Page 39 - 2021 High-Reliability, Harsh Environment Connectivity eBook
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Utilizing Solderless Compression Interposers in Harsh-Environment Applications
Robert Kleinschmidt, Senior Vice President
Air & Defense SBU & Global Marketing at AirBorn
For the vast majority of applications, the pin-and-socket interface remains the contact of choice. Pin-and-socket contacts can be found in just about every application imaginable across a wide range of connector form factors. But there is another option that should be considered and, in some instances, may be the only option: solderless compression interposers. These interposers are a great alternative to traditional pin-and-socket interconnects in harsh-environment board-to-board or board-to-flex circuit applications.
Solderless Compression Interposers
Solderless compression interposers are ultra-low-profile connectors equipped with contacts that pass through the connector body to establish direct connections between two printed circuit boards (PCBs), or a PCB and a flexible circuit, and guide pins or hardware that align the contacts with the mating pads on the board.
» AirBorn’s Z Series Solderless Compression Interposers aligned with target PCB pads (top left), attached to target PCB (top center), sandwiched between two PCBs (top right), and affixed to space-saving, 3-D routable flexible circuits (bottom row).
In addition, unlike connectors with surface-mount, plated-through-hole, or paste-in-hole contacts, solderless compression connectors don’t require any soldering. While this is extremely beneficial in terms of installation time and effort, it also means that solderless compression connectors establish impermanent connections with PCB pads, which, alone, has negative implications for reliability. But that’s where the compression part comes in. The contacts within solderless compression interposers are each equipped with integral or secondary spring members that exert sufficient, constant force on the PCB pads and effectively absorb and compensate for external forces, like shock and vibration, to maintain reliable connections.
There is a widespread misperception that solderless compression interposers are not as reliable as soldered connections in high-shock and -vibration environments. But it’s quite the contrary. Solderless interposers are inherently designed to flex and absorb movement caused by shock and vibration, and several leading connector

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