PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE: July 2007 to March 2009
The objective of this project was to develop, fabricate, assemble, demonstrate, and perform limited qualification testing on the next generation power connectors using emerging contact technologies. These connectors offer significant performance benefits resulting in reduced cost as well as higher reliability. The new technology contacts allow significantly higher currents (40-400% increase) to be passed over a comparable size traditional electrical contact. For example, a commonly used #20 AWG M39029 contact can carry 7.5 Amps while a common #20 AWG wire is rated for 11 Amps. These new contact technologies are capable of carrying more than 17 Amps per comparable #20AWG contact. This higher current density will facilitate significant cost reductions in the cost of power transmission by reducing the overall number of power cables as well as reducing cost of the remaining cables.
This project achieved lower interconnection costs by incorporating emerging contact technologies into commonly used MIL SPEC configurations and testing them to ensure they can meet the advertised increased power densities. Cost reduction is strongly related to power density, and interconnection hardware, such as connectors, cables, and even small Z-Axis sockets, can be significant contributors to the overall cost of a system. The cost savings resulting from introducing this new technology into circular and rectangular Mil-Spec connectors was estimated at $1.8M per ship. These savings resulted from the anticipated reduction in power cable assemblies and the reduction in cost associated with being able to utilize smaller, less costly connectors.
This project exploited several paths for inserting the resultant technology and knowledge into the DDG 1000 program. The primary path followed was the insertion into specific connector applications. Raytheon’s IDS Interconnection Design groups regularly develop application specific connectors. Typically, application specific connectors are required for a high density packaging area such as an Antenna TRIMM Assembly. This assembly was the building block of phased array antennas and therefore has a high volume part. Critical design attributes of TRIMM connectors are low cost, low weight, high reliability, and low insertion force (to facilitate blind mating). The results of this project matched the needed design attributes and will be leveraged for insertion into next generation TRIMM Assembly connectors. A secondary insertion path was integrating the Z-Axis interposer into high density advanced packaging power supply designs. Next Generation Power Supplies utilizing Wide Band Gap (WBG) technology will have significantly higher power densities and require novel power transmission solutions such as those developed in this project. These assemblies are expected to achieve an 8:1 increase in power density in the very near future. The broadest impact will be through the creation of industry-level circular and rectangular connector specifications through an organization such as Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Raytheon IDS (Integrated Defense Systems) Engineering regularly attended SAE International Aerospace meetings and was actively involved in the Connector Technical Standards committee. This committee was responsible for the creation of new industry-wide connector specifications and review of changes to existing SAE connector specification.