13 January 2009
Hyperboloid connectors retain such strong signal integrity that they are being used in harsher and harsher environments.
As high end electronics become increasingly pervasive, reliability and the need to minimise failure are becoming top priorities for many manufacturers.
Reliability in harsh conditions has traditionally been a key issue for interconnect systems in military and aerospace systems. But environments such as oil and gas exploration and inspection systems throw up some pretty tough challenges of their own. Connectors are required to carry high currents, endure shock and vibration on a rig while maintaining signal integrity.
Intelligent Pipeline Inspection Gauges (PIGs) operate in extremely harsh conditions while moving along the inside of an oil or gas pipeline. The PIGs were originally developed to remove deposits that could obstruct flow through a pipe. Today, they are used during all phases in the life of a pipeline for tasks such as batching or separating dissimilar products, displacement purposes or for internal inspection.
In typical use, a PIG will encounter shock and severe vibration, debris, temperature extremes and can encounter immersion in aggressive fluids, as well as environmental challenges, all of which can potentially compromise data and system integrity.
Due to high running and operation costs - up to £1000 per mile - pipeline operators cannot afford contact or connector failure while a PIG is travelling hundreds of miles along a pipeline. As electrical systems account for 32% of equipment failure, connectors are seen as one of the main causes.
Failures such as cable breakdown or fatigue, shell corrosion, pin and socket fretting and intermittent signal transmission can all lead to a complete electrical breakdown. The answer may have arrived in the shape of hyperboloid connectors.