A new testing laboratory has been opened to offer materials & environmental test services for customer interconnect products
As part of its design and development process for rugged, harsh environment and high reliability (hi-rel) applications, high-performance interconnect system manufacturer, Nicomatic subjects its products to stringent environmental, mechanical and electrical tests – ensuring the connectors meet complex industry standards and specifications. Now, the company has opened a materials testing laboratory offering these test and qualification services to customers with demanding interconnect applications.
Dedicated Nicomatic test engineers work closely with customer design and development teams, applying their expertise to complex materials test and qualification of customer projects and applications that use its connectors. Nicomatic’s test lab is quality management system certified to ISO 9001 & AS9100. It also has experience in meeting industry standards and specifications across defence, aeronautics and space applications, including MIL-DTL-55302, MIL-DTL-83513 and ESCC3401.
Almost a dozen test instruments and machines perform more than 30 tests to ensure customer products, devices and systems featuring Nicomatic connectors are comprehensively performance tested, including signal integrity, environmental verification, mechanical and electrical performance and chemical resistance.
According to Jorris Martel, Test Engineer at Nicomatic. the test lab fulfils several important roles including the qualification of all the company’s interconnect products to the relevant industry standards and specifications. Through this, Nicomatic can provide all the specification data and information that customers require in terms of performance.
“But arguably our most critical assignment is to assist customers during their implementation of Nicomatic interconnect products in their application. Our goal is to offer their design engineers the advice and answers they need. We are not a simple test laboratory, our real value is to provide specialist interconnect advice and expertise where others cannot,” he says.
For environmental testing, the test kit available at the lab can replicate actual operating conditions for customer products, helping assess potential failure modes that may only occur under certain combined environmental conditions (for instance, vibration and temperature acting concurrently).
“Our climatic chamber can replicate temperatures from -80°C to 200°C and relative humidity from 0% to 100%,” says Martel, “The vacuum is chamber capable of reproducing air pressure from ambient to 10 mbar (100,000 feet). We also have two ovens, capable of producing temperatures up to 300°C, and a salt mist chamber. And we plan to add a thermal shock chamber next year.”
These facilities allow the laboratory to test to many industry standards, including: MIL (US defence or military standards), EIA (Electronic Industries Alliance), ESCC (European Space Components Coordination), RTCA (Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics) and EN (European Standards).
Martel says the company can create customised climatic sequences in order to best respond to client needs. “For example, last year, we worked with a company designing a tracker capable of monitoring temperature, pressure, humidity and vibration during transportation to check the package was transported correctly. We created a personalised climatic sequence in order to imitate transportation from Siberia (cold temperature) to South America (high temperature and high humidity), by both truck and plane (for vibration and pressure variations),” he says.
Such combined temperature, humidity, vibration and pressure environmental testing plays a vital role in evaluating and verifying demanding hi-rel interconnect applications across industries such as aerospace, automotive, heavy machinery, manufacturing, electronic devices and packaging, helping avoid catastrophic damage to materials and equipment. Product durability is examined and assessed under individual stresses alone, as well as in combination – making any manufacturing or design flaws quickly apparent.
Customers wanting to verify their products and solutions can now work with the test engineers and subject matter experts that staff Nicomatic’s test laboratory to characterise, qualify and thoroughly test the connector components and sub-assemblies – ensuring they meet the industry standards and specifications needed for demanding hi-rel applications.