Leaks prevented by better design

Written by: Tom Shelley | Published:

Electrical connectors can be the weakest point in some sealed systems, whether they are automotive or industrial, and one of the most common causes of trouble is ingress by water.

Leaks prevented by better design

Problem:
Some connectors don't even attempt to exclude water and some pretend to but don't succeed very well - only a few really do ensure integrity.

Solution: Eureka recently had the chance to ask Robin Masterson, technical director of Bulgin, why his company's new Buccaneer 400 and 900 series connectors are able to prevent water ingress, even when immersed to an equivalent depth of 100m, while other products can't - even though they seem to have the same kind of face O-ring and cable seal arrangements.
He replied that the secret lay in the design.
First, his company used a good CAD system, Pro/
Engineer in this case, using the Pro/E models to produce the mould designs so that products are made exactly as intended. Second, his designers carefully analysed the deformation and grip achieved by the seals in order to conform to British and DIN standards; they used experience and information as opposed to finite element analysis.
Finally, the designs were rapid prototyped by PD Models in Hertford which took advantage of recent advances in SLA resins to produce samples that could be tested at full pressure.

Application: The IP68 Micro Sealed 400 series goes from 2 to 12 poles at currents up to 8A and voltages up to 250V while the 900 series goes up to 32A, 7 poles and 600V.
General industrial and commercial uses including commercial kitchens, process and traffic control, highway lighting, marine (they are used on the Raymarine Autohelm), rail test equipment, special purpose vehicles and automotive dashboard connectors. (www.bulgin.co.uk) TS


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