Computer-guided connector assembly

Soldering & Surface Mount Technology

ISSN: 0954-0911

Article publication date: 27 June 2008



(2008), "Computer-guided connector assembly", Soldering & Surface Mount Technology, Vol. 20 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Computer-guided connector assembly

Article Type: New products From: Soldering & Surface Mount Technology, Volume 20, Issue 3

Available in the UK from Whingate Test Services Ltd, CAMI Research introduces a new, computer-guided technique for assembling circular and rectangular connectors used in aerospace and other high-reliability applications.

The “Light Director™” system (Figure 2) uses light fibres and super-bright LED lamps to illuminate individual target cavities in the connector to be assembled. When the operator enters the identity of an unconnected wire, Light Director turns on the appropriate fibre, thereby causing a bright, flashing light within the target cavity to guide the operator to the insertion point. Correct insertion is confirmed by the elimination of light from that location. Insertion into an incorrect location leaves the flashing light visible. This process is repeated for all wires.

Figure 2 The “Light DirectorTM” is the new, computer-guided technique for assembling circular and rectangular connectors from CAMI Research

The Light Director employs high-quality synthetic speech in English, Spanish, or French to speak the pin number to the technician, further reinforcing the target location. Speech recognition is also available as an option permitting the technician to speak wire codes to the system. This eliminates the need for a keyboard or monitor.

Normally, pins are crimped onto wires in advance of assembly. Wires are identified during the assembly process by numeric code, bar code or colour code. If no codes are present, then by electrical detection using a wrist-strap when the other end of the cable has been assembled and is connected to the system.

Light Director offers significant benefits to the user. Field testing has shown that insertion errors are virtually eliminated and assembly rates doubled when compared to manual methods. Light Director greatly reduces the visual difficulty of locating pin cavities in large connectors. It allows less-experienced staff to be used and greatly reduces operator fatigue enabling high productivity to be maintained throughout the day.

Light Director is the latest option for the CAMI CableEye® PC-based cable test system. Interface kits for each connector type comprise a plug-in board with LED sockets; LED light fibres; fibre guide boards and a connector support board. The quantity price of a 64-pin kit is under £100. The LED-fibre assemblies are less than £1.50 each. Importantly, all parts are reusable.

CableEye system test cables and wire harnesses for opens, shorts, and miswires, measures diode forward voltage, checks resistance values between 0.3 and 10 MΩ, and tests continuity resistance against specified thresholds. The CableEye® Model M3 Cable Tester is priced from under £1,500 with 152 test points and is expandable to over 2,000 points.

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