Quick lock ground terminals practical and safe


Codogno (Italy), September 4, 2008.


MTA, a leading company in the design and production of electric and electronic components for the automotive industry, has recently developed a new ground terminal, with a quick lock, able to eliminate incoming problems in the electric system and to largely decrease the assembly times of cars.

A new quick lock ground terminal is now born in MTA, which is practical and safe. The planning of this terminal came from the need to avoid tightening torque problems on the vehicles’ ground terminals that result in unsure connections that often lead to malfunctioning of the electrical system. Contrary to traditional ring terminals that foresee bolting by tightening a nut onto a threaded stem, the MTA terminal connects to a smooth stem with a quick lock system.
Thanks to the new attachment system, there will no longer be risks of incorrect tightening or couplings and corners that are not controlled, thus avoiding unpleasant and unwanted vehicle downtime.
After positioning the terminal on the smooth stem, the operator, by exerting slight pressure on it, can check its correct closure, which is confirmed by hearing a “click” of attachment. The replacement of ring terminals with the quick lock terminals brings about remarkable benefits for production plants. Having eliminated the need to use a nut and screwdriver, labor is reduced considerably, with obvious reductions in assembly times, freeing the assembly lines of tools such as screwdrivers, battery chargers and air tubes.
To obtain a product that met these needs, the Research and Development Department, located in Codogno and responsible for all of our innovations, working closely with our Lab, began the study that led to the product we boast about today.
Starting from a geometry that foresaw the use of smooth stem, supplied by a company that has worked with us for a long time, the first FEM (Finite Element Method) simulations were conducted on the terminal to calculate the future mechanical loads and contact pressures. The results allowed us to optimize the terminal's design in light of the criticism that came up. At the same time, various test on the most suitable materials were conducted, subjecting copper alloys to surface treatments able to verify their corrosion resistance. What required the most involvement from the MTA department was the study of a highly ergonomic product, capable of satisfying the strictest workplace safety requirements. In fact, the terminal had to be easy to handle and completely safe for the operator during its assembly. The various prototypes were subjected to rigorous and lengthy laboratory tests, with the intent of verifying their mechanical and electrical resistance, and their compatibility with the fluids found in vehicles. The prototypes were also subjected to thermal ageing tests that, by simulating the current average vehicle lifespan (approximately 10 years), were able to verify the terminal’s durability.
In addition to laboratory tests which guaranteed that the product works properly, we are also executing some tests by mounting the terminal on three different ground points (electronic injection, electric steering and engine cooling fan) on a test car (Grande Punto 1300 JTD) to verify its actual behavior on the road.
The choice of these three services ware not in any way random, as they represent the types of load present: electronic injection, characterized by low absorption under current, and the other two with elevated absorptions, greater than 50 A.
After the first 100,000 km the terminals are able to demonstrate the excellent response in terms of reliability and functioning.
At the end of this development process, a decidedly innovative product was made available, now made in clear plastic that allows the assembly line operator to visually and acoustically verify correct system connection. We have not excluded, however, the use of other materials, as well, in the future, chosen on the basis of the specific needs of Car Makers.
Alla fine di questo processo di sviluppo è oggi disponibile un prodotto decisamente innovativo, realizzato in una plastica trasparente che consente all’operatore in linea di oggettivare visivamente e acusticamente la corretta connessione del sistema. Non si esclude, però, in futuro anche l’uso di altri materiali, scelti in funzione delle esigenze specifiche del singolo Car Maker.