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Application Notes

Global Solutions in Complex Parts and Assemblies


Automotive Products

Press-Fit Interconnect Technology


1.0 - The Press-Fit Technology
Press-fit technology allows for the insertion of a specially While the press-fit joint and its blade-and-socket cousin both
stamped terminal into a plated-through hole (PTH) in a printed employ a pressure connection, the similarity ends there.
circuit board (PCB) in such a way that an electro-mechanical The blade-and-socket is intended to be mated and unmated
connection is established without using solder. numerous times, so it is designed with lower normal forces
(so they mate easily) as well as a surrounding insulative hous-
This solderless connection functions like the blade and socket ing that, among other things, ensures that the connector stays
pair in a connector, except the genders are reversed. In a tradi- together during use. The press-fit joint on the other hand, is a
tional blade-and-socket pair, the socket has flexible beams that more permanent connection and needs to generate both the
provide the necessary normal force for an electrical connec- electrical and mechanical connections without the aid of
tion, and the blade is rigid. (See Figure 1.1) In a press-fit joint, a housing. Its normal forces are much higher.
the “blade” which is called either a compliant pin or a press-fit
pin, has the flexible beams and the socket, which is the PTH,
remains rigid. (See Figure 1.2)

Typical Male/ Female Interconnect Typical Press-Fit Male/ Female Interconnect

Male Blade Female Contact Male Blade


(Compliant) (Compliant)

Female
PCB Hole

Normal Force
Applied by
Female

Normal Force Normal Force


Applied by Male Applied by Male

Figure 1.1 Figure 1.2

Copyright © 2010 • Interplex Industries • www.interplex.com Rev. B Page 1 of 7


Application Notes

Global Solutions in Complex Parts and Assemblies


Automotive Products

2.0 - Growing Need for Press-Fit counterparts. Where telecom press-fit pins are made from
material of 0.64mm (.025”) thick and less, automotive press-fits
Technology in the Automotive Market are made from 0.64mm for signal pins and 0.80mm (.031”) for
The growing consumer and regulatory demand for electroni- power pins. Automotive press-fit pins are available in various
cally controlled features such as anti-lock brakes, vehicle alloys to support both higher conductivity applications as well
stability control, navigation, hybrid drivetrains, and tire pres- as operational temperatures up to 175°C.
sure monitors, coupled with a strong movement to lower
There is presently no industry-standard performance speci-
costs, is creating a growing demand for press-fit interconnects
fication for an automotive press-fit pin. Each supplier has
in automotive design.
assembled their own set of requirements culled from existing
There are several factors that make press-fit technology a standards such as IEC 60352-5, USCAR-2, EIA-364, and internal
popular component in automotive controllers: specifications. In general, they will require that the press-fit
joint show very little change in electrical resistance throughout
• Press-fit technology can reduce or eliminate the need to the following types of tests:
perform secondary solder operations on PCB assemblies.
Not only does this reduce labor and work-in-process, it • Insertion Force and Retention Force
removes an extra heat cycle that can degrade existing • Vibration
components on the board, and it reduces the amount of
solder used in the assembly. • Thermal Shock
• The press-fit joint is not subject to quality problems • High Temperature Exposure
associated with solder such as cold spots, voids, s • Temperature and Humidity Cycling
platter and cracks. Press-fit joints are highly reliable.
• Mixed Flowing Gas
• Press-fit parts can be readily customized to enable
• Current Carrying Capacity
package designers to meet their envelope and
manufacturability targets. • Plated Thru Hole Integrity
• Material costs can be reduced when compared to pin and The temperatures used in the tests are determined by the
socket interconnects. operating temperature in the vehicle, but they are usually
• The high strength of the press-fit joint eliminates the higher than the 85°C specified in telecom applications. The
fretting risk associated with pin and socket interconnects. most common automotive applications can be categorized
Precious metals are not required. as SAE class II (100°C ambient) for passenger compartment
• Press-fit technology is RoHS compliant locations, and SAE class III (125°C ambient) for under-hood
locations. Class IV applications are less common as are
engine-mount applications.

3.0 - The Automotive Performance


Requirements SAE Temperature Classifications
Class Ambient Temperature Range
Press-fit technology has been widely used in the telecom and
industrial markets for over 50 years. The press-fit technology
1 -40° C to + 85° C
available for those markets works well in most non-mobile, 2 -40° C to + 100° C
controlled environment applications. However, the aggressive
3 -40° C to + 125° C
environmental conditions that exist in an automobile create
additional challenges that most existing press-fit parts were 4 -40° C to + 150° C
not designed to withstand. In addition to the added rigors 5 -40° C to + 175° C
of vibration, thermal shock, etc., automotive press-fits often
Figure 3.1
have much higher ampacity requirements than their telecom

