ITT’s VEAM Connector in Rail Applications
In the highly competitive world of train manufacturing, a product contract can be won or lost on the basis of both energy consumption and emissions of the product. Therefore, weight reduction and the applied cost benefits over the 30-year life cycle of a train are an increasingly important part of the bid process. There is growing demand to replace the relatively large heavy metal connectors inside the cable car with smaller and lighter ones that still meet the strict smoke- and fire-resistant standards mandated by the industry.
In order to fulfill these requirements for a train manufacturer, ITT’s Interconnect Solutions team created the VEAM Rectangular Plastic Connector, or VRPC Series. These flexible, plastic connectors are 80% lighter and 30% smaller than the previous metal form factor, so they will add little weight to the end equipment and can be used in designs with tight space restrictions.
Not quite common for plastic connectors, the VEAM Rectangular Plastic Connector is qualified for the industry-compliant IRIS rating for both smoke and fire resistance and is compliant to the latest fire NFF 16-101 and smoke emission standards NFF 16-102. The VRPC Series utilizes the proven Trident contact system that affords the customer a choice of machined, stamped, or coaxial contacts for use in the connector. The VRPC Series also takes advantage of an innovative grommet system that eliminates the need for filler plugs to meet an application’s sealing requirements. It is not common to find sealing capability options in rectangular connectors, and as a result, many customers find themselves designing in more expensive metal shell circular connectors for applications where sealing is required.
Additionally, a snap-in mechanism provides an audible confirmation when the connectors are mated, which is very useful in hard-to-see and -reach application areas because the sound of the connector mating may be the only positive way to quickly know if the connectors are mated properly.
As well as being smaller and lighter than metal connectors, the VRPC Series uses turned contacts to maintain signal continuity in a high vibration environment, making it ideal for rail cabin applications including air conditioning controls, doors, fire control systems, LCD displays, seats, shutters, signaling, and wipers.
Increasing its flexibility for a number of uses in the railway industry, the VRPC connector specifications can be adjusted to meet a variety of applications: qualified for industry-compliant NFF 16-101 and NFF 16-102 rating for both fire and smoke resistance; sealing or non-sealing; 500 mating cycles; turned or stamped contacts; six key options for polarization; and sealing IP67 or non-sealing.
By Mike Gardiner, Product Manager, ITT Interconnect Solutions