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Connection systems Micro parallel board connectors – Smaller, smarter and faster

| Autor / Redakteur: Herbert Endres * / Kristin Rinortner

Today’s devices require a concept of few components and simple assembly steps. In addition connector suppliers need profound experience in order to manufacture miniaturized components.

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Future of Micoelectronics: Micro-miniature parallel board connectors connecting devices and save space and weight. It needs experience in manufacturing and knowledge of processing micro-devices to develop these connectors.
Future of Micoelectronics: Micro-miniature parallel board connectors connecting devices and save space and weight. It needs experience in manufacturing and knowledge of processing micro-devices to develop these connectors.
(Bild: Molex)

The future of microelectronics is not only in more powerful mobile phones, which we previously named cell phones, then smartphones and finally we call them by their brand name. We put this name now under each and every email (Sent from my ...), so everyone can recognize our status. These devices are built in volumes where integration pays off at the chip level and this integration represents little risk for the semiconductor industry to develop higher integrated chips.

But microelectronics is much more: the little helpers for the Medical applications, requirements for smaller multimedia devices such as cameras and players, but also sensors and actuators: All require highest density packaging and the simplest manufacturing process for the devices.

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The device technology requires a structured approach with a minimum of modules and a simple assembly process to get the finished product. Requirements for the interfaces of the modules – namely the connectors:

  • Easy manufacturing process at smallest contact pitch.
  • Low profile for best packaging density.
  • High reliability with redundant contact points and safe latching.
  • Signal integrity at high data rates.
  • Power supply with the same connector.
  • Safe locking during blind mating.

It needs experience in manufacturing and knowledge of processing micro-devices to develop connectors which meet all of these requirements.

For decades Molex is a leader in manufacturing FFC and board-to-board connectors in pitches down to 0,2 mm and heights less than 1 mm, and has incorporated this experience into the SlimStack Armor Series (fig. 1).

With a contact spacing of 0.35 mm in width 2.3 mm on the circuit board and an ambitious overall height of 0.6 mm, the connector pair fits under your fingernail and requires only a place of 11 mm length and 2.3 mm width on the board for 48 signal contacts and for powering two contacts in the reinforced end pieces, each with 3 A.

In a (25-pin) D-Sub functionality Armor can then mapped onto a printed circuit board area of 7.8 mm x 2.3 mm (30-pin Armor plus two power contacts).

The smallest member of the family requires only 3.5 mm x 2.0 mm board area for 6 contacts (plus two power contacts e.g. for a remote USB interface). In order to process the micro miniature technique, the 0.35 mm pitch has been chosen. This is the limit of the currently available fine pitch technology for standard PCBs.

The properties of SlimStack Armor in detail:

  • Two contact points for each signal contact and for the power contacts.
  • Staggered contact points reduce the insertion forces and generate audible and tactile feedback.
  • "Armored" ends protect both connector halves from damage during blind mating.
  • The built-in midblock in the receptacle prevents accidental opening when pulling diagonal.
  • Large surfaces for the vacuum nozzle facilitate pick and place process (fig. 2).
  • Generous chamfers of the reinforced end pieces allow easy blind mating (fig. 3).

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