For the hard-working design engineer, choosing connectors can be a confusing process. Connectors are among the few components that are exposed to outside conditions from extreme temperatures and storms to typical wear and tear. When combined with the variety of tasks that they need to fulfill, from power delivery to high-speed communications, the connector market represents a huge and bewildering array of choices.
Whatever their role or the environment in which they must perform it, the key purpose of connectors is to connect. While many are fixed to printed circuit boards, some of the most challenging applications are those that use a cable to provide connections between two points.
Cable Assembly Performance.
Creating a cable to connect two devices requires the engineer to be aware of many aspects of its performance. The key electrical characteristics – the current carried or the communication speed to be achieved – are fundamental to the success of the cable assembly. However, the designer needs to be able to understand the application for which it was designed.
For every connector, there is a suitable cable. However, just as it can be a complex task to select the right connector for a particular application, the choice of cable can also be confusing. Selecting the right cable requires the same knowledge of the design as the connector, but it can also be complicated by other factors.
For example, the choice of outer jacket material impacts not just the protection afforded to the conductors within, it can also affect the termination of the cable into the connector. Cable connectors that are used in tough environments are designed to protect their interior with robust housings and watertight seals.
The Buccaneer Family of Circular Connectors provides a good example. The screw-locking system, high quality materials and careful design of the Buccaneer can provide sealing up to IP69K. How the cable is terminated and sealed into the connector can have a major impact on how well the connector is sealed.
Sealing the Cable.
The cable entry of a connector like the Buccaneer is designed to accommodate a range of cable diameters. The gland within the connector housing is compressed during final assembly, creating a seal around the cable to prevent the ingress of water and other contaminants. If the gland and cable are not of similar dimensions, the seal will not be perfect.
Another consideration for the designer when it comes time to create a cable assembly is the investment required. To manufacture a cable assembly correctly requires a range of tools and test equipment that can be many times the cost of the connectors themselves. At no time is this more important than during the early stages of a product’s life, when low quantities of cables are required for prototyping and testing.
It should be no surprise that many customers choose to work with cable assembly partners when the time comes to create a new product. The customer can rely upon the experience and expertise of the cable assembler to create the solution. In addition, the cable assembler will have already made the investments in equipment and tooling essential to a well-terminated connector.
However, there may be occasions when a cable assembler is not able to provide the right service for a customer’s needs. This can be especially true when the customer requires a customised product, something that is not covered by the catalogue solution.
Bulgin – The Ideal Partner.
Bulgin has nearly a century of experience in creating customised connector products. These can take many forms, from a connector with a non-standard contact arrangement to a housing that has been extended to provide room for active components.
Bulgin has taken this expertise and applied it to the challenges of creating cable assembly solutions by providing the Custom Cable Builder. This online tool gives users the ability to specify connectors and cables according to their needs.
The Custom Cable Builder uses the Buccaneer Circular Connector family as its foundation. The Buccaneer family offers a versatile solution, with the choice of Power, Signal or Optical Fiber connections for use in harsh environments. It is available in a range of sizes and includes flex cable or panel mounted options.
The Solution You Need.
The new Custom Cable Builder allows the customer to configure a cable assembly tailored to their specific requirements. For conventional Power Connectors, the customer can specify the desired performance, including the number of contacts and the current rating, along with the cable type, to create a unique proposal that meets their needs.
The tool will also allow the creation of Data and even Optical Fiber cable assemblies, both of which take advantage of the robust waterproof design of the Buccaneer family of Circular Connectors.
The Custom Cable Builder allows customers to take advantage of the full spectrum of Bulgin’s capabilities to create customised products. When you need a solution that is tailored to your requirements and you cannot afford to compromise on performance, the Bulgin Custom Cable Builder will be the ideal tool to take the complexity out of cable design.