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ODU System Solutions for High End
Dismounted Soldier Systems (DSS)

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

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Simon Köhler - Product Manager

Simon Köhler - Product Manager

We combine several individual parts into a whole and call this a system. Similar to a chain, a system is only as strong as its weakest link. This simple insight presents us with many challenges. Interactions occur between the individual parts of the application and through environmental influences. Thus, it is not only the individual parts that are interesting, but the connection and the mutual influence.

Networking brings many advantages. In the military sector, sensors, databases and individual weapons, but also military units, are being linked into a system. Instead of operating individual platforms, the interaction of vehicles, unmanned drones and task forces becomes the central issue. The exchange of large amounts of data is also possible. This networking enables faster action, increases protection and mobility. An improved information base provides a basis for decision-making, especially in crisis situations. A decisive advantage in operations.

Q: In your view, what impact does digitalisation have in the military sector?

A: The requirements for military operations have changed a lot. Modern digitalised technology is no longer sufficient. Artificial intelligence (AI) plays an essential role and increasingly complex data sets are becoming more and more important. Situational awareness is dependent on artificial intelligence. From monitoring the vital systems of the emergency forces to the transmission of real data in vehicles and corresponding alarms, mobile networking is indispensable. In the future, the number of platforms and sensors will continue to increase, adapted to the needs of the operator, from the soldier in the field to the command personnel in the operations centre.

Q: Has the demand for connectors changed in this respect?

A: Driven by the continuous innovations and international procurement projects, the demand for robust military connectors is increasing. The market for military equipment is growing dramatically. Whereas in the past it was sufficient to equip squad leaders with radios, now entire companies are equipped with intelligent HUBs. Lightweight and portable security and communication technology, computer systems or vision and surveillance systems are a matter of course.

Q: What are the requirements for ODU connectors?

A: For these portable nodes/HUBs, ODU offers connectors for the transmission of data, signals or currents. Various peripheral devices such as optotronics, battery systems and communication devices can thus be intelligently networked with each other and create cross-platform system compatibility. Robust, resistant and optimised for demanding applications are the basic requirements. But robust does not necessarily mean heavy. True to the motto "high speed, low drag", ODU places emphasis on a space-saving and lightweight design right from the development stage and achieves a weight advantage of up to 70%. This relieves the burden on the operating forces at component level.

Use of ODU connectors in Dismounted Soldier Systems

Use of ODU connectors in Dismounted Soldier Systems

Q: How can ODU ensure the flow of information?

A: The ODU AMC® connectors ensure the flow of information and power supply through the various MIL standards such as MIL-STD-810G and thus fulfil the requirements of 38999 or NATO STANAG 4695. In this way, the ODU AMC® connectors can also fulfil the requirements of temperature extremes or strong vibrations. Easy handling, even in hazardous situations or when impaired by e.g. protective equipment, as well as a high number of mating cycles and field cleaning are also arguments in favour of ODU's connectors, as are connector systems based on customer requirements.

Q: How does ODU ensure the effectiveness of emergency personnel under the most difficult operating conditions?

A: Even when impaired by protective equipment (CBRN) such as gloves, night vision or thermal imaging equipment, our connectors can be used without any problems. Depending on the situation, the locking requirements vary. The Thread-Lock is particularly suitable for applications that have to deal with extremely strong vibrations. The Break-Away is designed to release the connection with manual force, allowing quick and easy disconnection in critical situations. The push-pull mechanism reliably locks into the device part and the ball-lock system provides additional support so that interference-free data transmission can be guaranteed. The ODU AMC® Series T combines the three locking variants so that interfaces are reduced across systems and have the same interface.

ODU AMC® Series T combines the three locking variants: Push-Pull, Thread-Lock and Break-Away

ODU AMC® Series T combines the three locking variants: Push-Pull, Thread-Lock and Break-Away

Q: What is the latest development from ODU?

