Modular connectors, like those manufactured by ODU-USA, allow different connector modules—fiber optic, coax, power, pneumatic, data and signal—to be inserted into one connector housing. This saves space and reduces the need for hardwiring, thus streamlining design.
Key to ODU’s MAC (Modular Attachable Connector) design is the use of the company’s Springtac springwire technology. Developed by ODU’s founder, Otto Dunkel, the Springtac system features individually suspended springwires for a high number of contact surfaces. This innovative design offers high mating cycles, vibration resistance and is used in most of ODU’s lines.
In addition to increasing the surface area, the Springtac system lowers contact resistance and increases mating life cycles for up to 100,000 cycles, said John Hauger, MAC product manager.
These rugged modular connectors from ODU are used heavily in cleanrooms, testing, medical and manufacturing, where numerous connections and disconnections need to be made. They are available in sizes ranging from 28 gauge to 50 mm2. Hauger said that ODU is able to make connections in the smallest 28-gauge design because of the dense form factor allowed by the Springtac system.
Additionally, MAC connectors offer high current carrying capacity up to 2,000 A and low insertion forces and contact resistance. They have a large number of independent cushioning contact springs as well as secure contacting and high resistance to vibrations and impacts.
Rated at IP68, these self-cleaning spring wires are ideal for use in rugged and dirty environments, said Hauger, as the multiple connection points increase reliability.
Housings feature an aluminum frame for automatic docking. ODU’s Alu-S frame features two end pieces and two rails with guiding and mounting hardware. The receptacle on the S frame generally has a fixed mounting position while the plug frame can be mounted in a floating position to allow for misalignment. This accepts between 3 and 60 units, allowing up to 600 contacts to be assembled. For limited space, the Alu-M is available, while the Alu-L is designed for more stringent requirements for a floating mounting. The Alu-P is best for increased mechanical loads.
Because they are designed for man-made versus machine-made connections, the housings are designed to lock easily in either a lever-lock or spindle locking system. More force is required on the lever lock design, while a quick and easy hand-turn torque can lock and click regardless of the force used, said Hauger. However, the spindle design requires more space than the lever lock. And because it is designed for up to 30,000 locking actions, they do cost more than the lever lock.