Quite an accomplishment by phg:

The three-in-one-solution - new hybrid cable revolutionizes the handling of smoke measuring devices and creates competitive advantages

When two real experts in their fields develop a common solution in co-engineering new products may emerge that set standards. Such as the so-called hybrid cable that the company phg Peter Hengstler GmbH + Co. KG from Deißlingen has designed. This new closed system integrates three formerly separate lines of the “electronic noses” into one system, doing away with the time-consuming and annoying tangled cables of conventional devices. Particularly difficult: The system had to include a line for the suction and exhaustion of gases and therefore required a gas-tight connector in combination with a data cable. A real challenge and a new dimension for connection technology that was anything but ordinary for the team at phg, despite their vast experience with the development and series production of customized solutions. In the following practice report the company vividly describes how it has solved this task, showing impressively that new ideas open up competitive advantages that make a difference - both for the customer and for the company itself.

Close Up phg Verbindungstechnik Hybridkabel

Not only in the automotive industry hybrid technology is currently a big issue. Thanks to the development and production know-how of phg it is also on everyone’s lips among chimney sweeps and heating engineers. Why? The company has designed the so-called hybrid cable on behalf of the client. In this way it has contributed to a real revolution which makes the daily work with this important analysis tool not only particularly pleasant but also saves a lot of time. Where so far the experts for exhaust measurement had been condemned to the cumbersome handling of three separate hoses or lines they can now deal with a single line in which all hoses and cables are integrated. The procedure for the user is very simple now: Unpack analysis device and hybrid cable, plug in connector - ready. Forgotten are the times in which tangled cables gave chimney sweeps and radiator engineers a hard time, not only during packing and unpacking, but also during the fail-safe connection.

Close Up phg Verbindungstechnik Hybridkabel

The new hybrid cable is co-engineering in the best sense of the word.

In close cooperation with the development engineers phg - the specialist for cable assembly and individual connection technology based at the foot of the Black Forest in Deißlingen - has developed a solution that sets new standards. The term hybrid can be taken literally for the new line: it means mixed or of two origins and in terms of technology it designates a unit composed of different types or processes. In case of the hybrid cable this is an electric cable for the transmission of data and two gas lines for the suction and exhaustion of the gases formed during the combustion process in the heating system.

A particularly successful case of system integration - and beyond that a vital piece of evidence that sometimes you just need to muster the courage to override the seemingly eternal laws of technology in order to get innovative developments off the ground. After all a connector is by definition just a mechanical device to connect electric leads. Thanks to phg this definition would, strictly speaking, have to be extended by the addition: and, at least with phg, also for the simultaneous establishment of a gas-tight connection for the flow of gaseous media. Joachim Hengstler, managing director of phg, then speaks about the trickiest of the many specifications submitted by the customer: “This also posed the major and absolutely new challenge for us - achieving a permanently gas-tight connection in this interface even with strong loads in constant use”. After all, the connection is usually plugged in and removed once per analysis process. This adds up to a substantial number of connection processes in the life cycle of a measuring device. “Designing a gas-tight static connection is no problem. It really gets exciting when we talk about a plug-in connector”, explains Alfons Honer, head of the division Connection Technology.

[Translate to English:] Close Up phg Verbindungstechnik Hybridkabel

The engineers at phg have solved this tricky challenge by a split manufacturing process. After connecting all hoses and cables with the contact carrier the complete assembly is overmoulded in a subsequent work process. Thus it is not surprising that the people in Deißlingen first of all had to develop and build special production devices for the project hybrid cable. Finally, in this case phg was not only an idea provider and co-engineering partner but beyond that took responsibility for the complete process sequence: from feasibility study and prototype manufacturing, tool and equipment production to assembly, overmoulding and installation.

The challenges were in every way to the taste of phg managing director Joachim Hengstler who could thus provide impressive evidence of the capacity of his medium-sized company - proving once more which benefits the combination of the competence areas precision mechanics and electronics in one location has to offer: “The manufacturers of standard connectors cannot even develop such complex systems. This is where we come in - and can prove our capabilities.”

To give an example, the customer laid great emphasis on the operating safety of the new system: Thus, a potential mix-up of suction and exhaustion line had to be prevented by all means. phg solved this problem by clever design: each single contact is designed in such a way that only a specific position of the connector allows the user to connect the hybrid cable and the connector.

In order to ensure convenience and safety alike for the user the gas lines also required an effective anti-kink protection to prevent gas from escaping the line under all circumstances. For this purpose, phg developed a robust PUR-coating - a technology that had turned out to be particularly powerful in numerous other applications of the company. Talking about safety: Of course, both the cable itself and the complete connector of the new hybrid cable are shielded by a 360° mesh of copper wires in order to block interferences from outside and radiations from the system itself.

“In order to fulfil this complex list of requirements it was a clear advantage to be able to ensure the complete process chain in one location and thus an intense know-how transfer in direct dialogue between design and production”, Joachim Hengstler looks back. For this reason, it was no problem for him and his team to take over all geometry data of the housing determined by the customer, save space and integrate the mating connector into the unit. “This was almost a matter of routine”, he explains, smiling at the finished product.

All in all, however, the joint project “hybrid cable” way anything but routine for the company. On the contrary, this order was an almost exemplary opportunity to fill its claim with life: phg - without doubt the perfect combination of ideas and quality. Even if the project is about nothing less than the setting of a new standard.



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