It all started at the latest edition of Performance Racing Industry in Indianapolis, an annual exhibition gathering fans and professionals to discover the most high performance cars and automobile technologies in the world. Wondering among the stands, a LEMO employee was observing chassis, harnesses and race car engines. An idea was born: coloured connectors would enable personalizing the engine's looks, but also making it easier to identify parts in the forest of connectors that make up a race car engine! People around him approved and were looking forward to seeing it all.
M Series connectors were selected. Launched in 2009, they are LEMO's best for the car racing industry. These connectors being made of aluminium, they are coloured by the electrochemical surface finish process known as anodic oxidation. LEMO called on a long-time partner specialized in this technique.
The connector is immersed in acid bath and simultaneously an electric current passes through it. A 5 to 50 micron thick aluminium oxide layer forms, depending on immersion time and the required effect. Withstanding oxidization and variations in temperature much better, the processed aluminium is subsequently also covered in micropores giving it a matt surface appearance. In the colour baths, pigments attach particularly well to the porous surface structure, giving anodized objects their characteristic appearance and reflectivity.
After being anodized, the connector is relevant to specific applications. "This surface treatment makes the part non-conducting, explains Serge Buechli, marketing manager. It will not be recommended for complex data buses or other applications where EMC properties are important. On the other hand, for more simple functions, such as the ignition of a fuel pump or punctual measurement, it is perfect!" Cable and assembly visualization is optimized. Anodic oxidization being feasible with other materials, like titanium, this process is also used for other products by LEMO. For instance, for those used in Broadcast, where LEMO connectors can be instantly identified by their characteristic blue colour. All M Series connectors are now available in anodized version.