heavy-duty industrial applications.

Tractors made by the Case New Holland (CNH) group are among the first users of Aqualok connectors. For this application, the connectors are held on a custom-designed mounting base, made of glass-reinforced DuPont™ Zytel® nylon, allowing rapid yet foolproof assembly. The colour-coding system helps to differentiate the electrical circuits in field use and makes maintenance work easier.

Matthias Raithel from ITT Cannon’s Aqualok Project Management group says: “The single and twin-pin connectors of the Aqualok connector system, which we developed in our works here at Weinstadt [near Stuttgart], are for transmitting high-ampère current, which agricultural machinery needs for starting up. The 51-pin connectors carry signal current, to operate headlights, horn, direction indicators and other ancillary functions.

“These 51-pin connectors have multiple poles in a limited space, so we need a resin with good mould-flow characteristics and outstanding dimensional stability, and it must be capable of accepting a permanent four-colour-coding system in clear, luminous colours.”

Together with DuPont, ITT Cannon chose Crastin® LW9030 for making the Aqualok connector. This glass-reinforced PBT has very low warpage, so that the matching male and female halves can always be easily connected and separated, whatever the outside temperature, without risk of damage to the contact pins. Crastin® also has good electrical properties, so that there are no tracking currents, even at high current flow rates.

The mounting base is made to CNH specifications. For this part ITT Cannon uses Zytel® 70G20HSL nylon, a heat-stabilised, glass-reinforced type designed mainly for automotive applications, both external and under-the-bonnet. This resin combines high flexibility with high rigidity. This combination allows the connectors to be pushed through the holes in the base without damage; snap-fit hooks are integrally moulded into the periphery of the holes, so that the connectors are firmly held.

“We optimised the geometry of the hooks with comprehensive FEM calculations,” Raithel continues. “Weld-lines are unavoidable around the holes in the base. However, using Moldflow studies at an early stage of the development, we positioned the weld-lines in such a way that they did not weaken the critical regions of the moulded parts.”

All the connector sizes are waterproof to IP 67 standard, ithstand continuous temperatures up to 125 °C, and are designed to maintain good electrical contact despite the extreme vibrations in a typical motor compartment. Thanks to the two DuPont resins, the whole connector unit withstands fuels, brake fluids, motor and gear oils, greases and other automotive fluids.

ITT Industries, Cannon is an international producer of connectors, cabling systems, switches and similar electrical components. It is part of ITT Industries Inc, a global development and production company with annual sales of 4.8 billion USD.

The DuPont Engineering Polymers business manufactures and sells Crastin® PBT, Rynite® PET and Thermx® PCT thermoplastic polyester resins, Delrin® acetal resins, Hytrel® thermoplastic polyester elastomers, Minlon® mineral reinforced nylon resins, Tynex® filaments, Vespel® parts and shapes, Zenite® LCP liquid crystal polymers and Zytel® nylon resins. These products serve global markets in the aerospace, appliance, automotive, consumer, electrical, electronic, industrial, sporting goods and many other diversified industries.
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