The ODU-MAC® ZERO modular hybrid connector sets a new standard for form and function.
ODU has been awarded the prestigious 2018 German Design Award for its ODU-MAC® ZERO connector. The prize, awarded by the German Design Council, an international foundation dedicated to promoting design and brand development, honors products and projects across industries that demonstrate exceptional standards of innovative design.
The ODU-MAC® ZERO connector is a mini hybrid connector in a plastic housing. Its symmetrical housing geometry enables up to nine units of signal, power, data-rate, and coax modules, and it can be used in industrial, test and measurement, and medical equipment. It features a sleek, lightweight, and ergonomic design with a high-density format and an innovative locking technology with emergency release. For these and other reasons, ODU received the new recognition in the product design category.
We talked to Bernhard Säckl, head of product management, rectangular connector at ODU GmbH & Co, about the honor.
Connector Supplier: How unique is this connector in its design category?
Bernhard Säckl/ODU: The ODU-MAC® ZERO is quite unique because most objects nominated for the German Design Award are things you can see and use; for example, a stylish watch or a trendy cargo bike. A connector isn’t something you would usually pay attention to. In a medical setting, for instance, a patient would notice it only if he or she designs or builds connectors. The medical staff would only notice because they have other issues in focus. This connector enables them to keep the focus where it belongs, on the patient.
Connector Supplier: What problems with existing products compelled your team to design a new solution?
Bernhard Säckl/ODU: We were able to significantly reduce the size of the connector while combining several different media, which eliminates the need for excessive connections and simplifies the overall system. Another clear target was to design an ergonomic solution. In place of a metal frame, the plastic housing parts have integrated rails, making the use of magnetic components unnecessary. This has numerous benefits in terms of reducing the size of the connector, interference, and concerns associated with exposed to metals in a medical setting.
Connector Supplier: The German Design Award committee puts a special focus on “German and international design.” What qualities make this product distinctly German in nature?
Bernhard Säckl/ODU: The ODU-MAC® ZERO was designed and made in Germany — in Bavaria, to be exact — and that is something special. We don’t only talk about quality, we actually make it here at ODU in Mühldorf am Inn. We can see and monitor each single step in the production. You can’t get more quality than that.
Connector Supplier: How did the design team approach the issue of ergonomics?
Bernhard Säckl/ODU: A lot of ODU know-how and experience goes into the design process. We know our customers very well and we work closely with the users who work with the connector every single day to make sure we anticipate their needs. We also make certain our products exceed the technical and safety requirements. A balanced combination of these factors makes a perfect connector.
Connector Supplier: What markets does this product serve?
Bernhard Säckl/ODU: It can be used in a variety of industrial applications, test and measurement, and medical products. It’s especially well suited to medical applications because its housing design is very easy to clean, and can be custom-made in bio-compatible materials. The new locking technology with emergency release is another unique design feature, and all the touchable parts are nickel-free.
Connector Supplier: How will winning this award impact future ODU designs?
Bernhard Säckl/ODU: We are, of course, proud to win this award. It is good for ODU to be recognized for its efforts, and for our customers to know they are getting an exceptional product. If you have an ODU connector, you have the best quality you can get. “With ODU inside, you’ve got the best inside.”
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