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Automotive Stamping

As one of the leading automotive metal stamping companies in the United States, you can rely on us to provide some of the highest-quality parts. Our long history as an IATF Certified Supplier includes the production of the following automotive stampings:

  • Automotive Busbars
  • Electromagnetic Shielding for Electric Vehicles (EV)
  • Connector Pin Arrays
  • High Vibration Connectors for Commercial vehicles
  • Performance Pack Commodity Connectors

We have a strong background in providing our automotive customers with PPAP approved parts from the initial die build stage through mass volume production.

Save Time & Money with a Certified, Experienced Automotive Stamping Company

We design, build and run automated production lines that include stamping, assembly, inspection and packaging all within one work cell. This automated process results in production parts that are finished packaged without ever being touched by a human hand. You can be confident knowing you're investing your money into high-quality parts that you won't need to recall or replace.

Industry Recognized by the Following Clients:

  • Delphi Automotive
  • TE Automotive
  • Morgan Corporation
  • Amphenol
  • Molex

We're here for you at every step of the manufacturing process, from rapid prototyping services to stamping, molding and more. Learn more about our company and contact us to see what we can do for you.

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Automotive Electrical Connectors

As the automotive industry has evolved, electrical systems have become increasingly popular. The addition of computer systems, speakers and other features to cars requires progressively reliable connections.

An electrical connector is a device that joins electrical conductors together to create a circuit. Most connectors are gendered, meaning that they either end in a plug (male) or a socket (female).

What Are Automotive Connectors?

Automotive connectors are electrical connector systems specifically designed for use in motor vehicles. They're critical for maintaining a car's function, as an absence of connectors means servicing and building cars is impossible.

A suitable connector will be both waterproof and corrosion-proof since moisture and corrosion can lead to connector failure if left untreated. A quality connector should also be able to withstand severe conditions such as intense heat, uneven terrain and extreme cold ‚Äď basically, if your car can tolerate it, your connectors should be able to tolerate it, as well.

Types of Automotive Connectors

There are four main types of electrical connectors:

  • Inline:¬†Also known as cable connectors, these form permanent attachments to cables so they can plug into another terminal.
  • Splice:¬†These connectors are also known as butt connectors. They permanently join two lengths of wire together.
  • Chassis:¬†These connectors permanently attach to a piece of equipment to allow users to connect a cable to another device.
  • PCB mount:¬†These connectors are soldered to a printed circuit board to provide a point for a cable attachment such as a screw terminal or board-to-board connector.

The following form factors are also important classifications for connectors:

  • Sealed connectors¬†are multi-pin devices that create a protective seal against environmental contaminants.
  • Board-to-board connectors¬†join two or more circuit boards together.
  • Wire-to-board connectors¬†join components to computer circuit boards.
  • Wire-to-wire connectors¬†join two wire-terminated cables.
  • Wire terminals¬†join two wires together without soldering.
  • Wire harness connectors¬†include multiple wires or cables bundled together into a single wiring harness to prevent friction, wear or damage from affecting the wires.

Connectors can also be classified according to the systems they connect. According to ISO Standard 10487, there are four types of audio connectors:

  • A Group:¬†These connectors are essential, as they attach the vehicle's head unit to the power supply, switches, volume controls and other peripheral components like antennas.
  • B Group:¬†B group connectors connect the vehicle's speakers to power.
  • C Group:¬†These surplus electrical connectors connect specialty devices like CD decks, remote controls and external amplifiers.
  • D Group:¬†These optional connectors are typically only used to connect satellite navigation systems.

How Are Automotive Connectors Made?

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We can break down the manufacturing process into four stages:

1. Stamping

Stamping takes either metal coils or flat metal sheets and uses a stamping press to create three-dimensional parts. To create automotive connectors, the stamping process begins with a high-speed metal stamping tool that creates connector pins from thin metal strips.

2. Electroplating

The pins are then coated with a thin layer of metal using an electric current. This step may be repeated if the pin needs extra layers.

3. Injection Molding

The box base of the connector is made through injection molding, where molten plastic is injected into a metal mold and rapidly cooled. It's important to look out for a defect called a "short shot," which occurs when the plastic can't fill the whole mold.

4. Final Assembly

In this stage, the box base is connected to the electroplated pins in two ways. You can either insert one pin at a time or connect multiple pins simultaneously using a machine.

How Are Electrical Connectors Used in Cars?

Electrical connectors connect every car system to the proper power supply or input. If an automotive electrical connector fails, the system connected to it will also fail. For many systems within a car, this kind of failure can result in disaster.

The following systems rely on electrical connectors:

  • Battery cables
  • Dashboard systems
  • Power windows
  • Console
  • Headlights
  • Engine
  • Air conditioning and heating
  • Stereo
  • Rear body dome light

Essentially, if a car component requires power, it uses an electrical connector.

How Do You Choose an Automotive Connector?

When choosing an electrical connector for your vehicle, you need to closely evaluate the requirements of your system. Then, use the following criteria to make your decision:

  • Current rating:¬†Current rating and current density are the most important criteria for deciding which connector you need. Current rating is the amount of current that can pass through a mated terminal and is expressed in amps per circuit.
  • Current density:¬†Current density is the amount of charge per unit time that flows through a unit area of a given cross-section.
  • Connector size:¬†As technology evolves, smaller, compact devices become increasingly popular. You'll want to make sure your connector fits the system it will be powering.
  • Circuit density:¬†Circuit density is the number of circuits a connector can accommodate per square inch. It's a relative measure, meaning you can use it to objectively determine the space requirements or size of one connector family to another.
  • Engagement force:¬†This measure is the amount of physical effort required to connect two halves of an electrical connector. It's measured in pounds per circuit and is especially important in high-circuit count connectors, as the higher the engagement force, the more physical effort an operator will need to exert to make the connection.
  • Price per circuit:¬†The cost of your circuit should be calculated based on the total applied cost ‚Äď for example, the cost of the connector housing, the terminals and the cost of the labor to attach everything.
  • Wire size:¬†You want to make sure the connector you choose is compatible with the gauge of the wires you have.

Ultimately, you need to choose a cost-effective connector that's reliable and meets your system's requirements.

Where Do Automotive Connectors Stand as Technology Advances?

Cars have come a long way from their predecessors. Now, passenger automotive applications like satellite radio, in-car Wi-Fi and automated safety programming are becoming increasingly common. As these features grow in popularity, so does the need for increased connectivity in cars.

For example, manufacturers adapt standard Ethernet connectors to meet the high demands of in-car infotainment systems. With the growing interest in electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), there's been increased demand for efficient, lightweight connector solutions that will withstand the harsh conditions cars experience daily. Connectors will likely undergo significant changes in the coming years as market demand evolves.

Contact KS Tooling, Inc. for Precision Metal Products

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Sources:

  1. https://www.kstoolinginc.com/precision-manufacturing-capabilities/production-stamping
  2. https://www.kstoolinginc.com/about-us
  3. https://www.kstoolinginc.com/contact-us

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