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15
Apr

Leading the Way with RoHS Compliant Solutions

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Durmalon_B-Zinc-Nickel.jpgAs mentioned a few months ago in the “Welcome to Interface” blog article, Amphenol has long been known as the world’s leader in cutting-edge interconnect products for the Military & Aerospace industries. Whether it’s utilizing our state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies, designing the newest type of interconnect products, or collaborating with industry partners to provide the most advanced solutions, Amphenol has always taken pride in “leading the way”. However, one area that often goes unnoticed is our commitment to developing and promoting change that will benefit the environment.

Over the last few years, you may have seen or heard the phrase “RoHS Compliance”. Simply defined, RoHS stands for “Restriction of Hazardous Materials”. Some of the materials restricted from being used in electronic equipment and components include: Lead, Cadmium, Mercury, Hexavalent Chromium, Polybrominated Biphenyls and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers. That’s quite a list. 

The challenge for us is that, for over 50 years, many of these materials have been used in some way, shape, or form in the connector manufacturing process here at Amphenol Aerospace and across the industry. In fact, the use of these substances is what has allowed connectors and accessories to meet the requirements defined in many of our industry standard military specifications, including MIL-DTL-38999. In the early 2000’s, as RoHS compliance began to expand in Europe and, to a lesser degree, in the U.S., Amphenol Aerospace realized that, in order to remain the industry leader, we needed to prepare for these upcoming changes and take action. 

A group of talented and experienced Amphenol Aerospace engineers, ranging from design engineers to electroplating experts, then began an initiative to develop environmentally friendly alternatives to Cadmium plating. Cadmium is the dull olive drab, or green plating, you see on a majority of circular connectors used in military applications for the past 50 years. The advantage to cadmium is that it’s extremely corrosion resistant and performs well after long exposure to harsh environments. The disadvantage is that it’s extremely toxic. 

Our engineers spent years testing and analyzing various plating combinations and chemicals that, not only pass the environmental requirements of specifications, such as RoHS, but, most importantly would provide the same performance requirements as cadmium-plated connectors. The result of these efforts were two new Amphenol Aerospace platings: Durmalon (Nickel-PTFE) and Black Zinc Nickel. Today, both of these finishes are recognized by MIL-DTL-38999 and will be added to a number of other military specifications as replacements to cadmium in the near future.

Back to “leading the way”…we can proudly say we were the first supplier to offer TWO mil-qualified alternatives to cadmium that meet or exceed requirements of MIL-DTL-38999, while also conforming to the standards of RoHS, thus, offering an environmentally friendly solution. We have now put ourselves in position to be on the forefront of this technology as it begins to expand to other products and applications. Over the past year, this has allowed us to collaborate with customers and government agencies to move toward a more environmentally friendly industry, and we look forward to our next innovation in the future.

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Kyle Brown is the Product Line Manager for Amphenol Aerospace’s Core Products Group. He is a graduate of Rider University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.  He has been with Amphenol Aerospace since 2010. 

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