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EU rules will make connectors more sustainable to reduce electronic waste, and make consumers’ lives easier

Addressing safety requirements for sustainable and reliable fast-charging connectors

Soon consumers in the EU will be able to use one common charging port—the USB Type-C connector—for most of their electronics charging needs. Parliament and Council negotiators agreed that by autumn of 2024, the USB Type-C connector will become the common charging port for many electronics, including mobile phones, tablets and cameras. Although USB Type-C connectors rapidly restore electronic battery life, these connectors can create a fire hazard if made of low-performance insulating plastics. 

As you might have seen in the news, consumers in the EU will soon be able to use one common charging port for many of their electronics, including smart phones, tablets and cameras. On June 7, 2022, Parliament and Council negotiators agreed that by autumn of 2024, USB Type-C connectors will become the common charging port for such electronics.

The provisional agreement establishes a single charging solution for small- and medium-sized rechargeable portable electronic devices. As part of a broader EU effort to make products more sustainable and cut down on electronic waste, this agreement will make consumers’ lives easier —all you will need is one connector. 

With USB Type-C connectors becoming the uniform connector in the EU, manufacturers need to ensure that consumers can rapidly charge their devices and continue accessing the services they require throughout the day. As a result, smart devices support USB Type-C connectors, which deliver charging power levels up to 100 Watts, compared to USB 2.0 and 3.0 chargers that offer 18 Watts. The latest new USB-PD (power delivery) 3.1 standard can reach up to 240 Watts via a connector with as little as 0.25mm insulating walls between the pins.

Decrease fire risks when using higher CTI rated material for improved performance

Often contaminants such as dust and moisture collect inside connector housings. The contaminates can form arc faults that cause insulating plastics to break down, making them more vulnerable to electrical tracking, which poses a fire risk. 

Liquid crystal polymer (LCP) has long been used to manufacture micro-USB connectors. However, this material demonstrates low resistance to tracking when applied to electronics with thin walls and reduced pitch. To minimize the risk of accidents that can lead to costly recalls, manufacturers have shifted to PPA for improved safety performance. As USB-C connectors move to higher power throughputs, they need to consider materials with even better safety profiles for this application.

Envalior's ForTii is a best-in-class PPA with high amide density, engineered for demanding electrical and electronic applications. With its outstanding thermal and electrical properties, processing characteristics, and creep resistance, the material offers:

  • 600V comparative tracking index (CTI) to reduce tracking by 50% in thin-walled parts
  • Certified halogen-free UL94 V-0 grades
  • High dimensional stability with low warpage
  • High flow required for walls as thin as 0.1mm
  • Compatible with high-speed signal transfer up to 20Gbps
  • Lead-free reflow soldering without blistering
  • Level 1 JEDEC moisture sensitivity level (MSL) blistering resistance for USB-C applications
  • Halogen and red phosphorous-free grades

For standard USB connectors that don’t need to meet the PLC 0 CTI rating at 240W power, our Stanyl® PA46 material provides excellent mechanical strength, and the best cost-performance balance.

Our team tested how effectively Stanyl withstands tracking compared to LCP. We ran electric currents through connectors made from both materials, and continuously applied saltwater droplets to each. The LCP connector failed after being exposed to 12 droplets, while the insulating plastic in our Stanyl alternative remain undamaged after 60 droplets were applied.

Envalior continues to optimize our material solutions for manufacturing next-generation electronics that process higher power levels and meet the innovation trends. With more than 300 million USB-C connectors made from our materials on the market today, we’re prepared to partner with you through every stage of developing electronic devices that give your customers peace of mind, outperform the competition, and help you drive new business.

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Learn more about solutions for USB-C Connectors
 

Published on

28 February 2023

Tags

  • Blog (210)
  • USB-C Connectors (7)
  • Stanyl in electronics (2)
  • ForTii in electronics & electrical (8)
  • Smartphones (6)
  • Tablets (2)

Stanyl® minimizes fire hazards when fast charging devices using USB-C connectors

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

John Hsieh

Advanced Engineering Manager

John Hsieh, advanced engineering manager for Envalior, has 20 years of product management and technical marketing experience within the entire electronics value chain. He has been with Envalior since August 2013 and has a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.

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