Reichle & De-Massari Holding AG (R&M) has launched a new fibre optic connector for extreme outdoor applications. The harsh environment connector (HEC) was developed to facilitate reliable fibre optic connections for 5G and mobile communication antennas. In addition to fibre-to-the-antenna applications, R&M explores various potential application fields wherever fibre optic data transmission is deployed in harsh environments, including aerial deployment for broadband supply in rural areas. The new outdoor connector housing can be used to connect fibre optic cables in railway, wind power and industrial facilities, chemical plants and ports, oil platforms, mining, etc.

R&M is launching two versions – HEC-BR (bayonet release) with a 32 mm diameter, and HEC-QR (quick release) with a 19 mm diameter. R&M has tested the HEC in accordance with all the rules for outdoor cabling. It meets protection class IP68, Telcordia GR 3120, IEC 61753-1 and MIL-STD-883 requirements. This means that the housing remains waterproof for at least seven days at a depth of three metres. It can withstand temperatures from -40 °C to 85 °C and can endure high mechanical loads such as a tensile load of 450 N, making it one of the strongest outdoor connectors in its class.

The quarter-turn (bayonet) fastener, compliant with IEC 60603-7 variant 01 (ODVA), decouples the connector and the inner housing. The quick release connector features an innovative push-twist-pull fastener, which enables top packing densities without compromising on performance quality. The decoupled housing of the HEC-BR and HEC-QR minimises the impact of temperature fluctuations, cable shrinkage and mechanical loads. The “blind mating” assembly technology developed by R&M ma­k­es it possible to easy to couple the HEC with one hand, wearing gloves, in low visibility. The blind-mating elements also protect the ferrules in the mounted connectors if the HEC is not plugged in or closed with a protective cap.