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issue: June 2006 APPLIANCE Magazine

Connectors and Wire Harnesses
Playing it Safe


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by Lisa Bonnema, Senior Editor

The IEC "glow-wire" test confirms that no flame ignites when a connector is touched by a 750°C hot, glowing wire.

In addition to internal quality and cost considerations, appliance companies need to be sure that their connectors and wire harnesses meet industry safety and environmental regulations.
UL 94-V0: Plastic connectors have evolved to using a plastic with a flammability rating of UL 94-V0 as compared to UL 94-V2, which has been used in the past. The UL 94-V0 rating provides better self-extinguishing properties in the unlikely event that the connector is exposed to fire. Connector suppliers are using better insulation materials such as polyamide 6.6 (nylon) to meet this requirement.
IEC: The European International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has developed standards for materials and components to comply with specific “glow wire” requirements (see photo). This requires plastic connectors be constructed of more costly resins, as opposed to traditional materials.
RoHS: Effective July 2006, the RoHS Directive bans the use of hazardous substances in electronic devices sold in the European market. This includes the lead used to solder connectors to PCBs. Parts used in lead-free soldering processes require materials that can withstand higher temperatures, and the finished product needs to be evaluated.

 

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