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The global connector market is expected to reach an estimated $80.4 billion by 2023 with a CAGR of 4.9% from 2018 to 2023, states a 2018 market report by Lucintel. This surely is big news for such a small and let's be honest – relatively little-considered component. The primary growth drivers for this market are 3C applications (Computers, Communications, and Consumer Electronics), and demand for products with advanced features, convenience, and connectivity. However, the main drivers behind the growing relevance of connectors are the entrenched design goals of miniaturization and functionality.
The electronics in consumer applications such as cell phones, tablet computers, smart watches, and multiple handhelds as well as in the medical field with blood glucose monitors, and hearing aids are becoming more tightly packed, leaving little room for connectors. Therefore it is essential to use miniature size electronic components instead of conventional bulky ones to achieve compact mobile devices with high functionality. However, the lack of internal space makes it challenging to find electrical components that will not only fit but also perform reliably. This difficulty can be particularly noticeable when it comes to board connectors. As the demand for smaller connectors grows, design engineers face a new set of challenges. They can no longer defer their connection designs to the waning days of the project. Micro-miniature connectors require forethought. They demand that designers consider packaging, durability, current-carrying ability, ease of replacement, and other factors early in their designs.
It is now possible to source high-density connectors with terminal pitches as tight as 0.2mm and widths down to 1.7mm on the socket side. Just a couple of years ago, connectors with a similar terminal pitch would have been at least 33 percent larger. The increased design requirements also translate into a far more diversified product range. The Panasonic Industry Narrow Pitch Connector Series currently includes more than 3,000 parts which specifically address a number of electrical and mechanical miniaturization issues for both board-to-board and board-to-flexible printed circuit connectors. Design and know-how are based on more than 30 years’ expertise and reliable connection to the Asian market where Panasonic currently holds 22% of the narrow pitch segment and has been very successfully involved in the miniaturization of devices for the Asian telecommunication market.
In the whitepaper attached below are a few design recommendations from Panasonic Industry. They are based not only on our expertise as a connector designer but also on our long-time experience with application designers and their daily challenges. Fortunately, it is possible to work around the engineering constraints related to miniaturization by paying attention to connector design features. Here’s what you need to know.