Electrical Manufacturing – Using Computed Tomography (CT) to Evaluate Electrical Pin Connections

Digital radiography is commonly used to evaluate electrical connectors. Connectors designed with multiple pins and complex geometries make it more difficult to comprehensively inspect due to the many superimposed features.

CT scanning for this type of produce provides a very high probability of detection when inspecting for wire nicking and fraying, crimp joint integrity, wire insertion position, pin positions, foreign objects and debris (FOD), and insulation integrity and position. In addition, the cast connector shell can be inspected for shrinkage, porosity, and other casting discontinuities.

CT Inspection of Electrical Connectors

In the below image, if you look at the orientation of the pins, many of them are placed in various directions. This may or may not influence the functionality of the connector, as it is a round hole. However, when the orientation of the other end that it will be plugged into is considered, sometimes the wires are very proximal as they are rotated in different directions. At the very least, this creates the potential for a problem.

The wire insulation needs to be trimmed off, before the insertion of the wire into the electrical pin. Post-insertion into the electrical pin, the wire can be crimped. In this region, there is always the potential to nick the wires when the insulation is stripped off, which can lead to problems.

Nicked wires may not insert properly, as they may not be fully inserted and crimped, making them more unlikely to stay put. This leads to fraying wires. When the wires are frayed, they could sometimes stick out and potentially touch other wires. If the window leveling in CT is changed to create more transparency in the image, the actual insulation levels can be discerned.

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This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by North Star Imaging, Inc.

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