Addressing the need for quicker deliveries of fiber-optic connector assemblies, Amphenol Aerospace, a division of Amphenol Corp., recently named TTI, Inc. as its exclusive value-added assembler for its ARINC 801, MT, and CF38999 tight tolerance fiber-optic MIL-DTL-38999 Series III circular plug and receptacle connectors. These products are primarily used in commercial aerospace and military sectors across a variety of applications including avionics, in-flight entertainment, radar systems, sensor systems, and computers.
For the distribution industry, exclusivity for a product line is a big deal. Amphenol selected TTI for several reasons – its customer base, inventory position, and technical expertise. What also helped in the decision-making process is that TTI has been Amphenol’s leading distributor since 1996. The IP&E specialist has distributed Amphenol products since 1992, becoming the connector manufacturer’s number one distributor in only four years.
One of the biggest benefits of the partnership is TTI's ability to turnaround custom assemblies in any configuration in one week or under, as requirements continue to grow for high-speed communications in the commercial aerospace and military sectors. Lead times of one week is a standard build time for TTI, although fast turnaround orders can be done in three days.
“TTI has a presence in commercial aerospace and they’ve demonstrated an ability to sell into highly technical industries that need fiber optics,” said Jared Sibrava, director of Amphenol’s high-speed solutions business unit.
In addition, TTI has the inventory to provide the assemblies in all the different combinations that a customer might want and they can do it within one or two weeks, Sibrava added. “For a connector manufacturer like Amphenol, we build to order. We don’t keep a lot of inventory whereas TTI and other distributors do.”
“One of the biggest factors is that TTI has the inventory in place to build anything a customer wants. It takes Amphenol potentially 14 to 16 weeks to build it and TTI can do it within two weeks. It shortens lead times significantly,” he continued.
“We have all the inventory in place – shell sizes, platings, inserts, and termini - and one of only three machines that can be used to provide value-added assemblies for this product,” said Kenny Vigil, TTI’s director of mil/aero connectors. “Amphenol has the other two.”
With its investments in equipment, inventory position, and technical resources and fiber-optic knowledge, Vigil said TTI can turnaround assemblies in three days. “Although there isn’t an agreed amount of inventory to support this program, today we are in a very good position inventory-wise.”
For example, in terms of options for the ARINC 801 including shell materials, shell platings, shell styles, and insert arrangements, TTI has all of the inventory to build whatever the customer wants. TTI has inventory of stainless steel, composite, and aluminum shells as well as different plating options such as cadmium, electroless nickel, nickel Teflon, and black zinc, as well as nine different insert arrangements, Sibrava said.
“If you look at that [inventory] and how many different variations of the product exists, there are probably a million different part numbers you can put together when you factor in all of the different combinations of parts. They can build any one of those million part numbers within two weeks,” he added.
Speed of assembly is very important, said Sibrava. “Customers in this industry consider connector and cable manufacturers way down in the food chain so they place their orders late and they are very demanding. Having the ability to turn this type of product around quickly is a big deal.”
Amphenol tried to handle all of the assembly work but the volume of quotes coupled with the volume of part numbers was beyond the team’s bandwidth. “All of our customers want product quicker, and as a factory that builds to order we certainly are not set up to deal with a sub-eight-week lead time,” he added.
To support the partnership, Amphenol has a highly technical team of application engineers and product managers that works with TTI.