In recent years, over-moulding has played an important part in the changing functionality of cable assemblies, enabling engineers to adapt their designs to suit the challenging requirements of demanding applications. A form of injection moulding, overmoulding is a process that forces a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) onto a secondary material to form a bond that provides relief from potential strain or bending.
The overmoulding of a cable assembly is achieved by forcing a TPE into a mould cavity using an injection moulding press. The mould resin is inserted into the storage area of the press via an injection ram, and then reduced to a liquid form using a heated barrel. The process begins by feeding the specified resin into the heated barrel and mixing it with the secondary material. The mould is then left to cool, ensuring that the material takes the shape of the designed overmould.
The process of overmoulding has changed dramatically in recent years with the introduction of innovative technologies and materials. Overmoulding offers numerous functionality benefits such as strain relief, ingress protection and more. Further to this, the use of plastic in overmoulding is proven to enhance design features. Vibration damping controls the amount of energy produced by the system, and can enhance safety. In addition, the improvement of grip enables overmoulded cable assemblies to provide safety in both wet and dry environments.
Product functionality can be improved as the overmoulded plastic creates a water resistant seal that prevents the ingress of fluid. Overmoulding also creates additional ergonomic benefits with an increase in comfort levels. Many applications where cables are frequently mated and unmated risk damage to wires and terminals. The strain relief provided by the overmould reduces the potential stress, protecting them from damage.
The number of applications where overmoulded cable assemblies can be useful has increased tenfold, leading to the design-in of this capability in the most demanding environments. Suitable for a range of product types, overmoulding is already used extensively in markets such as Automotive, Industrial, Military and more.
Molex has a wide range of cable assembly capabilities, including both off-the-shelf and customised overmoulded cable assemblies. Providing a unique combination of design and manufacturing expertise, Molex can offer a solution for the most challenging cable assembly applications.
Delivering a complete overmoulded cable solution with FiT Family connectors, Molex’s off-the-shelf products eliminate the costs associated with design and tooling. Immediately available in a range of circuit sizes, FiT Family overmoulded cable assemblies tackle the time-consuming process of designing cables and tooling. Mega-Fit®, Mini-Fit® and Micro-Fit* Cable Assemblies provide a one-source solution, eliminating the search for an additional vendor to build assemblies.
*Micro-Fit is a trademark of Molex, LLC in the United States and may be registered in certain jurisdictions.