New floating connectors from Harwin support high-speed automated manufacture

19th March 2024
Paige West

Harwin has introduced a new series of board-to-board connectors designed to meet the requirements for data and power transfer in high-performance applications.

These connectors are engineered to absorb small movements across multiple axes, thereby supporting high-speed automated assembly processes and improving resistance to shock and vibration throughout their operational lifespan.

The Flecto floating connector family, now available, provides up to 160 contacts in a symmetrical double-row configuration. Customers can choose from three sizes of miniature pitches: 0.5, 0.635, and 0.8mm. The Flecto connectors accommodate up to ±0.5mm movement in both the X and Y axes, ensuring precise alignment of multiple connectors between two PCBs, where total misalignments might otherwise pose challenges for high-speed, high-precision connections.

This flexibility in positional tolerance significantly boosts system reliability by preserving the integrity of connections during shocks and vibrations and minimises the risk of degradation or failure due to fretting. Fretting occurs when prolonged vibration causes plating to wear off rigid mating pins, exposing the base alloy to potential oxidation.

Flecto connectors facilitate board-to-board mating heights as low as 7.2mm and support data transfer rates up to 12Gbit/s. The 0.5mm pitch variants include additional power pins capable of handling currents up to 3A. The range features vertical and horizontal female connectors, enabling parallel or perpendicular board connections. Flecto signal-only connectors are equipped with location pegs or posts to prevent movement during solder reflow, whereas mixed signal and power connectors have through-board solderable posts for location precision and increased mechanical strength. Some connectors in the series come with shrouded contacts to prevent accidental damage in the absence of a mating connector, and others include polarisation within the shroud to ensure uni-directional mating.

“Growing demand for multiple connectors per board pair increases the potential for mechanical alignment issues due to the capabilities of automatic pick-and-place systems and the associated reflow process, which can cause connectors to experience unintended strain,” says Ryan Smart, Harwin’s Vice President of Product. “In addition, once systems are in the field, many connectors are subject to stresses resulting from short-term or long-term exposure to shock and vibration."

“Thanks to their innovative spring-like suspension mechanism, Harwin’s new Flecto family allows OEMs to address both these challenges with a comprehensive choice of fine-pitch, high-pin-count, high-performance board-to-board floating connectors for both data and power transfer.”

The Flecto range is suited for a broad array of applications, including factory automation, electric vehicles, LED displays, security cameras, IoT devices, data communications, and numerous embedded systems.

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