Diversified demand, connector innovation contest
Date: 2015-01-06 14:22:11


According to the survey report of Bishop & Associates, since the first half of 2014, the global connector industry has shown a strong growth momentum, and the annual market sales revenue is about 52.93 billion US dollars, an increase of about 8.3% compared with the same period of the previous year. Looking forward to the new year, some industry insiders pointed out that mobile terminal markets such as smart phones are still in a stage of rapid development. At the same time, the application demand in the industrial field is gradually increasing, which makes the connector industry expected to continue to maintain steady growth and product prices. The range is also relatively stable.

On the other hand, the local competition in the connector market increasingly reflects the characteristics of globalization. The declining price constraints and production outsourcing make the world smaller and smaller. The market is always looking for better and more cost-effective solution. In view of the current market supply and demand changes, Daryl Lim, senior market supplier manager of TTI Asia, concluded: "The ability to innovate products is very important. The products of different manufacturers must have differentiated characteristics, will not be easily replaced, and become more Smaller and more cost-effective; in addition, it is also necessary to ensure that products can be quickly introduced into final production from the design stage."

Miniaturization competition enters 0.01mm level

For connector manufacturers, the first challenge is how to make the size of the connector smaller. "Taking mobile electronic products as an example, when connecting two small PCBs, there are four important specifications recognized by the industry," said Zheng Xiangyang, general manager of Shenzhen Zimmer Technology Development Co., Ltd., "They are: low side high , the stack height (H) is less than 1.00mm; shallow depth, the narrow width of the connector is less than 3.00mm; small footprint, that is, the end-to-end size of the connector (varies with the size of the circuit); small pitch, center-to-center contact point spacing of 0.40mm or less."

In this context, the development focus of connector products includes the miniaturization of I/O (such as USB and HDMI) connectors, the miniaturization of memory card and identification card connectors, the smaller spacing of FPC/substrate-to-substrate connectors, Micro camera connector miniaturization, battery connector miniaturization, antenna product integration and miniaturization, etc. As the Chinese agent of TE Connectivity, Zimmer Technology launched the 0.25mm micro-pitch FPC connector (oblique plug type) products a few years ago, which can arrange the same number of lines on a smaller circuit board; August 2014 , TE again reduced the height of the plug-in Micro-SIM card connector from 1.24 mm to 1.18 mm to prevent an edge of the Nano-SIM card adapter from touching the contact end of the Micro-SIM card connector, causing The contacts are deformed and cannot function properly.

JAE Japan Aviation Electronics is a company with 61 years of experience in connector development. In October 2014, the company released the WP21 series board-to-board connectors for miniaturization, thinning and high-density mobile communication products. 0.35mm, the mating height is 0.6mm, and the width is 1.95mm. Based on the previous generation of products, the mounting area can be reduced by 10%, and the design freedom is improved. Tomohiko Tamada, General Manager of the Marketing and Communication Planning Department of JAE Hong Kong Aviation Electronics Co., Ltd., said: "Driven by the multi-functional trend of mobile communication terminals, the number of components and modules installed in the equipment has also increased accordingly. The requirements for and industry standard products are getting higher and higher. Customers want to use smaller, thinner (low height) connectors to save internal space. It means that in terms of board-to-board connectors, market applications are changing from 0.4mm The products with spacing are transitioning to 0.35mm." It is understood that in order to strengthen support for the Chinese market, in recent years, JAE has established marketing companies in Shanghai, Hong Kong and other places, and established production plants in Wuxi and Wujiang, especially the company An R&D center was established in Shenzhen, which can provide manufacturers with services such as product selection and scheme design.

When it comes to the main difficulties in the design of compact interconnect solutions, Zhuo Bingkun, Director of Molex Asia Pacific South Region and Marketing and Key Account Management, said: "In equipment with limited space, maintaining the highest level of signal and power The integrity of the antenna is critical. To this end, Molex uses a variety of breakthrough technologies such as laser direct structuring (LDS) to achieve the production of complex three-dimensional antennas, such as converting the three-dimensional design in the form of CAD data into a formed antenna bracket, Or directly into the device structure." At the end of this year, Molex developed a MicroSD/Micro-SIM combo connector. The function is combined into one, eliminating the need for additional secondary PCB design, saving up to 15% of the overall internal space for mobile devices.

USB 3.1 high-speed interconnection scheme launched

Another important development trend in the connector industry is that with the accelerated popularization of the USB 3.1 Type C standard in the mobile communication and automotive fields, in the external I/O interface part, connector products that support this standard specification gradually appear on the market . The application advantage of the USB 3.1 Type C connector is that it supports positive and negative insertion, the size is less than 8.3×2.5mm, it has a durability of more than 10,000 plugs and unplugs, it is more resistant to EMI and RFI, and the transmission speed can reach 10Gbps.

"The USB Association has further improved the high-frequency transmission standard, and the original general transmission interface rate can be increased, which is very difficult for the design and production of connector manufacturers." Yang Chaoqun, CEO of Hanquan Co., Ltd. said: " If the product passes all the tests, it needs the manufacturer to have considerable development experience before it can be designed and produced." At present, Hanquan has successfully launched waterproof connectors and high-speed transmission products, which can meet the waterproof requirements and ensure the use in high-speed networking environments .

Recently, TE's high-speed multiple input/output connector (HSMIO) is an innovative product, which has the shape of Micro USB 2.0 and the data transmission capability of USB 3.1. The interface is only 7.52mm wide, and it is compatible with the standard Micro USB 2.0 Likewise, a variety of pin configurations are available to meet customer needs for data transfer speed, video, and power. Zheng Xiangyang said: "HSMIO, a single connector, can complete high-speed data transmission, video and power supply, providing a number of industry-leading high value-added functions, including USB 3.0 (5Gbps) to USB 3.1 (10Gbps) Higher speed performance verification; efficient power supply capability, and external display connector functions including Mobility DisplayPort (MyDP) and mobile terminal high-definition audio and video standard interface (MHL), and can be backward compatible with standard Micro USB 2.0 interface.”

