Assembly in Action: Zinc Connects for Less and Adds Muscle
Initially, the VHDM connector’s guide module was molded in liquid crystal polymer. It had a stainless steel guide pin inside. However, Teradyne’s design engineers wanted to strengthen the module and reduce deflection.
Working closely with Miniature Casting Corp. (Cranston, RI), Teradyne engineers redesigned the two-piece module as a one-piece zinc die-casting. Several functional aspects to the component were also added.
The biggest advantage provided by die-casting is the integration of the guide pin with the housing. This eliminates deflection and creates a stronger module. The die-cast design had to pass a 30-pound break test before being allowed in the field.
Because positioning is so important, the guide pin and two positioning rib dimensions are critical. Die-casting a single component has the effect of loosening dimensional tolerances, because it eliminates the compounding of independent variables. As such, the connector is easily produced, holding critical dimensions to tolerances of ±0.15 millimeter.
Increased functionality was also added to the die-cast module. A stiffener slot on one side and locking pins on the other were incorporated. Both of these features contribute to connector alignment and improve connection integrity. Zinc also helps eliminate electrostatic discharge.
The module and guide pin is cast in a four-slide machine.
The conversion to zinc die-casting has resulted in material cost savings of 70 percent.
For more information on miniature die-cast design, call 401-463-5090 or visit www.minicast.com.