developing trend toward high-density packaging of electronics
parts. As the electronic content of cars increases, the
natural drive is to miniaturize the package to gain maximum
efficiency in the use of space.
The wiring harnesses and interconnection systems offer
opportunities for weight and size reduction. The first
requirement for connectors and cable is a rugged design that
can withstand extreme temperatures, vibration, and exposure
to fluids in general and brake cleaner in particular. The
evolution of autosport-specific connectors demonstrates how
important miniaturization has become in the sport. Smaller
connectors typically weigh less, so attention was paid to
higher density connectors. Stainless steels shells gave way to
lightweight aluminum, with even lighter composite versions
available. Features like coupling rings became smaller as well.
Autosport connectors were originally developed from
military counterparts, evolving to become smaller, lighter, and
easier to handle. Today, a shift is occurring where autosport
connectors are being adapted to military and commercial
aerospace applications to solve similar challenges. Space and
weight savings are increasingly important in aerospace, even
as the use of electronics means more data being transmitted
throughout the aircraft. As military applications move
to using or adapting commercial off-the-shelf products,
autosport connectors are being increasing considered as
alternatives to custom parts.
As connectors shrink in size, attention must also be given
to usability issues, such as redesigned knurls to make it easy
for a gloved technician to quickly and accurately connect and
disconnect the connectors.
Composite-shell connectors offer an attractive alternative
method for reducing weight. When the industry first
looked at composite connectors, many did not live up to
expectations for rugged performance in the autosport market.
In particular, the composites did not withstand exposure to
Autosport connectors have evolved from military-style connectors
to meet the specific needs of auto racing (Source: TE Connectivity).