TE Connectivity’s new Raychem INSTALITE braid system, which offers up to 50% weight savings over traditional copper braids, is made from a nickel-plated copper alloy.

Lightweighting focus for TE's connectivity solutions

TE Connectivity recently announced two new aerospace connectivity solutions that offer substantial weight savings: its COPALUM Lite sealed terminals and splices, and its Raychem INSTALITE lightweight braid system.

TE’s new COPALUM Lite sealed terminals and splices provide up to a 60% weight savings versus copper terminal alternatives, and up to 53% weight savings versus drop-forged aluminum terminals. The new terminals feature dry crimp technology that has provided three decades of reliable connectivity to the commercial aerospace industry, the company notes.

“Saving weight is always critical when designing interconnect solutions for aerospace applications,” said Steve McIntire, Product Manager, Global Aerospace, Defense & Marine, TE. “We’ve taken the time-tested COPALUM design and developed a family of terminals and splices that offer even greater weight savings than previous designs.”

The new terminals’ weight savings originate from aluminum base metal, an optimized wall thickness, and a shorter wire barrel.

The grease-free COPALUM dry crimp technology provides an efficient and clean process using a single-step crimp for conductor termination and wire sealing. The terminal’s screened crimp barrel cuts through aluminum oxides to form a reliable, oxide-free termination. The single-crimp process reduces applied cost, according to TE, by eliminating the need for a second crimp for wire sealing. The enhanced wire barrel design can result in additional efficiency gains, making wire insertion easy with ample room for conductors.

Single- or dual-hole terminals can be customized with straight or angled tongues, enabling design flexibility. The sealed terminals provide watertight wire sealing that withstands 500 h of salt spray exposure, TE claims. Combined with an operating temperature rating of 175°C, the terminals are suitable for aerospace applications including commercial aircraft, UAVs, primary power feeders, and grounding systems.

TE’s new Raychem INSTALITE lightweight braid system offers up to 50% weight savings over traditional copper braids. Made from a high-performance, nickel-plated copper alloy, the RoHS-compliant pull-on braid is claimed to provide better low-frequency performance than plated fibers or microfilaments.

Existing low-weight screening solutions are more limited with reduced electrical screen performance at low frequencies and lower protection against lightning strike, according to TE, also noting that plated fibers and microfilament stainless steel braids are more expensive options.

“Electromagnetic interference (EMI) protection is an ever-increasing requirement in the aerospace industry, especially as system functionality is increasing with higher signal speeds,” said Doug Jones, Product Manager, Global Aerospace, Defense & Marine, TE. “The INSTALITE lightweight braid has the ability to save weight while providing a high level of EMI screening across a wide frequency range. Its economical price makes it an attractive option for designers.”

TE’s INSTALITE lightweight braid is available in 3- to 20-mm diameters and installs and performs as a traditional metal braid does. It uses existing installation and termination methods and equipment to make integration into current applications simpler. The new lightweight braid also is flexible and easy to handle. It is provided on a former for easy installation on a variety of substrates.

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