Rising demand for industrial applications

In addition to mobile communication products, some manufacturers reported that in the recent period, the demand for connectors in multiple industrial application fields, including automotive electronics, LED lighting, and industrial control, has shown a rapid growth trend. Zheng Xiangyang said: "This is due to the ongoing industrial restructuring in the Chinese market, and the transformation of the entire industry to high-end manufacturing; on the other hand, new energy, automobiles, robots, industrial automation and other industries have flourished in China. Connectors The reason why the market can obtain sufficient room for growth is closely related to these factors.”

Taking the LED lighting market as an example, Zheng Xiangyang further introduced that in the past, designers paid more attention to LED chips, drivers, heat dissipation and optics, while connecting components have been ignored or even ignored due to various reasons. Or unreliable connection leads to low production efficiency, unstable product quality, greatly affected mass production, and even affects the service life of the product. But now, due to changes in the LED lighting industry, such as increased output, lower prices, various on-site installation environments, and convenience, manufacturers must make corresponding adjustments to the application requirements of connectors.

The TE SMT SSL connector launched by Zimmer Technology has made manual soldering of LED modules a thing of the past. The outdoor waterproof connector developed by it is developing in the direction of safety certification, durable waterproof, and suitable for outdoors; The type base also makes it possible to mass-apply the integrated LED multi-chip COBs of CREE, Sharp, Citizen and other global brands. While improving production efficiency, it greatly improves the reliability, interchangeability and service life of products.

Regarding the LED market, Tomohiko Yutian also said: "With the increase in the consumption of lamps and lanterns at this stage, because before, the power supply connections inside lamps were mostly manual welding, which is prone to quality problems such as false welding, and is not conducive to large-scale production. , How to improve connection reliability and reduce man-hours has become a topic." For this reason, JAE has developed a connector that only needs to be inserted into a single wire without an insulator. It is the smallest single-wire cable specification 1PIN connector in the industry. Soldering the cables on the substrate greatly reduces man-hours, and the small and narrow design also saves space and enhances the degree of design freedom.

At the same time, automobiles and industrial control are currently hot markets that connector manufacturers focus on. For example, connectors for vehicle cameras developed by JAE, non-waterproof connectors for miniaturized SRS airbag ECUs, and connectors for charging piles for EV new energy vehicles. TE launched the Dynamic signal and power connector series for the industrial automation field, the new product M8/M12 connector system developed for the mechanical industrial automation and control application market, and the ARISO non-contact interconnection system aimed at emerging markets such as robots, etc. .

Strengthen customized design and service

Connector design is more and more involved in the development of complete machine products, which has become the general trend. Zheng Xiangyang emphasized that, especially in the Chinese market, many industries are facing the problem of industrial upgrading (or product upgrading). During the process of industrial or product upgrading, product design often encounters new problems that require new solutions. This is also reflected in the demand for connector products, which makes it very important and necessary for connector manufacturers to participate in customers' new product designs. If you can't participate in the customer's product design, it will hinder the connector manufacturers from understanding the market demand, unable to keep pace with the development of the industry, and may even be eliminated by the wave of industry or product upgrades.

According to reports, Zimmer Technology has always maintained close cooperation with TE's product departments, and usually starts to intervene in the early stage of customer projects. The company's FAE and related engineers discuss connector solutions with customer engineers, and if necessary, the original factory engineer Get involved in the design process. While ensuring the effectiveness and reliability of the connector solution, we will provide customers with personalized solutions when necessary, and redesign the solution according to customer needs to meet some customized needs of customers in the design of complete machine products. Further enrich the product library of the original factory, forming a "win-win" situation.

In terms of product supply and service, it is also an important task for many connector distributors to provide customers with unique and tailored services and support. Daryl Lim, senior market supplier manager of TTI Asia, said that the company can currently provide 24-hour internal network procurement, planning channels, inventory and other services, and also provide long-term inventory, barcode traceability, straight-line supply and consignment inventory for special products. The company has established a selected supplier system and only purchases directly from authorized suppliers, which eliminates the risk of counterfeit and inferior products, and has full traceability. At the same time, it obtains competitive prices through bulk commodity negotiations. At present, in the consumer electronics market, TTI's main products include ultra-small connectors, I/O connectors, memory cards, SIM cards, camera sockets, antennas, etc.; in the field of communications, TTI's new Molex TEN60 and Powermass board-to-board Power connectors can help customers customize their own data communication or telecom power supply, and customers can also design their own board-to-board connectors according to specific requirements such as matching configuration, solder pin type, signal pins and power modules.

"Only by serving customers well and helping them succeed can we grow together." Said Yang Siyuan, Manager of Heilind Asia Pacific Representative Office: "In addition to participating in the service of customers' mass production orders, we have tens of thousands of samples in stock. , can provide free samples to local customers in the Americas and Asia to speed up the response.Secondly, in terms of FAE support services, in China alone, we added 2 senior FAE personnel in December to help local customers solve their problems In the future, we will hire more industry elites to provide customers with satisfactory services. In terms of cooperation with suppliers, we will also incorporate their latest products into the inventory system as soon as possible. In our It is easy to see relevant specifications, unit price, quantity and other valuable information in the electronic mall, which is convenient for engineers to select and purchase.” According to another introduction, the current key development areas of Heilind Electronics include industrial control, medical The market of equipment, automobiles and peripheral products is on the rise, and the investment in the market has been gradually increased in the central, western and northern regions of the country.

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