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Sophisticated Cables: Not Just for RF

Bill Schweber
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3/28/2016 12:07:16 PM
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Cables in motion
For those who have not worked with motion control and don't have a feel for what 5 m/s velocity means, it is really fast!  I once worked for a wirebonder manufacturer, and we had bondheads moving at up to 1 m/s, and that was plenty fast enough to cause serious injury.  Multiply that by a factor of 5, and I'd expect limbs to be severed and people coming in contact with such machinery to be killed.  Of course, mass of the moving object comes into play, but I'm assuming if you have to worry about the cables' reliability, the mass is substantial.

At that bonder manufacturer, we had some issues with reliability of connectors as well.  I remember that company A's connectors mated with company A's connectors were fine, but company B's connectors mated with either company A's connectors or company B's connectors had issues.  The connectors in this particular series were supposed to be compatible among manufacturers, but the ones from company B were inferior.  Connectors from other series were fine across the board.  Not a pleasant situation with hundreds, if not thousands, of mated pairs with every combination of connectors from both manufacturers on boards and cables out in the field!

Moral of the story; neglect cables and connectors at your own peril!

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