A: ODU has introduced a high performance and quick disconnect miniature connector, the ODU AMC® NP, to the market in the AMC® connector portfolio.
The rugged metal connector improves soldier communication capabilities in the field and is tested to MIL-STD-810H and applicable technical requirements. It also incorporates enhanced power contacts with USB® 2.0 capabilities as well as power-saving contacts, manages a minimum of 2,000 mating cycles and is waterproof to IP68, with waterproof versions available up to 20m. There are options for solder, crimp or PCB connections, easy handling, a robust break-away design and integrated cable mounting solutions.

This new connector is ideal for tactical battery packs, power distribution units (PDU), conformable wearable batteries (CWB), tactical hubs and C4ISR peripherals for the transmission of USB® 2.0 signals and power. It is compatible with open architecture standards such as NATO STANAG 4695, Nett Warrior and GOSSRA (General Open Structure Architecture).

We also have a new fibre optic portfolio. Particularly noteworthy is our Extended Beam Performance solution, integrated in a robust 38999 qualified housing of the ODU AMC® Series T. This solution offers several advantages. Compared to conventional lens technology of a MIL-DTL-83526 fibre optic connector with 4 fibres, we carry 12 optical fibres in the same installation space. This means that data rates can be tripled and the required installation space can be reduced by a third. The optical parameters even undercut connectors with physical contacts. In multimode operation we achieve an insertion loss of just < 0.2 dB and in single mode operation < 0.5 dB. The connector has a multi-sealed mechanism (IP6K8) so that the lens only needs to be cleaned every 5000 mating cycles.

ODU AMC® NP connector and device part, assembled, all from one source, all from ODU

ODU AMC® NP connector and device part, assembled, all from one source, all from ODU

Q: What do you place particular emphasis on when developing new products?

A: One of our main criteria is the focus on safety and reliability. We strive to make products that are safe and efficient to use. Another aspect is the ability to develop customised solutions that meet customers' specific requirements. Whether it is just adapting connectors to specific requirements or developing customised features, we aim to offer products that are tailored to our customers' needs. We are constantly looking for ways to push the boundaries of what is possible and develop new technologies. This focus on innovation characterises our collaboration and helps us stay at the forefront of our respective industries.

Q: How is ODU arming itself for the growing digitalisation?

A: ODU offers design-in support methods and has recognised the growing importance of online search engines in today's development and procurement environment. Whether through Traceparts, Digi-Key or Mouser, ODU is highly integrated with external online platforms. On its own website, ODU offers the Product Finder, which is optimised to guide customers to the optimal connector solution. This intuitive, easy-to-use filter system finds the right product and produces the required connector data sheet in a clear format without having to trawl through a catalogue. In addition, the ODU Express delivery service is integrated and 3D data can be created in the format that suits the customer. Within 15 working days, ODU ships up to 150 metal circular connectors (ODU AMC® / ODU MINI-SNAP®) and up to 15 modular connectors to its customers worldwide. The fast delivery times mean that the benefits of shorter lead times can be exploited, thus meeting time-to-market targets. In addition, ODU provides technical samples for design-in purposes free of charge via the online tool.

ODU Group: global representation with perfect connections

The ODU Group is one of the world’s leading suppliers of connector systems, employing 2,500 people around the world. In addition to its company headquarters in Muehldorf a. Inn (Germany), ODU also has an international distribution network and production sites in Sibiu/Romania, Shanghai/China, and Tijuana/Mexico. ODU combines all relevant areas of expertise and key technologies including design and development, machine tooling and special machine construction, injection, stamping, turning, surface technology, assembly and cable assembly. The ODU Group sells its products globally through its sales offices in China, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Korea, Romania, Sweden, UK and the US, as well as through numerous international sales partners. ODU connectors ensure a reliable transmission of power, signals, data and media for a variety of demanding applications including medical technology, military and security, automotive, industrial electronics, and test and measurement.

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