German manufacturer of technical plastic parts Hans Geiger Formenbau GmbH has overhauled its cable assembly process. The company has now developed and built a new tool that has made it possible to manufacture integrated cable and plug solutions.
Whereas in conventional production processes, plug connections are typically manufactured first, with the cable being assembled in a second step, the new process allows the cable and plug’s interior to be encapsulated with fibreglass-reinforced polyamides, eliminating the need for sealing elements like silicone rings.
The DIN EN 60529-compliant solutions, according to Geiger, have been developed to avoid leakages caused by fluctuating temperatures and weather conditions as well as vehicle vibrations.
“Seals that prevent dust and particles from entering between the plug and the cable pose significant challenges in the production process,” explained Eva Söhnlein, a representative of Hans Geiger Formenbau GmbH.
“Until now, additional seals were needed to comply with the requirements of the protection classes defined by DIN EN 60529. This not only made the production process longer, it also increased material costs considerably,” Söhnlein adds.
The new process is particularly significant as encapsulation is typically performed under immense pressure.
As cables tend to be light and malleable, they give little resistance to pressure and shift during the process, therefore causing a drop in the quality, explained Söhnlein.
Geiger investigated various factors in the tool development phase, including determining the best injection point and the most suitable component filling so that the cable is exposed to as little pressure as possible.
“We incorporated additional clamping and fixing elements so that the cable can’t move around in the tool. These are automatically and precisely retracted in the injection process so that the sealing capacity of the component can be ensured,” Söhnlein added.
The production process is semi-automated, with the cable being inserted by hand.
For this reason, Geiger said it was important that the tool concept was particularly user-friendly.
According to Geiger, operating the tool is much like operating a conventional rotary table.
The mould ejector sides are alternately fitted with cables before the apparatus is encapsulated.
Hans Geiger Formenbau GmbH in Nuremberg is one of three companies of the Geiger Group, which specialises in the manufacture of complex components particularly for electronics and automotive markets.