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Glossary

airbag The inflatable part of an automotive supplemental restraint system.
airbag burst disk A metal precision stamping that forms the pressure release mechanism in an airbag inflator. Pressure control is provided by the disk’s ability to rupture within a precisely controlled pressure range.
airbag inflator The multi-piece assembly, including pressure vessel, ignitor and burst disk, that inflates an automotive airbag.
alloy A mixture of two or more metals melted together. Generally, when two metals are alloyed together, the resulting material exhibits properties unique to the alloy and different from either of the constituents.
applicators Equipment designed to attach strip terminals to wire.
bimetal contact An electrical contact consisting of two metals: the contact material, usually a precious metal, and a base metal backing material.
bimetal rivet A cold headed electrical contact consisting of a contact material, usually a precious metal, and a backing material, usually pure copper. The contact material provides high electrical conductivity and arc resistance while the backer provides high thermal and electrical conductivity at reduced cost. Attachment of the contact to the carrier member is done by staking.
brazed assembly An electromechanical contact assembly that is constructed by brazing the contact tip to the supporting member.
brazed contact assembly See brazed assembly.
brazing The joining of metals through the use of heat and a filler metal – one whose melting temperature is above 450°C (840°F) but below the melting point of the metals being joined.
burst disk See airbag burst disk. Burst disks are also used in many other pressure control relief applications.
buss bar A solid, highly conductive metal bar used to carry electrical current between terminals, usually in a main panel.
BX cable assembly An electrical assembly consisting of flexible shielded cables joined by specially constructed locking connectors, usually for commercial applications.
clad metal A composite metal package consisting of two or more dissimilar metals, joined by brazing, welding or direct bonding, to create a result that provides electrical, mechanical or chemical properties unavailable from any of the single constituents.
cold bond A process of direct metal-to-metal bonding using extreme pressure to form a metallurgical bond between the parent metals.
cold bond rivet A bimetal rivet that was formed by cold bonding rather than other metal attachment processes, e.g. brazing.
cold head A metal forming process whereby a wire slug is formed by precise tooling into simple-to-complex shapes. No outside heat is applied.
composite button contact An electrical contact consisting of two or three metal layers: a contact material for electrical performance, an interlayer (usually copper) for electrical/thermal performance and economy, and a backing layer (usually steel) to provide a suitable material for attachment to the carrier member by resistance welding.
composite rivet contact See bimetal rivet.
connector An electrical device that provides connection between electrical circuits.
contact See electrical contact.
contact assembly An electromechanical multi-piece assembly constructed by brazing, welding or staking the electrical contact tip to the supporting member.
contact rivet A solid or bimetal cold headed electrical contact consisting of either a precious metal contact material by itself, or a contact material bonded to a backer, usually pure copper. The contact material provides high electrical conductivity and arc resistance while the backer provides high thermal and electrical conductivity at reduced cost. Attachment of the contact to the carrier member is done by staking.
contact tape A contact material consisting of two or more layers of different metals bonded together, form rolled to a precise shape and provided on a reel. The tape is cut off and resistance welded to a backer to form a complete contact assembly.
contact tip A discrete electrical contact that is subsequently attached to a carrier or contact blade.
copper tungsten A mixture of copper and tungsten powders. The copper constituent provides high conductivity while the tungsten provides superior erosion resistance in medium to high current interruption applications; however, since the copper is prone to oxidation, the contact assembly must be contained in a vacuum or immersed in oil to prevent the adverse effects of copper oxide formation.
electrical contact A solid or clad metal piece, usually composed of a solid precious metal or a precious metal/base metal clad that provides the points of contact through which electrical current passes with the closing of a switch. The contact provides good electrical and thermal conductivity, as well as resistance to welding due to electrical arcing or the formation of resistive surface films.
electromechanical Of or relating to, or involving an electrically operated mechanical device, e.g. switches, relays, motor controllers, interrupters.
ferrous metal Ferrous metals have iron as their main constituent. The ferrous metals most commonly used in engineering practice are cast iron, wrought iron, steel and alloy steels.
fine silver A brilliant white, lustrous metal that is extremely ductile and malleable. The most electrically conductive of all the elements, silver is one of the so-called precious metals, together with gold, palladium and platinum.
four-slide stamping A process that forms a part out of wire or thin metal strip using four dies which slide into the part at right angles to each other in one cycle of the press.
furnace brazing A manufacturing method used to produce a brazed assembly by a batch process. Parts are pre-assembled and processed through an atmosphere-controlled furnace to produce the assemblies. Finished parts are fully annealed. Ideal for large volume requirements.
high speed stamping A progressive die stamping that is produced at a stamping rate in excess of 500 strokes per minute. Although somewhat arbitrary, this production rate can typically only be achieved with precision power presses and tooling.
in-die staking An automated process to produce an assembly where a wire slug, contact rivet, or stamping is staked to a base metal strip in a progressive die, as opposed to staking the rivet into a previously stamped blade or a secondary operation.
in-die tapping A process whereby a tapping operation is incorporated into a progressive die. This results in the production of a threaded, stamped part in one stamping operation, as opposed to the process of tapping a previously stamped part in a secondary operation.
in-die welding An automated process to produce a contact assembly where a wire slug or contact tape segment is welded to a base metal strip in a progressive die, as opposed to welding the contact onto a previously stamped blade. The welded composite is then formed into a complete contact assembly further along in the die.
induction brazing A manufacturing method used to produce a brazed assembly on a one-off basis. Components are placed in a holder and heat is supplied by an induction coil. The process is typically used for low-to-medium volume requirements, or in applications where the application of heat must be localized since the entire assembly cannot be softened by the heat of brazing.
