Also known as injection molding, overmolding has gained wide acceptance across various manufacturing industries. Simply put, an overmolded connector combines a wire and connector (through the molding process) to create a single unit or part.
Overmolded connectors are widely used in cable assembly processes that face extreme weather conditions and high dust exposure. In this blog, we shall understand what an overmolded connector is – along with its applications and benefits.
What is the overmolded connector?
As mentioned before, an overmolded connector undergoes the process of overmolding to merge a wire and connector into a single piece. During the overmolding process, the components of the connector are kept within the mold. The first material or substrate is covered by the other components or materials. Further, the plastic component is overlaid with other overmold materials with a single shot of injection molding or with multiple shots.
But why are overmolded connectors preferred over traditional connectors? Next, let’s discuss some of their benefits to understand that.
Benefits of an overmolded connector
Overmolded connectors are more popular than traditional cables or connectors due to their added functionalities and customization.
Here are some of the business benefits of an overmolded connector in the manufacturing industry:
1. Better durability
Due to the overmolding process, the overmolded connector boasts better durability as compared to traditional connectors. Besides, an overmolded connector is considered more durable in extreme environments, including high temperatures, chemical exposure, and high pressure. For example, an overloaded connector in an automotive system can sustain high engine temperatures.
2. Lesser storage space
Most electrical connectors are bulky and take up a lot of storage space, thus increasing storage costs. An overmolded connector is smaller, thus enabling a smaller cable assembly. This means less space and costs involved in storing these connectors and components.
3. Strong and flexible design
The overmolding process increases the flexibility of overmolded connectors. Besides, these connectors can withstand up to 360-degree strain and pull strength. Effectively, this means a longer lifespan for the final product.
4. Fit for use in harsh conditions
Thanks to the overmolding process, overmolded connectors are more protected and have better resistance to water ingress and shocks. In general, these connectors are built for added protection in harsh conditions with exposure to heat, dust, abrasions, chemicals, and debris.
5. Improved customization
Thanks to their in-built flexibility, overmolded connectors have a plethora of customization options. For instance, overmolded cables can be built to fit into smaller and tighter spaces. Besides, overmolded cables can be easily blended into any product. They can also be colored to match any brand design and include customized labels like the company logo.
6. Cost efficiency
Finally, overloaded connectors offer companies more cost savings than traditional cables or connectors. Since the final connector is a single product, it directly eliminates the costs involved in storing and assembling secondary parts.
Now that we know their benefits, let’s next look at some real-life applications of overmolded connectors.
Real-life applications of overmolded connectors
Overmolded connectors are used in a variety of applications across industry segments. Some of the common applications include solar energy panels, military equipment, industrial applications, and medical equipment. Effectively, these types of connectors are used in applications that are exposed to harsh weather conditions or those that need an aesthetic design.
Here are some of the practical applications of the overmolded connector:
1. Automotive manufacturing
In automotive manufacturing, the overmolded connector is widely used in electrical components. This is because automotive components are typically exposed to high engine temperatures and need protection from dust and debris. Additionally, color-coded connectors are easy to install for automotive engineers – thus reducing the chances of human error during installation or maintenance operations.
2. Cable assemblies
Be it electric or fiber cables, they are widely used in cable assemblies thanks to their high resistance to strain and bend. These connectors are also used in grommets that are a part of many cable assembly processes. They protect the opening and termination points and can work with a variety of materials.
3. Medical equipment
Medical equipment requires reliable components (or parts) that are safe from various hazards. For instance, in hospital rooms, endoscopy cameras must always be connected to the monitor through reliable cables. An overmolded connectors is used in multiple medical devices that require them to operate at all times without interruption.
4. Household items
Overmolded connectors improve the overall grip and cleanliness factor of many products. This is the reason it is used in household items such as toothbrushes, electric fans, mobile chargers, and food containers. The overmolding process also improves the product’s quality.
5. Hardware tools
An overmolded connector is also widely used in hardware tools like screwdrivers, wrenches, hammers, and pocket knives. Most of these tools are made of sharp steel material that can pose a risk of injury to the user. With the overmolding process, hardware tools are easier to grip and are also safer for continuous use.
As compared to traditional cables or connectors, overmolded connectors have a longer shelf life and can be used across industries including manufacturing, medical, and agriculture.
Established in 1997, Advantage Components Inc. (ACI) is focused on providing high-quality cabling solutions to its customers. For over 20 years, we have specialized in designing molded cables and components that can withstand and work in extreme weather conditions.