The Four Basic Stages Of Electronic Connector Production

- Oct 09, 2017 -

There are many kinds of electronic connectors, but the manufacturing process is basically consistent, which can be divided into four stages:
The Assembly

2.1 stamping
The manufacturing process of electronic connectors generally starts with the stamping pin. Through a large high speed press, electronic connectors (pins) are made of thin metal strips. The large part of the metal strip is fed to the front end of the press, and the other end is rolled through the hydraulic table of the punching machine, which is pulled out of the metal strip and rolled out of the finished product.

2.2 plating
The connector should be sent to the electroplating section. At this stage, the electrical contact surface of the connector will be coated with various metal coatings. A similar problem with the stamping stage, such as the distortion, fragmentation or distortion of the inserted needle, will also appear in the process of stamping the inserted needle into the plating equipment. This kind of quality defect is easily detected by the techniques described in this article.
However, for most machine vision system suppliers, many defects in the process of plating are in the "restricted zone" of the detection system. Electronic connector manufacturers hope that the detection system will detect various inconsistencies such as fine scratches and pinholes on the surface of the connectors. Although these defects are easy to be identified for other products, such as aluminum cans or other relatively flat surfaces; But because of the irregular and angular surface design of most electronic connectors, the visual detection system is difficult to obtain the images needed to identify these minor defects.
Because some types of pins need to be coated with layers of metal, manufacturers also hope that the system will be able to distinguish between various metal coatings to see if it is in place and that the ratio is correct. This is a very difficult task for a visual system using black and white cameras, because the gray levels of the different metal coatings are virtually the same. Although the camera of the color vision system can successfully distinguish these different metal coatings, the problem of lighting difficulties still exists due to the irregular Angle and reflection of the coating surface.

2.3 injection
The plastic box seat of the electronic connector is made in the injection molding stage. The usual process is to inject molten plastic into the metal membranes and then quickly cool it down. What happens when molten plastic doesn't fully fill the membrane? Quot; Short Shots, this is a typical defect that needs to be detected in the injection molding stage. Other defects include filling or partial blockage of the socket, which must be kept clean so as to be properly inserted at the final assembly. The machine vision system used for quality inspection after injection molding is relatively simple and easy because the backlight can easily identify the box seat leakage and plug hole plugging

2.4 the assembly
The final phase of electronic connector manufacturing is assembly of finished products. There are two ways to insert the plated pin and the injection box socket. Single insertion means inserting a pin at a time; The combination of the interpolation of multiple pins at one time with the box socket. In either way, the manufacturer requires that all pins be checked for missing and correct positioning during the assembly phase. Another type of routine detection is related to the measurement of the intersurface spacing of the connector.
As with the stamping phase, the assembly of the connector also presents a challenge to the automatic detection system. Although most assembly lines have one to two ticks per second, for each connector through a camera, the visual system usually needs to complete several different test items. Therefore, the detection speed becomes an important system performance index again.
After assembly, the size of the connector is much larger than the size tolerance allowed by a single pin. This also poses another problem for the visual inspection system. For example, some connector boxes have a size of more than a foot and have hundreds of pins, and the accuracy of each pin position must be within a few thousands of inches. Obviously, the detection of a foot-long connector cannot be completed on a single image, and the visual detection system can only detect the limited number of pins in a small field of view each time. There are two ways to test the entire connector: use multiple cameras (make the system more expensive); When the connector is passed in front of a camera, the camera can be triggered continuously, and the visual system will "sew" the single image of the continuous intake to determine whether the entire connector is qualified. The latter method is the test method that the PPT visual inspection system usually adopts after the connector assembly is completed.
The "True Position" test is another requirement of the connector assembly for the detection system. This "actual location" refers to the distance between the top of each pin and the specified design baseline. The visual detection system must make this fictitious baseline in the detection image to measure the "actual position" of each pin vertex and determine whether it meets the quality standard. However to delimit the baseline reference point is often not visible on the actual connector, or sometimes in the another plane to be in the same lens to see in the same time. Even in some cases you have to grind out the plastic in your connector box to determine the location of the baseline. There is indeed a related topic - detectable design.
Detectable design (Inspectablity)
The new machine vision system has been widely used because of the constant requirements of manufacturers to improve production efficiency and product quality and reduce production costs. As the various visual systems become more common, people become more familiar with the characteristics of such detection systems, and have learned to consider the quality of the products to be detectable when designing new products. For example, if you want a baseline to detect "actual location", you should consider the visibility of this baseline in your connector design.

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