Design rules for

Plug connectors

Development of design rules for the standardisation of plug connectors


Dr. Jens Haun

Kostal Kontakt Systems GmbH

Mr. Haun is Head of Pre-Development

Design rules for plug connectors

Consolidation of the design rules for plug connectors

The holistic approach of the design guidelines from sub-project 1 (SP1) is specified in greater detail for the plug connectors in sub-project 2 (SP2). Due to variance in the sub-area of plug connectors, consisting of current-carrying contact parts and insulation elements such as seals and housings, detailed design guidelines are being worked out. Synergy effects with the existing sub-projects, especially between SP1 and SP2 will be used to develop suitable design guidelines and enable automated production and use of plug connectors. Existing design guidelines in the market have been used as the basis for further development.

Starting point and motivation

A large part of the assembly of plug connectors is currently carried out manually. Only crimping can be automated due to a good ratio between the degree of automation and the cost. The degree of automation depends on the selected type of wire harness (HV – high-voltage, LV – low-voltage or CWH – custom wire harness), whereby the CWH requires the most demanding production effort. The variety of parts available on the market makes automation difficult. There are no implementable design guidelines for plug connectors that favour or enable automation and are accepted across the entire industry.

Current working focuses

One focus is the formulation of the design rules for plug connectors and their structural comparison with the design rules from SP1 (Design rules for the automation of the wire harness). The results so far from phase 1 (focusing on low voltage) have now been documented in a draft standard and are further specified here. This marks the achievement of an important milestone. In the upcoming phase 2, high-voltage connectors and high-frequency connectors will both be included. In addition, the existing design guidelines will be refined and supplemented with the knowledge gained from the other sub-projects.

By eliminating design features that are required for manual processing, increased potential for simplification can be found under the prerequisite that certain components are processed exclusively by automation.



Sample parts are used to illustrate design features in a sample wire harness. These activities are carried out across sub-projects as a kind of ‘synergy project’. In addition, updating of the standard needs to be initiated.