inflator See airbag inflator.
insert molding A process by which metal stampings and other discrete parts are combined into a single component through the injection of thermoplastic around the carefully placed parts (inserts).
large stamping A progressive die stamping that is typically produced on a power press with a capacity of at least 130 metric tons, from metal strip with a gauge in excess of 0.3 cm and measuring at least 7.5 cm x 10 cm overall.
leadframe A thin, precision metal stamping that connects the wiring from tiny electrical terminals on the semiconductor surface to the large-scale circuitry on electrical devices and circuit boards. Leadframes are used in almost all semiconductor packages.
loose piece stamping A progressive die stamping where the stamped parts are completely cut off at the end of the stamping process.
non-ferrous metal Any metal or alloy that does not contain iron as the main constituent. There are two categories of non-ferrous metals: common metals (mainly aluminum, copper, lead, nickel and zinc), and precious metals (gold, palladium, platinum and silver.)
noble metal A group of metals including gold, iridium, palladium, platinum and ruthenium that exhibit marked resistance to the formation of surface oxide films.
powder metal contact An electrical contact produced through the blending and compaction of silver and base metal powders. Typically, though not always, the base metal is a refractory metal, e.g. tungsten or molybdenum, for use in high current applications.
precious metal A group of metals including gold, silver, palladium and platinum that are ductile, malleable and highly resistant to the formation surface oxide films, therefore often used in jewelry, chemical and industrial applications.
precision stamping A progressive die stamping characterized by an intricate series of bends, forms and coins with linear tolerances generally ±.05 mm or less, and angular tolerances running to 1° or less.
pressure relief burst disk A precision metal stamping that forms the pressure release mechanism in systems employing compressed gases. Pressure control is provided by the disk’s ability to rupture within a precisely controlled pressure range.
progressive die A tool used to transform a flat strip of metal into a completed part. This transformation is performed progressively, by a series of stations that cut, form and coin the material into the desired shape as the strip is fed through the tool.
reel-to-reel stamping A progressive die stamping where the stamped parts are not completely cut off at the end of the stamping process but are, instead, left connected by a thin carrier and taken up onto a reel. This reel of parts can be subsequently processed through other operations such as plating, staking or forming on an automated basis.
rivetlay assembly Brainin’s trade name for in-die staking where the object to be staked is a wire slug that will be formed into the contact rivet portion of a contact assembly. The entire process occurs in the progressive die.
secondary assembly A multi-piece metal/metal or metal/plastic assembly that is constructed one at a time or by semi-automation. Frequently, secondary assembly techniques are used to add additional process steps to a lower-volume progressive die stamping without having to incur the cost of extra tooling or automation.
silver See fine silver.
silver alloy A mixture of two or more metals melted together, the major constituent being fine silver. Many silver alloys are in use in contact applications today with the constituent metals varying according to the needs of the application, e.g. electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, hardness, anti-welding ability, wear resistance, etc.
silver cadmium An alloy of silver and cadmium. Although these alloys are sometimes used “as is” for increased hardness and low material transfer/anti-sticking properties in arcing applications, most of these alloys are oxidized to form silver cadmium oxide composite materials before being used in electrical devices.
silver cadmium oxide A composite material consisting of a silver matrix containing a dispersion of fine cadmium oxide particles. Manufactured by either oxidation of a silver cadmium alloy or by powder metallurgy, these composites are among the most important categories of arcing contact materials.
silver copper An alloy of silver and copper. The addition of the copper imparts increased hardness for DC switches and relays, sliding contacts and other light duty electrical applications.
silver nickel A mixture of silver and nickel powders, processed into usable form as electrical contacts. These materials provide high conductivity and good anti-sticking properties for medium-duty switch and relay applications. Another popular characteristic is that these materials can be welded directly to copper and copper alloy substrates in the production of contact assemblies.
silver-refractory metal contact See powder metal contact.
silver tin oxide A composite material consisting of a silver matrix containing a dispersion of fine tin oxide particles. Manufactured by powder metallurgy or by the oxidation of a ternary silver-tin-“X” alloy (where “X” is typically indium), these composites exhibit high conductivity, low arc erosion and very good anti-welding properties.
silver tungsten A mixture of silver and tungsten powders. The silver constituent provides high conductivity while the tungsten provides superior erosion resistance in medium to high current applications.
silver tungsten carbide Electrically similar to silver tungsten, silver tungsten carbide mixtures exhibit higher resistance to mechanical wear in industrial-type molded case circuit breakers and certain high speed relays.
soldering The joining of metals through the use of heat and a filler metal – one whose melting temperature is below 450°C (840°F).
solid rivet A cold headed electrical contact consisting of a single contact material, usually a precious metal. The contact material provides high electrical conductivity and good resistance to arc erosion. Attachment of the contact to the carrier member is done by staking.
staked assembly An electromechanical contact assembly that is constructed by staking the rivet contact to the supporting member.
tape weld A welded contact assembly employing contact tape segments as the contact points.
terminals A metal precision stamping specifically designed to carry current from one component to another. Can be in strip form (on reels) or loose piece (bulk packed).
terminal inserter Equipment designed to insert strip terminals into plastic or into printed circuit boards.
weld button See composite button contact.
welded assembly An electromechanical contact assembly that is constructed by welding the contact tape/wire segment or button to the supporting member.
wire weld A welded contact assembly that uses wire as the contact material. A slug of the contact alloy wire is cut off, welded to the carrier strip, coined to shape and subsequently stamped into a finished assembly.