Arndt Schafmeister Development Engineer at Phoenix Contact
“My task is to develop board-to-board connectors. As a part of this, I have to match the electromechanical requirements with the requirements of the target application in the best possible way. The focus is therefore not on signal integrity at any price, but on application-oriented connectors that take into account other requirements such as costs, installation space, and manufacturability.
I therefore provide our customers with support in selecting the most suitable connector. And I advise them on how to optimally integrate this connection into the respective system.”
Sebastian Stamm Development Engineer at Phoenix Contact
“My work is focused on the interface of mechanical and electrical development of data connectors. My activities include concept development and the optimization of connectors with high signal integrity as well as the simulation and measurement of transmission characteristics and their alignment with normative requirements.”
Interview with our makers
How we optimize signal integrity in practice
Industry 4.0 requires networked devices, which also means more interfaces
The demands on connection technology performance are constantly increasing. With the steady increase in the networking of modern devices, the number of interfaces is also growing. The goal is to achieve data transmission that is impaired as little as possible. This depends to a large extent on the interaction of all cables and connector components.
One connector property that is directly related to signal integrity is impedance. The target impedance of a connector depends on the transmission technology of the connector application. Deviations from the target impedance reflect the data signal back to the transmitter. If the reflections become too high, the reflected and transmitted signals overlap. This results in impaired data transmission. Arndt Schafmeister and Sebastian Stamm’s task is to prevent just that.
The connector impedance depends on a variety of factors
The impedance of a connector is influenced by factors such as material selection, geometry, and the arrangement of the signal-routing components. An additional factor is the frequency, i.e., the level transition time of the transmission technology used. This depends on the application and cannot be influenced by the manufacturer of the connector.
With regard to connector impedance, it is hardly possible to make generally valid statements about the best geometry, materials, or component arrangements, since in principle the nominal impedances of the transmission technologies and the level transition times must also be taken into account. What is advantageous for the design of a Single Pair Ethernet connector can be a knock-out criterion in the field of board-to-board connectors.
Practically perfect data transmission is the be-all and end-all of Industry 4.0. Are you aware of your untapped potential?
Comprehensive experience with individual optimization routines
When simulating board-to-board connectors, an impedance environment of 100 Ω for differential signals and from 50 Ω for single-ended signals is usually applied. There is a high signal integrity if the impedance behavior of the components deviates as little as possible from this target impedance. Our simulations are prepared for such common parameter settings and common contact assignments – the results will be made available to you within a very short time.
As part of our design-in support, we perform simulations for you based on individual parameters, advise on the selection of optimal connector combinations, and suggest suitable contact assignments. Here, the impedances and level transition times appropriate to your application can be taken into account, as can interference in the form of crosstalk from other signals in the same connection or interference due to other components on the printed circuit board. In the event of interference from other components, the observation or simulation of the electric and magnetic fields is called for. Shielded connectors help to reduce or even eliminate this interference entirely.
Individual support for optimized solutions and products
Based on the values you provide, we perform simulations and derive suggestions for suitable item combinations and contact assignments. We will inform you about the results, answer your questions, and provide you with appropriate documentation afterwards.
These individual simulations can usually be realized within a few days. To do so, our engineers need information on the your application, for example the arrangement of the printed circuit boards in the device, the type of data transmission, or the target impedance of the system. The board-to-board connectors offer a high degree of flexibility, particularly in terms of PCB arrangements. This allows mezzanine, coplanar, and backplane arrangements with different PCB spacing, as well as connections with pre-assembled ribbon cables.
Direct exchange is particularly important to us. This has led to unexpected optimization potential for signal integrity repeatedly in past projects, for example through an alternative contact assignment or the use of shielded connectors. We will be happy to support you in the development of your devices.
First-class data connections for smart networks
Phoenix Contact is your key partner for reliable data connections. Use reliable data connectors for the future-proof networking of all communication devices.