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Functionality under extreme operating
and environmental conditions

Simon Köhler - Product Manager at ODU GmbH & Co. KG

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Simon Köhler - Product Manager

Simon Köhler - Product Manager

Connectors for military and security technology from ODU - robust, resistant and optimized for demanding applications. In addition to functionality under extreme operating conditions, easy handling and reliable data transmission in use are also required. An extensive product portfolio offers customers a connector tailored to the application.

Q: Today, the vehicle that brings troops into action is more than just a workhorse that drives from A to B, it is now a communication base or relay for communication, carries power for numerous batteries, radar, etc. These change depending on what is needed for an assignment. Where do you see the challenges?

A: Military vehicles face a variety of challenges in the field. The missions are characterized by extreme and demanding environmental conditions, as well as extreme weather conditions. Impassable terrain, different soil conditions, but also heat, cold, precipitation and dust must not impair performance. In addition, it must be possible for military units to be networked with each other. This requires the transmission of ever higher data rates. Depending on the application and transmission distances, using optical fibers might not be suitable.

Due to the rapid technological development, the speed of product development and market launch, as well as the availability of connectors, are added to this for us as a manufacturer. ODU tries to enable the delivery of small quantities within 15 days with an express program (ODU Express) for selected products.

Q: With this ever-changing product load in vehicles connecting different products and power sources, is there a one-product solution or a multi-product solution?

A: The requirements for the transmission of current, high voltage, data technology or fiber optics are so different that they usually cannot be integrated together in one connector. Therefore, a multi-product solution is sought. ODU offers the advantage of a one-stop-shop. Standard cable assemblies are offered for various data technology protocols: USB, HDMi, DisplayPort or coax connector. Often, the type of connected subsystem, such as a reconnaissance device or other optotronics, is crucial. These devices use high-frequency connectors that ensure a connection to printed circuit boards, while a HUB in the vehicle ensures data exchange via an Ethernet hub.

Nevertheless, there are applications that prefer a single-product solution. For example, in one of the most widely used Main Battle Tank systems (MBT), ODU products of the ODU-MAC® series (modular connectors) are used. Various modules from power transmission to data technology can be used, all of which are integrated into one interface. In this special case, the modular connector transmits both the supply voltages for a central electronic unit and the switching and control signals for the entire tower system.

Q: How does ODU solve this problem, which also affects the use of multiple vehicles by troops of different countries, which may use different solutions?

A: The main problems arising from system interoperability are insufficient communication and data exchange between different systems. This can lead to malfunctions, inefficiency and security risks. This is exactly what has a major influence on our developments. The current geo-political situation shows how important it is that Allies must be able to support each other quickly with defense systems. Crews and maintenance and aftercare logistics must also be able to adapt to the new systems without much preparation time. ODU is looking for holistic solutions with various approaches. Be it with adapter solutions, as a partner in the development of overarching solutions, for example for the increasing digitalization of the armed forces, or with innovative connectivity solutions such as the ODU AMC® Series T.

ODU AMC® Series T with Expanded Beam Performance - high quality transmission and a high number of mating cycles

ODU AMC® Series T with Expanded Beam Performance - high quality transmission and a high number of mating cycles

With the ODU AMC® Series T, ODU offers a miniature 38999 connector that offers maximum flexibility in field assembly thanks to the 3 on 1 locking mechanism and meets the environmental requirements of an innovative connector. Depending on the application, a thread-lock, push-pull or break-away connector can be connected to a universal socket. This reduces the number of different connectors and improves the emergency running properties. The advantage for the user is enormous.

ODU AMC® Series T with 3 on 1 locking mechanism

ODU AMC® Series T with 3 on 1 locking mechanism

Q: How does ODU see the future of connectivity for automotive engineering?

A: In the future, vehicles will be even more connected to enable a seamless exchange of information. Advanced communication systems allow vehicles to share information in real time. State-of-the-art communication technologies could increase data transfer speeds. The integration of autonomous and unmanned vehicles could increase efficiency, flexibility and safety, and improve the situational awareness of military operations. There is greater demand for the integration of UGV/UAV systems into Joint Forces, Dismounted Soldier systems and the processing of data in Forward Operation Bases (FOB) or Tactical Operation Centers (TOC).

We are already addressing today's technical and ecological challenges in order to have solutions for tomorrow's applications in the future. Be it to transfer even higher data rates or to expand the existing portfolio. The miniaturization of communication systems and the use of lighter materials to improve the mobility and manoeuvrability of vehicles while reducing weight are other topics we are working on.

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