The electronics industry is known to change wildly from year to year. While other industries are generally stable, undergoing very minor updates, the electronics industry moves onward and upward—full speed ahead! And with each swing of the electronics industry, the connectors industry must swing as well. New hurdles arise and must be overcome. Restrictions come into play (like RoHS and REACH, most recently). Pricing constraints and consumer requirements create challenges for the design engineers. There is so much to consider and work around.
Plus, design engineers have to work hard to ensure that their product makes it to final production. Great design does not always translate into huge sales. Often, the supplier will decide not to use the final connector design, utilizing a cheaper alternative instead. Design engineers must work with other professionals in the supply chain to produce a feasible product with both quality design and an affordable price tag.
Components engineers and purchasing professionals can really sway the final design as well. Their personal preferences and technical criteria may lead to a carefully designed connector being swapped out for an imperfect alternative. In this case, the design engineer must often step back into the process to resolve any problems that occur in manufacturing with this new, unexpected component. The engineer’s job sometimes stretches through the entire metal stamping contract manufacturing process, from the birth of the idea until the product is completed.
To design connectors that will make it to the final product, many engineers are now aiming their connectors at smaller, demanding segments of the industry in which highly reliable connectors are prized more than a cheap connector. The aeronautics and medical industries are great examples of this type of industry segment, but automotive, military, and industrial areas are also worthwhile. Suppliers of electronic devices, on the other hand, are much more likely to choose low-cost connectors.
Considering cost, quality, and efficiency makes design engineers’ jobs difficult, but it is surely very satisfying for them to see their connectors utilized in a final product at the end of the day.