Copyright © 2010 • Interplex Industries • www.interplex.com Rev. B Page 2 of 7


Application Notes

Global Solutions in Complex Parts and Assemblies


Automotive Products

4.0 - The Design Challenge


The automotive market has settled on two PTH sizes to be used barrel, and in the opposite “loose”
in press-fit joints. These are 1.016mm (.040”) for 0.64mm thick condition, the joint strength is
signal pins, and 1.486mm (.0585”) for 0.80mm thick power adequate to pass all the
pins. There is general agreement as to how these holes should environmental requirements.
be constructed and toleranced. While the tolerances are fairly
tight from the PCB manufacturer’s viewpoint, they are large The designer must also ensure that the
from the viewpoint of the press-fit pin designer. The (half ) part can be manufactured economi-
tolerance of the finished hole diameter is nearly as large as the cally and reliably. The beam design
nominal deflection of the pin’s active feature, or “beam”. On top should be readily stamp-able and not
favor the formation of flash or slivers. Press-Fit Tuning Fork
of that, the beam has a stamping tolerance that must be taken Fuse Receptacle
into consideration. The net effect of these large tolerances The required tooling should be fairly con-
(0.80mm) thick
(relative to the hole size) is that the beam cannot be designed ventional and capable of long runs with
as a purely elastic device; it must undergo some amount of normal set-up, monitoring and maintenance. Of
plastic deformation. Fortunately, there is no requirement in utmost importance is to ensure that the beam design lends itself
automotive applications for a pin to be re-used after it has been to tooling that can hold the tight tolerances that are required.
pulled out of a hole. Another factor in the design of press-fit pins is plating.
The beam’s geometry, its deflection, and it’s composition will Although a conventional tin over nickel is sufficient for most
determine the pin’s insertion force (I/F) and to a large extent, its applications, the tin must be kept as thin as possible to keep it
retention force (R/F) for a given hole. The press-fit pin designer from scraping off and creating a sliver hazard when the pins is
needs to adjust these beam parameters so that in a worst-case inserted into the board.
“tight” condition, the pin goes in without damaging the PTH

Press-Fit Cross Sections


0.64mm Thick Cross Sections

Minimum Holes Maximum Holes

0.80mm Thick Cross Sections

Minimum Holes Maximum Holes


Figure 4.1

Copyright © 2010 • Interplex Industries • www.interplex.com Rev. B Page 3 of 7


Application Notes

Global Solutions in Complex Parts and Assemblies


Automotive Products

5.2 - Performance Specifications


5.0 - The Interplex Product Technology
• Insertion and Withdrawal force.
Offering & Performance Specifications
- 0.64mm (.025mm) Thick- Insertion Force max. 97N
5.1 - Press-Fit Product Offering (22.0 lbs.)/Minimum Hole Condition & Retention Force
Min. 20N (4.5 lbs.)/Maximum Hole Condition
• Interplex’s initial offering is a eye of the needle based
Press-Fit design that is available with two material - 0.80mm (.031mm) Thick- Insertion Force max. 177N
thicknesses 0.64mm(.025”) or 0.80mm(.031”) to fit into (40.0 lbs.) /Minimum Hole Condition & Retention Force
plated through PCB hole sizes (Nominal) of 1.016mm Min. 62N (14 lbs.) /Maximum Hole Condition
(.040”) and 1.486mm (.0585”) respectively. (See Figure 5.1) • Contact resistance requirment: 1 mΩ Max
• Sine on Random Vibration in Temperature: Effective overall
acceleration of sine on random excitation: 130.5 207.9 m/s²
• Thermal Shock (-40°C to +150°C, 30 mins cycles (1000 cycles)
• Climatic Sequence: Cold & Dry Heat 1024 Hours (-40°C to
+150°C); Damp 24 hours @ 95% RH
• High Temp Exposure (+150°C 1008 hours)
0.80
0.64 • Mix Flowing Gas - 4 Gas Test. 21 days @ 75% RH
• Plated Through Hole Integrity per IEC 60352-5.

Figure 5.1

• The Base Terminal Plating is Matte-Tin over Nickel but


terminal designs are compatible for select precious metal
platings as needed.
• The terminals were tested and are compatible with PCB
finishes with Plated Through Hole (PTH) in Immersion Tin
& Immersion Silver finishes. The minimum PCB thickness
tested with was 1.57mm (.062”).

