A test engineer testing a high-current feed-through terminal block

Laboratory tests for connectors and electronics housings Tested quality for the highest level of safety

Connection technology of the highest quality for device manufacturers – high quality, reliable, durable and safe. This is the Phoenix Contact guarantee for PCB terminal blocks, connectors, and electronics housings – the key elements in device manufacturing – and also a promise to our customers. We do not just test the quality of our products once they have been produced; rather, we have a comprehensive quality management program in place right from the start of the development process. This is because every conductor connection technology has to meet specific standards, certifications, and also country-specific requirements.

Laboratory tests are the key to tested quality. Intensive quality tests are performed prior to series approval in our DIN EN ISO 17025 DAkkS-accredited technology laboratories, along with in-process inspections of all key parameters during production. A process-oriented integrated management system based on the international ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards guarantees that customer requirements, laws, and standards are taken into consideration during the development and production of our products.

Three-dimensional simulation of a high-current feed-through terminal block in color

Preliminary testing Quality begins in the development process

State-of-the-art simulation tools are used in the Phoenix Contact laboratories in order to optimize customer benefits and quality right from the start. Since the ambient conditions during a computer-aided simulation can be defined in any number of ways, preliminary tests provide the optimal conditions for testing the long-term stability of the products right from the start of the development phase. These include:

  • Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP): Based on ISO 9001, TS 16949, and VDA, product and process features to be developed are harmonized, test concepts worked out, test methods and test classification are taken into consideration, and product specifications are defined in the form of the necessary production documentation.

  • Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA): Potential weak points and risks are identified and eliminated and measures are defined as the basis for further activities.

  • Computer-aided simulation (FEM): The FEM calculation (Finite Element Method) is used early in the development stage to evaluate whether the selected materials and geometries meet the requirements for industrial use.

  • Product and Process Approval Process (PPAP): The PPAP verifies the fulfillment of the agreed customer requirements as well as the corresponding laws and standards for series production.

A red-hot wire is pressed onto a Phoenix Contact PCB terminal block

Material tests Test batch A: high quality through material tests for optimum long-term behavior

In order to assess their suitability and long-term behavior, the materials used by Phoenix Contact are subjected to further comprehensive tests in addition to computer-aided simulations. Do the material properties change under certain conditions? How long does it remain resilient under extreme temperatures? – Our test engineers investigate questions such as these in order to ensure that only those materials that meet the highest standards of reliability and durability are used. Test batch A, the first block in the process for product approval, includes the following tests, among others:

  • Glow-wire test
  • Thermographic imaging
  • Scanning electron microscopy
  • Computer tomography
A conductor connected to a male connector is fed through a rotating disk. The conductor is moved around its own axis and is subjected to axial tension.

Mechanical tests Test batch B: high quality through optimum resistance to external physical influences

The focus of these quality tests is on product resistance under external mechanical influences at the center point. PCB terminal blocks, connectors, or electronic housings are tested to determine factors such as the strength and the deformation, bending and fracture behavior of the housing, conductor outputs, and contact surfaces. Test batch B of the laboratory tests is the second block in the process for approving our products:

  • Flexion test and bending test (IEC 60999-1)
  • Conductor pull-out test (IEC 60998-2-1)
  • Drop test
  • Impact test (UL 746C)
  • Cold impact test
  • Flammability and fire resistance test (UL 30, UL 57, UL 1703)
  • Conductor connection capacity
  • Lock-in position of electrical contacts
  • Insertion and withdrawal force
  • Number of plugging cycles
  • Multiple wiring
  • Touch-proof protection (IEC 60529)
  • Polarization and coding
  • Micro-sections
Series-connected male connectors in the Phoenix Contact test laboratory

Electrical tests Test batch C: high quality through optimum alignment of the current flow and voltage characteristics

During electrical quality tests, the current and voltage characteristics of PCB terminal blocks, connectors, and electronic housings are examined. Our engineers test the materials for their insulation and current carrying capacity properties, for example, in the test laboratory. They also measure the contact resistance prior to and after a test sequence. As the third block, test batch C includes the following tests, among others:

  • Cyclical overload test (heat-cycling test in accordance with UL 1059)
  • Cyclical aging test
  • Thermal reliability
  • Insulation resistance (UL 1703, UL 27)
  • Current carrying capacity derating curve (IEC 60512-5-2)
  • Contact resistance measurement (ICE 6998-2-1)
  • High-voltage test
  • Impulse withstand voltage test (IEC 60664-1)
  • Air clearances and creepage distances
  • Resistance measurement
Several male connectors are subjected to rapid vibrations over a defined period of time

Environmental and durability tests Test batch D: high quality through the highest resilience under extreme external influences

Our PCB terminal blocks, connectors, and housings are subjected to extreme climatic conditions such as temperature shocks to test their durability. The vibration resistance and IP protection classes are also verified. Objective and purpose of test batch D, the fourth block prior to product release: high quality, durability, and reliability even under extreme environmental conditions. Selected tests in this phase include:

PCB with PCB terminal blocks and further electronics connected to it

Type approval and special tests Test batch E: high quality with local or industry-specific standards and certifications

Tested quality at Phoenix Contact means that our PCB terminal blocks, connectors, and housings also have to comply with special standards and approvals in specific industries and countries. As the final block of laboratory tests, the test batch E spectrum includes, among things:

  • Solderability test DIN EN 60068-2-69
  • Freedom from whiskers; DIN EN IEC 60068-2-82
  • RoHS conformity
  • Industry and country-specific approvals
Tested quality – with safety
PCB terminal blocks and PCB connectors are among the basic elements in device manufacturing. They must not only be reliable but, within the scope of miniaturization, also increasingly smaller and more robust. Learn which tests and inspections Phoenix Contact device connection technology have to pass before series release.
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A device developer examining a high-current feed-through terminal block