The best-selling Buccaneer range of connectors from Elektron Technology brand Bulgin components now feature in almost 70% of traffic detection and control products developed by AGD Systems Ltd (AGD).
Bulgin Components, an Elektron Technology brand, has been a trusted supplier to AGD since the early 1990s. AGD uses Bulgin’s Buccaneer connectors in nearly 70% of its product line, including its entire vehicle and pedestrian detection ranges. The PX0728/P 9 pole cable connector and PX0762/S 9 pole Bulkhead Standard Buccaneer connectors are an integral component, providing the pole top connection between AGD’s traffic control and pedestrian detection sensors and the traffic light controllers themselves.
Performance and reliability were the key design considerations for AGD when selecting the connectors. Its products operate outdoors for as long as 10 years and therefore must maintain performance across seasonal temperature extremes and variable weather conditions. AGD was attracted to the Bulgin Buccaneer range as it could provide an IP68-rated, environmentally sealed circular connection that could protect critical circuitry from the rain and general dust and dirt that could cause the product to malfunction and require repair. With AGD’s industry reputation for superior quality to maintain, this level of weather-proofing is essential.
Bulgin’s Buccaneer connectors are also something of an ‘industry standard’ in junction boxes and signal controllers. AGD’s choice of connector also therefore supports its products’ compatibility with customers’ own systems.
Trusted supply chain and benchmarking
In addition to choosing the best available components, it is also essential for AGD to have a reliable supply chain. The company works very closely with all its suppliers to ensure it invests capital into buffer stocks. This has sustained AGD’s ability to win business, as the company can very quickly turnaround products for customers.
Dafydd Hughes, Supply Assurance Manager at AGD comments: “In an increasingly competitive environment, the financial risk and increase in investment required to develop new products is substantial. The issue of supply chain relationships within and between companies has long been recognised as a key factor influencing our industry and greatly impacts our ability to compete and increase share in world markets. Our 20 year relationship with Bulgin has always been a positive one. Like all our suppliers, the reliability of their service directly relates to our own value and sustainable competitive advantage.”
Despite this very strong working relationship, AGD benchmarked Bulgin’s Buccaneer connector against other connectors available in the market place.
Martin Smith, Quality Manager at AGD comments: “Our benchmarking exercise demonstrated that the Buccaneer connectors were excellent value for money over competing products”. Importantly, by working with Bulgin’s OEM Sales Manager, Jacqui Birch, to closely define our requirements, the exercise also helped us to save between 15 and 20% on our component spend. As a result, we were very happy to make a formal 3 year commitment to Bulgin with a healthy forecast in place for well in excess of 12,000 connectors a year.”
The long term agreement in place with Bulgin means AGD has in the region of a £45,000 annual spend. AGD’s local subcontractor Stantek Electronics Ltd (Stantek) procures the connectors from this agreement in order to manufacture the cables. AGD then procure the cable assemblies from Stantek before compiling all the sub-assemblies into end units at its facility in Staverton, Gloucestershire. Lisa Hamon, Group Sales Director EMEA, Elektron PLC comments: “Innovation and customer service are the two cornerstones of our business. In the case of AGD we are supplying them with a great product that fulfils their requirement and, by making sure we work closely with their team to follow through on our promises and deliver on time, we are giving them a service to match. This is why we have so many long-term customers like AGD.”
Other applications for Buccaneer connectors
Stuart Hutchings, Marketing Manager with Bulgin Components , adds: “Our Buccaneer connectors have numerous different guises and a multitude of other applications either in external or internal environments where protection against the ingress of dust and liquid is a system requirement.”
For power applications there is the miniature 400 Series; Mini; Standard and 900 Series. Screw terminations ensure simple ‘field’ connection, whilst crimp terminations fulfil the requirement for fast effective volume connections. Each range has flex cable connector, in-line flex cable connector and panel mounting connector options. Over-moulded versions provide safe, secure and tamperproof cable termination.
With a wide choice of alternatives from 2 to 25 poles, BNC connections and screw, solder or crimp terminations, the Buccaneer range provides the answer to many design problems.
For data applications the Buccaneer range also includes designs specifically for Ethernet, USB, Mini USB, SMB and FireWire applications. Ethernet Buccaneer meets Cat 5e requirements for data rates up to 100Mbs, USB Buccaneer is designed to meet USB version 2.0 specification for data rates up to 480Mbs, SMB Buccaneer has a frequency response up to 4GHz, and the FireWire Buccaneer meets IEEE1394a performance to 400Mbs.
To complete the Buccaneer family, ‘wireless’ connections with IP68 ratings are also now available enabling much simpler and quicker connections for applications where cabling is difficult, impractical or expensive to install.
Hutchings adds: “Whilst we have great portfolio of products, we recognise that there are also times when a standard catalogue component isn’t suitable and that we need to be flexible to customer’s specific design, functionality and aesthetic criteria - rather than push a one-size fits all approach. Our ability to custom design Buccaneer connectors means that we are increasingly becoming an integral part of customer’s design process, helping them drive new innovations and customisations, which in turn lead to improved end-user products - a win-win situation for ourselves, the product designer and ultimately the product’s end users.”
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