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Enhanced Reliability Connector Utilizing Elastic Memory Composite Laminate Material Disclosure Number: IPCOM000235711D
Publication Date: 2014-Mar-21
Document File: 4 page(s) / 60K

Publishing Venue

The Prior Art Database


Described is an enhanced reliability connector utilizing elastic memory composite laminate material.

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Enhanced Reliability Connector Utilizing Elastic Memory Composite Laminate Material

High-end and mid-range servers are generally shipped to the customer after thorough testing in manufacturing. After the server is proven to work correctly, it is packed up and shipped to the customer. During shipment, the server is subjected to many shocks and vibrations, such as when the handlers are moving it, or driving it on a bumpy road, or taking it off of a truck. While this is happening, the contacts that are mated move relative to each other, and depending on the vibration level and system design, these movements can be numerous and very large in amplitude. A typical gold contact has a designed limited wear life. In other words, a little plating is worn off each time there is relative movement between the male and female surfaces. What happens during some shipments is that there is so much aggregate motion that the gold, and sometimes the nickel, are worn completely off, leaving copper in the mating area. This is detrimental to the reliability of the contact interface, and failures can happen months or even weeks or days after the start of the system.

    Lubricants have been used in the offending contact areas, but these only slow down the wear process and do not prevent it. If a shipment has a short duration, the lubricant can solve the problem, but for many customer shipments there is a lot of vibration so that the gold and nickel can still be compromised. In difficult situations, sometimes shipping brackets and lube do not solve the problem.

    Manufacturing can unplug the field replaceable units (FRUs) that are having the wear during shipment, but then the CE has to plug these cards in during the product install. This procedure adds additional expense, creates more opportunities for mistakes, and invalidates the final test-and-then-ship philosophy that manufacturing companies like to follow for customer satisfaction.

    The wear situation exists because the mechanical design philosophy is to attach (board) FRUs together. Cabling structures together would alleviate this problem, but it is not used to interconnect boards together for many reasons, including cost, manufacturing complexity, and additional propensity for assembly error. The vibration and shock operates on the heavy mass of these FRUs to make structures bend, twist, and bow. Without cabling, it becomes expensive and difficult to design the system to prevent motion. Motions as low as 0.001" can create large craters in contact surfaces. Bolts, thicker structures, and NIF screws take up space and cost money to implement, if there is the space to implement them. Clearly, alternate methods can be useful to solve this problem. Use of elastic memory composites enable connectors to be tested under an adequate...