Page 41 - 2020 Interconnect Innovations eBook
P. 41

New Single-Action Connectors Simplify Portable Device Designs
Jeff Combs, Director of Sales, CE Segment at Hirose Electric USA
Hardware designs for IoT, consumer, modular, and other complex applications often leave limited space for the mating and assembly of the connector system. These space constraints can also restrict the type of connector that can be implemented. Stacked board designs or encased modular systems may not allow sufficient Z-height for vertical mating of board-to-flex connectors, or enough access for the manual closing of the actuator on zero- insertion-force (ZIF) flex connectors. At the same time, retention force is essential when the end devices are used in higher vibration environments, such as portable devices. Connectors that maintain retention force on the flex, but reduce the space needed for a manual mating process, can allow more flexibility in the application design. Additional concerns include actuator damage (a common failure mode associated with ZIF connector use), the need to reduce mating cycle time, and accommodations that may be needed for robotic assembly technologies.
Portable Device Design Challenges
Device designs are becoming more complex in terms of board stacking and shell integration, particularly in the areas of wearables, portables, and IoT modules. Mobile devices need to maintain a small form factor while continuing to add more hardware features. IoT devices have new form factors in the X, Y, and Z dimensions. These space constraints within the devices create challenges for component placement on the boards and introduce vertical clearance and assembly concerns for stacked component or board architectures.
ยป Examples of portable device designs.
From the connector perspective, providing solutions that balance the space requirements while also addressing the practical concerns of assembly is a challenge. Connector solutions need to consider not only electrical and mechanical factors but operation and mating ability as well. For example, placing multiple components on a board requires layering flexes and connectors, which can limit assembly order or require mating in tight constraints. Similarly, the vertical stacking of components creates additional mating and assembly complications.

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