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EPP Europe P1.2020

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PCB + ASSEMBLY

PCB + ASSEMBLY Preventing electric vehicle recalls Improving electrical performance with the correct connectors The automotive industry continues to position itself at the forefront of technological developments and offers guidance for many other industries to follow. More recent developments in the automotive market have centred on electronic advancements, whether that be with driver/ passenger experience or due to safety critical developments and semi-autonomous driving features such as automatic braking and driver lane assistance, for example. Now, the focus is on the switch away from the internal combustion engine to environmentally conscious alternatives, most notably the electric vehicle (EV) and various hybrid options (HEV) and with this change comes even more challenges for electrical circuits, connectors and contacts. The advancements of the automotive industry has caused more challenges for the electrical circuits, connectors and contacts. Regardless of the industry, electrical contact lubricants are used to enhance the performance and reliability of electrical contacts and connectors. Originally invented in 1941 for improving the electrical performance and reliability of volume controls by Electrolube’s founder, the use of contact lubricants has spread far and wide into many different industries and has been a critical factor in the dependable performance of automotive components for decades. Source: Electrolube Improving electrical performance Contact lubricants are specially formulated greases and oils, designed to reduce friction and wear and enhance electrical performance of current carrying metal interfaces, such as those found in switches and connectors. As no metal interfaces are entirely even and smooth, when applied to such surfaces in thin films, they fill in all surface imperfections, in turn improving contact and electrical performance as well as prolonging the contact life by reducing hot spots, frettage and arcing. By filling in the air gaps between the contacts, contact lubricants dramatically increase the effective surface area, in turn preventing arcing and the related temperature rise and oxide formation. They also provide a barrier to airborne contamination and reduce the effects of friction by facilitating smooth movement. In addition, the use of contact lubricants is typically evaluated for their ‘feel’ characteristics, improving the quality of movement of a switch or in simple plastic-plastic contacts, for example. Whether the application is for interior components, such as air conditioning ventilation flaps; exterior components such as side mirror adjustments; or on critical contacts within the wiring harness; the applications for contact lubricants are ever increasing in line with the advancements in CASE technologies (Connected, Autonomous, Shared, Electric). Preventing failures in electrical systems There are 3 main ways in which contact lubricants are used in automotive applications: 1. To improve electrical transfer and reliability of the contact As already discussed, contact lubricants increase the contact surface areas by filling any gaps and reducing electrical resistance. Technology has spread into more safety critical operations within vehicles and with automotive recalls due to electronic components on the rise, it is imperative that these safety critical connections are maintained correctly. In a recent report by AlixPartners 1) , it was detailed that recalls to correct failures in electronic or electrical systems have grown 30 % a year in recent years. Such failures include issues with software and software integration; however, the vast majority of recalls are actually because of failures related to integrated electrical components. 38 EPP EUROPE April 2020

PCB + ASSEMBLY Source: Electrolube The comparison of electrical properties and plastics compatibility. As an IATF 16949 approved electro-chemical solution provider, Electrolube is often asked to help prevent such issues from occurring. The company also fully understands the impact that such failures can have on businesses, with costs coming from all areas, including the effect it has on brand reputation for the automotive manufac- REHM THERMAL SYSTEMS Years Meticulous protective coating with Protecto! The use of protective coatings improves the quality and durability of your products. Our Protecto selective conformal coating system protects sensitive electronic assemblies from damage by corrosion or other environmental influences. The multifunctional lacquer applicator enables all standard protective lacquers to be precisely applied by dispensing, spraying, jet or curtain coating – with absolute precision and reliability! The system also is available as a production line design with lacquer dryer. ProtectoXP Coating www.rehm-group.com Anzeige_EPP_Europe_Protecto_04_2020.indd 1 27.03.2020 11:23:50 EPP EUROPE April 2020 39