You may know molded connectors are a good option for harsh environments, but you may not know what to look for when specifying one in particular. Remke shares five things to know about molded connector construction to help you design your next solution.
Remke Industries suggests five criteria to use in evaluating molded connectors for your next design:
1. Extreme environments demand tough materials.
Corrosion, abrasives, liquids, heat, cold, and stress due to constant motion must be considered when choosing a molded connector. No matter how demanding your application can be, the right materials for construction will make all the difference. And don’t forget about NEMA and IP ratings – they should be one of the key specifications for your connector. Standard materials include TPE, PUR, PVC, and nylon. Higher-rated materials include polyurethane, polyester resin, and silicone. If you need a waterproof molded connector, look for one that has an O-ring with locknuts to create the tightest seal possible.
2. Contact materials seal the deal.
While the overmold to the connector protects it from the surrounding environment, the right contact materials keep power flowing properly through the connection. Standard options for molded connector contacts include brass, copper, and nickel, which are best for controlled environments and general industrial applications. If you have environmental concerns, consider gold-plating or copper alloys to deliver increased conductivity in low-voltage and corrosive applications.
3. Strain relief is important for long-term reliability.
When molded connectors take abuse from bending and flexing with a piece of equipment, extra strain relief should be used. A cord grip or wire mesh grip will provide pull-out protection, even in vertical runs or in environments where extreme flexing and movement occur.
4. Little extras go a long way.
Extra options for molded connectors will help you get the long-term performance you need and reduce maintenance along the way. Here are three of the options at the top of the list:
- “Ribs” molded into the exterior housing increase grip surface and reduce slip-offs or the need for special disconnection tools.
- When the entire connector is molded to the cable, it is extra durable in any environment.
- LED lights make it easy to see if the connection is live or not.
5. Distribution boxes make installation and maintenance simple.
Using distribution boxes simplifies installation and maintenance in environments where multiple connections are needed to control power, conserve space, or change components in seconds. Simply terminate multiple connections into one box, and wire the box to the power supply.