Eaton’s Power Connections Employing Innovative Sealed High-power Lock Box Connectors

Intelligent power management company Eaton today announced its eMobility business is now offering specialized high-power lock box (HPLB) power connectors for use in current and future electrified and internal combustion vehicle solutions. The HPLB connectors, a component of eMobility’s Power Connections portfolio, offer a space-saving profile, superior performance, cost savings and reduced manufacturing complexity. The HPLB connectors were designed and developed by Royal Power Solutions, a leading manufacturer of high-precision electrical connectivity components that Eaton acquired in 2022.

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Eaton’s specialized high-power lock box (HPLB) terminal system forms a connection in a unique way that provides improved contact force throughout the component’s service life. (Photo: Business Wire)

Eaton’s specialized high-power lock box (HPLB) terminal system forms a connection in a unique way that provides improved contact force throughout the component’s service life. (Photo: Business Wire)

HPLB connectors provide protection against the elements, corrosion

“Eaton recommends use of sealed connection systems to meet reliability and durability requirements,” said Chris Mancuso, general manager, Power Connections, Eaton. “Additionally, we’ve designed our HPLB terminal system for high-current and high-temperature applications, up to 500 amps and 125 degrees Celsius, respectively.”

Traditionally, eyelet terminals within vehicle electrical components are not sealed, potentially exposing them to road spray and salt, which accelerates terminal galvanic corrosion. Corrosion can mitigate the power flow, leading to system failure.

The fully sealed connectors are also resistant to severe vibration and deliver a component service life that meets USCAR Safety Performance Requirements.

Innovative terminal contact methodology

Eaton’s HPLB terminal system forms a connection in a unique way that provides improved contact force throughout the component’s service life. Unlike traditional box and blade terminals, the connectors use Power Connections’ Connector Positive locks, which utilize an “inside-out” contact system with internal spring pressure and multiple contact points. The unique configuration provides a stronger connection than that of conventional box-and-blade connectors where the female terminal spring squeezes the male blade, which loosen when exposed to heat and vibration, resulting in a loss of power flow continuity and the possibility of corrosion.

“Power connectors, while a small component, are a critical design element to meet product performance and durability requirements,” Mancuso said. “Commercial fleet operators not only expect but require that all vehicle systems have a service life of at least 10 years.”

The unique connection also reduces heat radiating from the connection points by an average of six degrees Fahrenheit per contact. Many modern vehicles have up to 120 such contact points, so leveraging HPLB connectors leads to dramatic temperature mitigation and improved vehicle performance.

Reduces manufacturing complexity, potential for harmful production errors

Traditionally, eyelet terminals are manually connected by a production line worker wearing two sets of gloves for protection against high voltage and an air gun to tighten small nuts. If the connection is not precise every time it can result in a disruption in power flow. If the operator accidentally drops a nut into the component’s inner workings, it can short circuit the entire unit.

The HPLB connectors can be installed by a “pick-and-place” robot, allowing for precise and safe connections every time. Additionally, the HPLB sits flush, unlike traditional connector terminals, reducing space requirements within the vehicle.

“Our HPLB terminal connectors not only lower temperature, but provide extra current carrying capacity,” Mancuso said. “So, they are half the size and carry twice the current, and in some applications up to three times the current.”

Eaton is an intelligent power management company dedicated to improving the quality of life and protecting the environment for people everywhere. We are guided by our commitment to do business right, to operate sustainably and to help our customers manage power — today and well into the future. By capitalizing on the global growth trends of electrification and digitalization, we’re accelerating the planet’s transition to renewable energy, helping to solve the world’s most urgent power management challenges, and doing what’s best for our stakeholders and all of society.

Founded in 1911, Eaton is marking its 100th anniversary of being listed on the New York Stock Exchange. We reported revenues of $20.8 billion in 2022 and serve customers in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit www.eaton.com. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.