Connectors comply with the European REACH Regulation

12th July 2017
Anna Flockett

The world’s first manufacturer of MIL-DTL-38999 Series III connectors with Black Zinc Nickel plating, SOURIAU has created the connectors to comply with REACH Regulation and obtain certification from the US Defence Logistics Agency. Thomas Pichot, Manager of SOURIAU´s Aeronautics R&D Unit, and Nicolas Paumier, Product Manager, explain the update on the recent QPL certification.

Thomas Pichot said: “Our connectors receive a surface treatment to ensure that they deliver the level of corrosion resistance required to withstand demanding electrical conductivity environments. Until recently, this surface treatment included hexavalent chromium passivation. Because hexavalent chromium will soon be banned under the REACH Regulation, SOURIAU´s Champagné plant has set up a special production line for MIL-DTL-38999 Series III connectors with Black Zinc Nickel plating that does not use hexavalent chromium.”

MIL-DTL-38999 Series III connectors for military and commercial aerospace applications
Nicolas Paumier continued: “MIL-DTL-38999 Series III connectors are the major standard for circular connectors. They are a must for harsh environments, as they withstand temperatures of between -65 and 200°C and feature a screw lock to ensure excellent vibration resistance. They are available in nine shell sizes and 54 QPL layouts for signal, power, and high-speed data transmissions. The connectors that make up this vast range are used in civil and military aircraft.”

QPL certification
Pichot added: “SOURIAU´s MIL-DTL-38999 Series III connectors have been QPL certified for more than 20 years. We adapted our electroplated range so that the Black Zinc Nickel version of our connectors complies with the REACH Regulation. This entailed carrying out the tests required by the US Defence Logistics Agency (DLA) for QPL certification all over again. These tests demonstrated that our new REACH-compliant Black Zinc Nickel version is fully interchangeable, intermatable, and thereby completely backward compatible with cadmium versions already on the market."

Being the first manufacturer to obtain QPL certification for this new REACH-compliant surface treatment gives SOURIAU a head start. The company also intend to have the series certified to the EN 3645 standard that is currently under development.

REACH-compliant MIL-DTL-38999 Series III Black Zinc Nickel connectors
Paumier commented: “Connectors are highly critical passive components. In addition to QPL certification, most of our customers sometimes carry out their own levels and types of inspections. The performance characteristics of our new REACH-compliant MIL-DTL-38999 Series III Black Zinc Nickel connectors are identical to those of the current Black Zinc Nickel version.”

QPL certification is the starting point of a series of investments for producing this solution.

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