SAN DIEGO Two major forces in electronics packaging rose above competitive habits and announced a cooperative agreement at DesignCon this week. The AMP division of Tyco Electronics Corp. (Harrisburg, Pa.) and Erni Components Inc. (Chester, Va.) will partner to speed acceptance of the 2-mm hard-metric connector in a variety of electronics gear.
Erni's strategic product marketing manager Michael Munroe called the agreement far-ranging, covering "qualification, an intermateability and interchangeability certification program," second sourcing and future product development.
"It's unprecedented for two companies like us to collaborate on developing, manufacturing and marketing products," he said, "but we've both been getting a lot of pressure from large customers to provide a second source."
What mated two fierce connector competitors? The standards that govern 2-mm connectors provide interoperability among products from multiple vendors, Munroe said, "but when a problem arises say, with mating one vendor's connector on a backplane with another vendor's connector on a plug-in board the finger-pointing begins. This [alliance] will strengthen customer confidence."
Originally developed by the telecommunications industry, the 2-mm hard-metric connector standard has been adopted for both CompactPCI and the P0 connector of the 64-bit extensions of the VMEbus spec. It has spread like wildfire, sources said, across proprietary systems of all sorts.
Under the agreement, Erni also gains access to AMP's 2-mm power-module connector and the Quiet Mate connector for hot-swap systems that AMP introduced at DesignCon. The agreement "also provides for AMP and Erni to work jointly on the development of future products to extend the functional life" of the connector standard," Munroe said.
The agreement also strengthens both companies overseas. "It helps us in the Far East, where AMP is strong, and it helps them in Europe, where we are strong," Munroe said.