Connector Satisfies Data-Transmission Demands of In-Car Electronics

The transformation of motor transport continues. Alternative transmissions, autonomous driving and the pursuit of greater sustainability fundamentally change the design of the car and driving experience.

In particular, the interior of the car is undergoing extreme transformation and becomes, in essence, a mobile office and living room. Basic components, such as the dashboard, turn into entertainment units with screens for video conferencing. Such electronic devices with additional features require ever higher data rates. This means high demands on high-performance equipment deployed and thus on the electronic components and materials used. You also need to lose weight and adopt more compact components because of the less available space.

German data cable company MD Elektronik has taken on these challenges and, with the help of engineering plastics supplier BASF, has developed a C-KLIC connector system that complies with the USB Type-C standard. Fiberglass-reinforced polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), suitable for use in vehicles, the Ultradur B 4300 G4 requires 60% less space than a standard USB port, due to its material properties. What’s more, the device boasts a data transfer rate> 10GB / s and an optional USB power stand.

“Our goal was to produce as many individual parts of the connecting system as possible from one identical material,” explained MD Elektronik colleagues Marcus Kaazerer, an expert in technological polymers, and Johannes Tra, director of development. “It simplifies processing, is much more efficient, and contributes to sustainability by reducing material changes on production machines. Thanks to the wide range of BASF products, we have had a choice of several solutions.”

Due to the properties of the material, Ultradur is used in the Connect + adapter (CPA) element, encoding housing and inner pad. The PBT brand demonstrates its full strength, especially in the internal component. In addition, due to its electrical properties and dimensional stability, engineering plastic protects sensitive electronics from external influences such as moisture and dirt. Compared to the standard USB charging module with built-in electronics, the new connector system can be made in a much smaller size, saving space for installation and weight.

“This new development underscores the shift towards infotainment in the car,” said Bernd Skupin, global key account manager for BASF’s Performance Materials division. “The connector system allows you to transmit data much more than the systems used in modern cars. Due to the ever-growing demand for high-performance electronic devices in vehicles, we can use our expertise to provide excellent support for new developments.”

The Ultradur brand fulfills another important requirement, says Volker Zeicher, senior technical development specialist at BASF. “Due to the very good dimensional stability and low moisture absorption, strict tolerances can be maintained regardless of the environmental conditions in the car.” Thus, the design of connectors compatible with the car is the perfect solution for future car concepts, which is another step towards a living room on wheels.

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