HARTING Provides Endless Solutions for Design Flexibility Challenges with har-flex® and har-flexicon® PCB Connectors

There are several different design challenges to consider when you set out to design a printed circuit board (PCB). Several challenges designers inevitably face include manufacturability, functionality, reliability, cost, efficiency, and complexity of board designs.

If that is not enough to consider, it seems there is an ever-pressing drive to reduce footprint and form factors, increasing the overall complexity of a project. Additionally the push towards miniaturization and efficiency can lead the designer toward the use of surface mount components, which in the case of connectors and terminal blocks, inevitably lead to questions about robustness and durability. Fortunately, leading component designers and manufacturers, such as HARTING, Inc. of North America, have demonstrated the needed foresight to recognize and deliver solutions for PCB connectors and terminal blocks. HARTING's complementary har-flex® and har-flexico connector portfolios provide a breadth of solutions enabling wire-to-board, cable-to-board, and board-to-board connections with surface mount termination.

When considering connectors and terminal blocks, PCB miniaturization requires component manufacturers to design solutions with reduced form factors, pitches and provide improved PCB performance, density, and flexibility. HARTING's har-flexico solution looks beyond the well-established contact spacings of 3.5mm and above by pushing the envelope even further with PCB terminal blocks and PCB connectors in 1.27 mm, 2.54 mm, offered in horizontal for the 1.27mm,  and both vertical and horizontal orientations for the 2.54mm, thus increasing design flexibility when considering termination options.

The small form factors offer tool-less termination for ease of field installation of the wire mount connectors. The 1.27mm pitch connectors use an innovative insulation-displacement contact (IDC) technology for stranded wires. The use of IDC termination avoids the need for any insulation stripping prior to termination thereby maximizing speed and efficiency. The 2.54mm versions are terminated with a push in spring cage, for use with both stranded and solid wires. After stripping the insulation the solid wires can be inserted directly, while stranded wires require the simple use of a screwdriver to open the spring prior to installation. The combined benefits of real estate optimization— made possible by these reduced pitch offerings— in addition to the fast and tool-less termination process, speak to the efficiency offered with the har-flexicon® connectors and terminal blocks.

Harting PCB Connectors Image 1

har-flexicon® - a wire to board solution

HARTING's har-flex® connector family is the ideal space-saving connector solution for in box connectivity. har-flex® connectors provide increased packaging density made possible by a 1.27mm grid. The har-flex®board-to-board product family offers both straight and 90-degree angled versions, enabling an additional degree of freedom for the design space with extended freedom in the z-direction, as opposed to being limited to a planar design. The har-flex® straight connectors can be used for mezzanine stacking applications and are offered with options of two different heights for both male and female genders.  The available height options, when combined with a contact wiping length of 1.5 mm, provide a between-board separation range of 8mm to 13.8mm.

If considering a board-to-cable connectivity option, designers can take advantage of pre-assembled cables with female connectors, featuring IDC terminations, compatible with male straight or angled connectors. The female IDC connectors utilize a unique latching system, thus guaranteeing secure mating to the corresponding male. Additionally, for maximum protection of the flat cable termination area, an optional strain relief is available.

Further underlining the flexibility of the har-flex® range is the availability of multiple pin counts which provide both real estate and cost savings, made uniquely possible by HARTING's modular tooling concept, offering any even number of pin counts from six to 100.

Harting PCB Connectors Image 2

har-flex® - a board to board and cable to board solution

A common stumbling block often faced by designers that specify components is Surface Mount Technology (SMT) processing capability. Considering the alternative – manually placing a connector on a PCB with a mechanical fastener – can require several additional process steps, which will drive up cycle time and bill of materials and making an extremely costly design. PCB manufacturers and designers desire components to be fully SMT compatible, being picked from a part reel and placed on the PCB by an automated pick and place machine. HARTING's har-flexicon® and har-flex® offer full SMT compatibility with a robust, large area hold down to ensure secure fixing to the PCB, before, during and after solder reflow. With a robust fixture to the PCB, insertion and withdrawal forces can be absorbed, minimizing stresses on the solder contacts on the termination side, alleviating many concerns for reliability. Both connector families provide 100 percent co-planarity testing, removing any potential for alignment issues. Temperature resistant material being used for the connector allows for a full solder reflow process to be implemented. 

For the Industrial markets and beyond, the har-flexicon® and har-flex® families are complementary comprehensive PCB connector solutions for wire-to-board, board-to-board, and board-to-cable solutions, respectively. They provide increased design flexibility, desired real-estate optimization, which yields cost savings, all while covering a breadth of solution offerings with increased densities, and in smaller form factors. They are fully SMT pick and place compatible for all PCB surface mount designs enabling a streamlined and lean assembly process.

HARTING has truly opened a breadth of options for system designers to find solutions to connectivity problems that surface from multiple categories during the design process, offering maximum freedom of design. HARTING has thoroughly thought through the problem and delivered efficient solutions with cost and timesaving features inherent to the product designs, without compromising the robustness of traditional through hole termination solutions and with the processing efficiencies of today’s SMT assembly lines.

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