Copyright © 2010 • Interplex Industries • www.interplex.com Rev. B Page 4 of 7


Application Notes

Global Solutions in Complex Parts and Assemblies


Automotive Products

6.0 - Automotive Applications

6.1- Under hood/molded modules: 6.4 - Internal PCB to PCB


Under hood/molded modules: interconnects:
(Vacuum, proximity, exhaust, motion, Many of the modules, switches
presence, fluid, air intake, pressure, junction boxes and other elec-
pedal, etc sensors all have molded tronic assemblies have several
cases with over molded I/O connec- PCB’s interconnect together
tors that need to connect to circuit within one assembly. In most
cards. The housing molder can over cases the final interconnect Discrete Contacts Header Assembly
mold the Press-Fit terminals directly into the housings. between these two PCB’s will
During the assembly of the module at the factory the circuit include some type of hand or customized automated solder-
card can be directly pressed onto the Press-Fit terminals within ing operation. Interplex designed its Press-Fit sections so that
the housing without soldering two Press-Fit sections can be placed on one terminal allowing
for a solder less PCB to PCB interconnect. These dual Press-Fit
6.2 - In the cab switches, terminals can either be a direct insert type of terminal or put
displays and controls: into a header assembly.
Window, lock, cruise, entertain-
ment, safety, etc modules all need 6.5 - Engine and Transmission
the input/output connector to controller modules:
connect to the circuit cards. In Engine and Transmission control-
these applications most of the connectors have shrouds. ler modules: The functionality of
These interconnects can be directly inserted into the PCB or these types of modules within the
directly Inserted into the assemblies outer case with connector car is increasing dramatically but
shrouds and then pressed into the PCB or provided as a is also shrinking in physical size.
complete Press-Fit connector. All options are solder less The input/output requirements
interconnects to the PCB in these assemblies still have a
very high pin count, typically from
6.3 - Smart Junction Box 44 up to 72 plus interconnects
Interconnects: positions. With the assemblies shrinking in size engineers are
Most of the latest designs of fuse using some very high density multilayer PCB with very small
panels in the Automobile have SMT components on both sides of the PCB. After the electron-
integrated two primary functions, the ics is assembled it is very difficult to introduce the additional
power function (fuse panel interface) heat needed for soldering the I/O interconnect without
and the body controller (The Com- damage to the assembly. Press-Fit Technology allows the I/O
puter). The basic construction of these fuse panels is moving away interconnect to be pressed in to the assembly without an ad-
from typical stamped fret designs and replacing them with ditional heat cycle.
multilayer circuits cards. All the fuse receptacles and the harness

interconnect terminals are directly connected to both sides of


the PCB. The density of the terminals in these assemblies, along
with the dual sided nature of these designs and the high copper
content of the assembly makes soldering these interconnects to
the PCB very labor intensive and/or very difficult to Automate. The
use of Press-Fit Terminals not only eliminates secondary soldering
operations, but reduces the technical difficultly and risk out of the
process of assembly.

Copyright © 2010 • Interplex Industries • www.interplex.com Rev. B Page 5 of 7


Application Notes

Global Solutions in Complex Parts and Assemblies


Automotive Products

Related Interplex Industries Documents

• 0.64mm and 0.80mm Press-fit application and


specification drawings
• Interplex Industries Press-Fit Test Specifications
Summary Document

Interplex Turn-Key Product Design & Manufacturing Solution

Input/Output Connections
PCB Pressed Onto Contacts in Module

PCB to
Motor Leads
Antenna

PCB
to PCB

Concept Design Prototype Preparation

Copyright © 2010 • Interplex Industries • www.interplex.com Rev. B Page 6 of 7


Application Notes

Global Solutions in Complex Parts and Assemblies


Automotive Products

Interplex is a vertically integrated global manufacturer of small parts and assemblies with over 24 world wide
locations. Interplex offers turnkey services in product design and development transitioning products into one of
the Interplex manufacturing locations of your choice. Interplex offers these Press-Fit sections designed into discrete
metals stampings, molded and over molded shrouds, housings and assemblies and/or incorporated into complete
electronic and mechanical sub-assemblies.

Americas Europe Asia


California: Interplex Nascal France: Interplex Soprec China: Interplex Electronics (Dalian)
Connecticut: Interplex Technologies France: Interplex Microtech China: Interplex Electronics (Hangzhou)
Florida: Interplex Proto-Stamp Germany: Interplex NAS GmbH China: Interplex Stewart EFI
Florida: Interplex Sunbelt Hungary: Interplex Hungary India: Interplex Electronics India
Illinois: Interplex Daystar Scotland: Interplex PMP Korea: Interplex Quantum
Kentucky: Interplex Plastics Malaysia: Interplex Electronics Malaysia
Massachusetts: Interplex Etch Logic Singapore: Interplex Singapore
Massachusetts: Interplex Metal Logic
Michigan: Interplex Engineering Center
New Jersey: Interplex NAS
New Jersey: Interplex Precision Machining
New York: Interplex Industries, Inc.
Ohio: Interplex Medical
Rhode Island: Interplex Automation
Rhode Island: Interplex Engineered Products
Mexico: Interplex Mexico

Copyright © 2010 • Interplex Industries • www.interplex.com Rev. B Page 7 of 7

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