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In an electronic world where the demand from engineers and makers for more rugged connectors is high, overmolded connectors must be considered serious contenders when making the decision on which connector is the most fitting.

Overmolding is the process in which brings together two separate parts of materials in combination to form one piece. The substrate (the first part of the puzzle) is usually covered by following materials or the overmold material. In connector basics, the cable assembly is placed inside a mold. Adding a layer of protection to the outside of the cable, including sealing the cable and connector together to form one, impenetrable piece. There is a variety of different materials that are used to overmold which allows for more protection and resistance to specific environmental factors, such as exposure to extreme heat.

What are the benefits?

  • Elimination of secondary assembly operations reduces costs: Since the end product is one solid piece, it stops the need of secondary assemblies. Which in turn, lowers costs.
  • Higher degree of water ingress proofing and shock resistance: The overmold cuts allows for more protection.
  • Increased toughness.
  • Increased chemical resistance.
  • Lightweight and less bulky: Elimination of secondary assemblies mean that naturally, the end product is lighter
  • Products can be better insulated.
  • Minimisation or even elimination of sharp edges: Creating a casing around the whole product, the overmold can create a protection that covers sharp edges.
  • Almost instantly ready to use: No need for extra assembly means your product is ready to go almost instantly.
  • Increased mechanical strength.
  • One solid piece.


Harsh weather protection
Without proper safeguards in place, harsh weather, repeated friction, extreme temperatures and exposure to chemicals can significantly reduce the lifespan of your design. Overmolding creates an increased rugged barrier around your electrical connections that are the most crucial to your design. To prevent corrosion and other physical damages, the materials that are used in overmolding are specific to the application, for example:

Plastic substrate, plastic overmold

To start, a plastic substrate is molded to create the first piece. Another rigid plastic is molded around the substrate.

Metal substrate, plastic overmold

The metal substrate will be cast or formed and then plastic is molded around the metal. To put this into perspective, general examples of this include scissors and screwdrivers.

Connector protection in smaller places

When electrical connectors are used in any design, storing and protecting components is imperative. An advantage of using an overmolded connector means that space can be saved. Enclosures can prove to be bulky and require a lot of space but overmolded connectors typically mean that there is a smaller cable assembly, enabling smaller designs. Protection from shock or vibration is also key. Compromise can result in serious failure. That is, unless proper measures are taken during the design phase. When a critical electrical connection is overmolded, plastic resin fills spaces around the internal components. With no space or air gaps, the components cannot shift or move.

Applications

Overmolded rugged connectors are ideal for extreme weathers. This also means that they are perfect in wash downs, constant sanitation and frequent strain applications, underwater and above water. Consumer electronics, medical equipment and industrial applications are also popular applications alongside construction applications.

Bulgin offers a wide range of overmolded connectors including the 400 Series Buccaneer.

The 400 Series Buccaneer is ideal for designs requiring a small footprint and is one of our most compact connectors within the Buccaneer range. Taking a selection of great features and specifications from the larger Buccaneer family, the 400 Series miniature power and data connectors condense them into a compact form factor giving engineers greater flexibility.

400 Series Buccaneer

With a lightweight, rugged construction, these easily installable connectors with IP68 and IP69K ratings, these sealed circular plastic connectors offer highly reliable power connections for use within medical, industrial, infrastructure and automotive applications where space is limited. Scoop proof contacts designed into the connector assist when blind mating, preventing damage to pins and connectors.

Condensing the same robust features of Bulgin's larger Buccaneer range into a compact form factor, the 400 Series gives engineers greater flexibility for designs and applications requiring a small footprint. Taking into consideration the connector size, to have the capacity of cable diameter ranging from 3mm - 7mm is extremely impressive.

Other overmolded connectors from Bulgin include the Mini USB & SMB, Standard Buccaneer, 6000 Series and Ethernet (Plastic).

For more information on Bulgin connectors, please visit the Bulgin website.

For expert advice and discussion, please visit the Connectivity Community.