As demand for electronics components that can be used in harsh environmental conditions continues to increase, interconnect, passive and electromechanical device (IP&E) manufacturers are developing more designs that operate in a wide range of harsh environments, and quite often, also deliver smaller form factors to fit into space-constrained systems and applications. Demand also continues to grow for high-temperature applications, resulting in the need for components that can operate in temperatures up to 200 °C and 250 °C.
IP&E manufacturers also are using partnerships as a way to add value and ensure availability of these tough components. As an example, TE Connectivity recently signed FCI as a second source for its Industrial Mini I/O Connectors. The Industrial Mini I/O connector is only one quarter the size of the conventional RJ45 plug and is built to meet the stringent demands of an industrial and high vibration environment, providing reliable connections.
Electronic component manufacturers also work closely with distributors to ensure faster delivery of components that require assembly to meet customer specifications. One of those partnerships is between TTI and Amphenol Socapex. TTI recently expanded the value-added assembly and connector solutions (VAD) range for the Amphenol Socapex PT/451 series connectors with black zinc nickel plating.
Designed for use in harsh environments, such as military ground vehicles, marine equipment, oil & gas, as well as industrial outdoor applications, the PT/451 MIL-DTL-26482 Series black zinc nickel-plated connectors can be exposed to salt spray for 200 hours and offer protection from dust and fluids. They also are designed for an operating temperature from -55°C up to +125°C.
Here’s a sampling of devices including chip resistors, wire-to-board connectors, HMI controls, pressure and position sensors, power supplies, and common mode choke coils that can withstand harsh environmental conditions.
Earlier this year, Hoffmann – Krippner Inc. introduced a wide range of rugged linear variable differential transformer (LVDT) sensors from its German partner company INELTA for contactless and wear-free path and position detection. The LVDT sensors operate on the principle of the differential transformer and are suitable for many applications, such as medical technology, industrial, seafaring, testing, machinery construction, special purpose machines and agriculture. These LVDT sensors are suitable for use in harsh environments thanks to the housing made from chemically nickel-plated steel with IP65 protection (optional IP68) and a temperature range of -25 to +85°C.
For high-temperature applications that call for transducers, TE Connectivity recently added its MHR-T Series of high-temperature, miniature LVDTs to its line of linear displacement sensors. The LVDTs withstand temperatures over a range of -20 °C to +200 °C. With a diameter of 9.5 mm (3/8-inch), these high-reliability position sensors can accurately measure displacement in space-constrained applications including process controls, automation and robotics as well as chemical plants, hydraulics and power turbines. In addition, they feature a rugged, corrosion-resistant aluminum construction that withstands elevated temperatures as well as high shock and vibration. Other key specs include a wide range of strokes from ±0.025 to ±1 inch, and AC operation from 2 kHz to 20 kHz.
TE Connectivity also offers a pressure sensor that delivers a small profile in a rugged housing to provide accurate measurement in harsh environments. The backside compensated, headerless 86BC pressure sensor features a 16 mm-diameter package, making it a compact and low-cost solution for O-ring mounting or OEM applications where compatibility with corrosive media is required, the company said. Applications include medical instruments, process control and pressure transmitters, as well as measurement in fresh water, wastewater and for partial vacuum gas. They also can be used in RV and industrial tank level systems.
Encased in a rugged 316L stainless steel housing, the 86BC sensor features a wide compensated temperature range of -20 °C up to 85 °C and an extended operating temperature of -40 °C to 105 °C. It is available in both gauge and absolute with standard pressure ranges from 0-15 psi to 0-100 psig and from 0-1 bar to 0-28 bar, respectively.
Also targeting high-temperature applications are the new Vishay Foil Resistors (VFR) from VPG Foil Resistors. Expanding the VFR brand, the new series of ultra-high-precision Z1 Foil Technology wraparound surface-mount chip resistors are designed for high-temperature applications to +225 °C. The wraparound resistors also feature gold-plated terminals. The FRSG Series devices offer low TCR of ±2.5 ppm/°C maximum from -55 °C to +200 °C, +25 °C ref.; tight tolerances to ±0.01%; and load-life stability to ±0.1% after 2,000 hours of working power at 200 °C. These resistors are optimized for down-hole drilling, oil and gas exploration, and avionics, military, and space (AMS) applications.
