From automated pizza delivery vehicles to robotic “dogs” that measure radiation levels in contaminated areas, the robotics industry is booming in 2021. In fact, per Industry Week’s 2020 Technology Survey, robotics continue to be a primary area of interest for manufacturers. Robotics across industries all have one thing in common: precision connectivity products. As industry disruptors continue to look for ways to reduce costs and increase productivity via robotics, companies like Positronic have a unique role to play in manufacturing agile connectors. Read on to find out more about how connectors will fuel the rise of robotics in the workforce.
Connectors and Robotics: The Basics
First, let’s explore the types of connectors currently serving robotics manufacturers. Connector types will obviously vary between robotics use cases; for example, USB, Ethernet, and D-subminiature connectors are used in terminal devices. I/O connectors are also used to deliver signal and power to various robotic functions. Either way, connectors need to assist with robotic flexibility, range of motion, speed, and, perhaps most importantly, precision. Industry resource Electronic Design explains it thusly: “For robots to operate in these complex ways, they must be able to collect and process a great deal of sensing data in hostile electrical and physical industrial environments. The task ahead is to identify and use highly reliable connectors for this industrial challenge.”
Boosting Connector Capabilities
Whether robotics manufacturers are serving high-pressure industries like defense or customer-facing industries like food delivery, they need compact, flexible, and lightweight connectors. In high-pressure circumstances, these connectors also need to pack a major power punch. In military, medical, and industrial settings, connectors need more power than ever before, with lightweight design being an absolute must for circumstances like those involving aerial drones. Essentially, the faster that connector manufacturers can produce a product that meets these specific circumstances, the faster industry innovators can use robotics to take the workforce to new heights.
The demand for robotic technologies grows every day, which means manufacturers have to work extremely quickly. For maximum manufacturing speed, standard connectors can be an excellent option. However, while standard connectors may work in some applications, many robotics innovators require a unique design. One thing that sets Positronic apart in the connector industry is their ability to offer custom connectors at low volume. The term “custom connectors” can apply to a basic connector modification, but it also includes clean-sheet designs completed for a unique end-user application. Although Positronic boasts a large catalog of standard products, their customized solutions are available to serve each organization’s unique needs.
Customers interested in a customized or modified solution are pleasantly surprised to learn about Positronic’s reasonable minimum orders for such products. For those products that are modifications of a standard, a minimum buy of 25 pieces is typical. For those products that are highly unique or tooled specifically for a customer application, a 50 or 100 piece minimum buy is not uncommon. It is rare that we require a minimum buy exceeding 100 pieces.
Naturally there is a direct relationship between the complexity of the modification and the lead time — the more tooling changes required, the longer the lead time. Typical modifications of standard will add roughly two weeks to the standard part lead time. A solution that requires new injection mold tooling, for instance, can take up to 16 weeks with the average closer to 12 weeks from the time the design is approved by the customer.
Like lead times, NRE will vary depending on the complexity of the modification or customization. For basic modifications, there is typically no NRE. For medium complexity modifications, NRE can range from $500 to $5000. For a clean-sheet designed solution that requires extensive tooling, NRE ranges from $5000 and up depending on complexity and scope. Overall Positronic treats NRE as a means-to-an-end. They want your business on custom projects and will work with you to meet your design requirements and stay within your NRE budget.
What’s the first step?
If you are interested in custom connectors from Positronic, the first step is to make contact with us. We will begin by collecting your design requirements and doing a survey of Positronic’s existing products to see if an existing solution exists. If it does not, we will walk you through the process of getting started. We look forward to working with you on your customized solution.
ESI is the local rep in Ohio, W. PA, W. VA, Michigan, Kentucky and Indiana for Positronic. We invite you to reach out for samples and information.