Making the connection: Engineering Plastics for the appliance industry
Thanks to wireless technologies, our means of communication have multiplied immensely. And today, we don’t just talk to each other; every aspect of our lives is connected – people, cars, machines, and appliances.
The connected home and the smart grid are driving a transformation of the electrical goods industry. This extraordinary level of connectivity depends on many things, but one of the most elementary things of all is…the simple connector.
However, today’s connectors don’t have the luxury of being simple. They’re an incredible combination of metal conductors and plastics insulation, of which designers continue to demand more. More performance, more reliability, and more ease of use – all in a smaller footprint.
Consumers may have virtual connections to their smart appliances, but the appliances still rely on many physical electrical connectors. Without the right design and materials, connectors can increase the risk of electrical failure, with potentially serious consequences.
The challenge from appliance producers and connector manufacturers is to produce one product that will satisfy all regional regulations.
In North America, products must meet UL Flame requirements of V0 at the thinnest wall sections of the parts. While in the EU, products must meet GWT requirements on parts of 750°C min and increasing to 850°C with no flame. In some Asian countries, there may be a higher requirement than elsewhere for materials with a high comparative tracking index, or CTI. All regions call out a CTI requirement of 250V, however, individual manufactures are requesting CTI ratings up to 400V.
DSM has come to the aid of appliance connector designers with advanced engineering plastics. DSM was the first plastics producer to offer thermoplastics for appliance connectors that meet the highest flame resistance requirements of standards organizations all around the world and which also meet the required electrical properties.
In close cooperation with leading OEMs and connector manufacturers, DSM has launched the
Akulon® SafeConnect PA66 portfolio that achieves the highest UL 94 flammability rating of V-0, at a thickness of just 0.4 mm, and enables end products to pass the IEC 60695-2-11 Glow Wire Test (GWT) (sometimes also known as the GWEPT, Glow Wire End Product Test) without igniting at 850°C, and has a high CTI equal or above 400V.
This table shows key properties of Akulon SafeConnect SC21/SC22/SC41 as being listed on the UL Yellow Card.
DSM now has the largest portfolio of polyamides that not only enable OEMs to meet the IEC 60335-1 international standard on unattended appliances, but also meet individual OEM requirements that go beyond international standards to facilitate the need for increased safety and reliability of smart appliances.