Other key specs of the Z1 resistors include a resistance range from 10 Ω to 125 kΩ, with any ohmic value within this range — to six digits — available with no additional cost or extended lead time. Available in six case sizes from 0603 to 2512, the devices provide working power to 750 mW at +70 °C and 300 mW at +200 °C.
In some cases, component manufacturers, such as AVX, will offer applications-based catalogs to help buyers select the right hi-rel component. AVX recently introduced its High Temperature Solutions catalog that provides detailed information about its passive component solutions for high-temperature applications up to 250°C, including down-hole oil exploration, military, and aerospace. The company’s high temperature components include tantalum capacitors, surface mount ceramic capacitors, switched mode power supply (SMPS) capacitors, glass capacitors, RF/microwave capacitors, circuit protection and signal integrity devices, NTC thermistors, and advanced EMI filters.
In the connector space, ERNI combines small size and durability with the launch of its MaxiBridge 2.54-mm wire-to-board connector system. The new dual-row - 10-pin or 20-pin - connectors offer a current carrying capacity of up to 12 A per contact on a 2.54-mm grid for heavy-duty and space-saving connections. They are available in vertical and right-angle versions and 2 x 5 and 2 x 10 positions. The MaxiBridge connector system features a molded-in active latch with an audible click confirmation that ensures proper connection between the plug and receptacle, as well as dual buttons for release. “This dual latch configuration ensures ruggedness and reliability in high-vibration applications, without compromising valuable board space,” said ERNI.
The RoHS-compliant MaxiBridge is guaranteed for up to 500 mating cycles and accommodates wire gauges from AWG 18 to AWG 26. Other features ensure error-free mating, easier integration, and safety for the end user. Applications include automotive (tested to the LV214 automotive vibration specifications), consumer, industrial, lighting, medical, telecom and transportation.
For industrial applications, the EAO Series 45 HMI controls target harsh requirements in machinery. The modular series offers customization to meet requirements for main operator panels, operator devices, and handheld control units. In addition, the controls also help with “easy and reliable” integration of machine interfaces into communication systems that often are not located near the central control system. The series is rugged up to IP69K and offers up to 10 million switching cycles.
Also targeting industrial application as well as a range of medical and other high-reliability systems is the Xsolo power supplies from Excelsys Technologies. The company recently expanded the family of 1U, ultra-compact, single-output modular power supplies to include 36-Vdc output versions. These new models extend the applications for the Xsolo series into a wider range of industrial, medical and high-reliability applications. These include solid-state and fiber lasers, motors and robotics drives, battery charging, 28-V MIL COTS applications, GaN RF power amplifiers, valves and servos, piezo devices in ultrasonic imaging and therapy, large-scale print head drivers, and gimbal positioning.
The Xsolo line is available with DC output voltages of 24V, 36V or 48V—all with wide adjustment ranges and ultra-high efficiency up to 92%, said Excelsys. The line is available in two models - a convection-cooled, 504W open-frame U-channel form-factor, and up to 1008W in an enclosed fan-cooled chassis. Both models carry a five-year warranty.
The Xsolo series has dual safety agency certification: EN60950 for industrial applications and EN60601-1, 3rd Edition for Type B and BF medical applications. It is also compliant with the semiconductor manufacturing standard SEMI F47, all relevant EMC emission and immunity standards, MIL810 shock and vibration, and operational altitude to 5000 meters.
Designed for harsh operating environments, the miniaturized PLT5BPH Series of common mode choke coils from Murata Americas targets automotive noise suppression applications. Murata developed the wire wound-type common mode choke coil for power line noise suppression capable of handling large currents (up to 5.6A). It offers a wide operating temperature range (-55°C to 150°C) as more manufacturers position electronic components closer to the engine or transmission in denser circuits for more precise control, the company said. It also can be used in base station and set-top-box applications.
Passive component manufacturers also are developing specialty-type components for automotive applications. One example is sulfur resistant chip resistors. While sulfur contamination has primarily been an issue in the automotive industry, it has migrated into other applications in high-sulfur environments. Some of these new devices are available from Stackpole Electronics and Vishay Intertechnology.
With growing requirements for components that meet harsh environmental conditions that include extreme temperature ranges as well as high vibration and shock in automotive, industrial and other high-reliability applications, buyers can expect a wider selection of products heading into 2016.