Test & Measurement

Smiths Interconnect ensures reliable tests for factory automation

20th November 2023
Sheryl Miles

Test and measurement is a huge market segment including many sub-segments where continuous growth is driven by increased demand from the electronics and automation industry.

This article originally appeared in the Oct'23 magazine issue of Electronic Specifier Design – see ES's Magazine Archives for more featured publications.

Whether you are measuring forces, temperature, pressure, surfaces, speeds, flow rates, or movement each single component that is part of the testing device needs to achieve the highest quality standards to perform in such a demanding industry.

Testing for factory automation is one of the biggest portions of this industry and the automation technology never stops challenging itself as factory automation (or industrial automation) can improve the efficiency and reliability of process control systems leading to lower costs, improved quality, increased flexibility, and reduced environmental impact.


An international company specialising in the testing of ultrasonic transducers was looking for a reliable interconnect solution to support its future sensor requirement to increase production output. The solution was necessary to support devices under test including base adapter and test hardware boxes for industrial sensors used in factory automation equipment.

Ultrasonic testing (UT) comprises a range of non-destructive testing (NDT) techniques that send ultrasonic waves through an object or material. These high frequency sound waves are transmitted into materials to characterise the material or for flaw detecting.

Whether in challenging environments or in outdoor areas ultrasonic sensor systems are breaking new ground for safety applications. Machines and vehicles can be reliably protected using state-of-the-art ultrasonic technology and the advantages this brings.

The challenge and the solution

The new customer turned to Smiths Interconnect thanks to its heritage of high quality and reliable solutions offered to solve the challenging technical requests from customers. This time the challenge was to provide an interface connector mounted on a test hardware box to connect it to another test box, so it required frequent mating and unmating operations. As a result, apart from satisfying the technical RF requirement of data transfer of three different types of DC (from ±5V to ± 48V), all in a single connector, the key challenge was to get a durable solution with an efficient locking mechanism and a reliable contact technology.

As a result of strong collaboration between the engineering, product line managers, and sales teams, Smiths Interconnect was able to provide a solution that met the requirements set by the customer. Its cabled mini-modular N series connector fitted the panel mounting and cables and was able to support the various signal and RF transmissions.

The key aspects that made this solution successful were the high mating cycles of the connectors to provide stable connection thanks to the specialised Hypertac hyperboloid contact technology, the metal housing to withstand rugged operation and the right size on the dimension to be able to fit on the test hardware box. Additional features such as the alignment of the guide pin helped mitigate against damage due to aging and mishandling caused by human error.


High-quality connection solutions for precise measuring, testing, and examination are necessary to ensure perfect and reliable contact between the measuring instrument and the points, objects, and systems to be tested. This is what Smiths Interconnect is always aware of when facing a new product development opportunity for the test and measurement market segment and it is also the main reason for satisfaction when such high levels of quality and performance are achieved.

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