22. January 2016

Customised backplanes and integrated PCB solutions

HARTING has further invested in its HIS (HARTING Integrated Solutions) UK operation to expand its range of design and manufacturing solutions for both high-speed backplanes and high-power PCBs which integrate power connectivity.

Essentially, in designing and producing finished backplane assemblies to the highest specification and quality, the HIS facility is offering its customers an alternative to in-house manufacturing of PCB based solutions. To achieve these aims, the company has invested in the latest technology, from 3D CAD design equipment through to vapour-phase reflow soldering and automated inspection and test equipment. The company’s purpose-built 20,000 ft2 facility at Northampton with its 24-hour IPC certified direct workforce is capable of processing backplane assemblies measuring up to 1500 × 800 mm, and is fully accredited to the demanding IRIS (International Rail Industry Standard) as well as having its quality management system certified to ISO 9001:2008 (Fig.1).

The HIS philosophy is based around a 9-step value chain that summarises the processes involved in producing assemblies to the highest specification and quality:

  • Design and manufacture of connectors and application machines, for which the company can call on the global expertise and experience of the HARTING Technology Group
  • Overall Systems Integration and backplane application knowledge
  • Backplane/Systems design, simulation and validation, including Signal Integrity testing
  • Supply chain management
  • Component/connector assembly and inspection
  • Vertical integration, including adding new connectivity and additional components to the backplane
  • Full PCB net and functional testing
  • Multi-aspect value engineering
  • Product packaging and delivery, including specially designed packaging to ensure the safe carriage of large, heavy backplanes.

Cost reduction

A key element of the HIS offering is the potential for engineering-out product cost, made possible by the innovative use of the latest enclosure manufacturing methods and interconnection technologies which complement the benefits of high-performance backplanes.  For example, a PCB can offer improvements over manual wiring to IO connections such as a reduction in wiring effort and time and increased shock and vibration tolerance.

To address the challenge of putting power onto the PCB, HARTING Integrated Solutions has developed a range of customised connector solutions for interfacing power I/O to printed-circuit boards, which are increasingly being used to link power supplies and high-current signals to connected devices in addition to their normal use for carrying data. These include:

  • PCB adapters from the Han® modular program that can supply currents from 7.5 to 40 A to the PCB.
  • The Han-Fast® Lock connector that allows even higher currents of up to 60 A, and simply needs to be inserted into the drilled hole provided for the contact. It can be locked in place with a latching pin and released again if necessary. 
  • The compact har-flexicon® connector, which is rated for currents from 6 to 17 A, and is available in pitches of 1.27 mm, 2.54 mm, 3.50/3.81 mm and 5.00/5.08 mm. It is suitable for processing with reflow soldering, and is also field-installable. Both screwless push-in spring force and insulation displacement terminal technologies are available for single-strand wiring. 

The latest development, called HanOnBoard®, is based on Han® connectors which are connected with a PCB using an adapter via which data, signals and power are then quickly and reliably distributed (Fig.2). The solution is compact and weight-saving and susceptibility to shock and vibration is minimised.

Customised solutions

Alongside the expanded HIS operation, HARTING has also launched HARTING Customised Solutions (HCS), a global operation for producing custom-specific interconnection solutions. The HCS operation is part of a new global business unit, which HARTING has established to perform the central development and marketing of customised solutions relating to HARTING’s Connectivity & Networks operation.

The UK operation of HARTING Customised Solutions, also based in Northampton, will function 24 hours per day from Monday through to Friday. Custom configurations include kits of parts, I/O assemblies, prewired cables, enclosures, hood-to-hood assemblies, bulkhead assemblies, and complete box builds.

For customised cable assemblies, HARTING is bringing together its market leading connectors with expert local and global production capabilities. As a result, it is able to produce assemblies carrying any combination of power, control signals, embedded processor I/O, Ethernet communications, and data pulses.

In addition, the facility offers a range of services using advanced equipment including; AC/DC testing, pull testing, bespoke testing reporting, crimping and fibre optic processing services.

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