Helge Schmidt, Engineering Fellow, Automotive
Helge Schmidt, Engineering Fellow, Automotive
Building safer and more reliable vehicles all comes down to developing optimal connector designs supporting current technologies.

Helge is inspired by finding new solutions with proven principles. A long-time mentor and university lecturer on connector and contact design, Helge takes a big-picture approach to problem solving. He begins by developing conceptual models, and from these, outlines the priority path required for achieving an effective solution. When developing new connector designs, he relies on hi diverse experience (in molding, stamping, and plating) and technical knowledge (in contact physics, materials science, and connector manufacturing) to create opportunities for integrating more connectivity into the automotive technologies. To achieve this, he stresses the importance of applying mathematical principles – in addition to software tools – when determining physical dependencies. Across his team, he advocates for thinking systematically, believing that to win in today’s automotive industry, engineers must embrace alternative boardnet structures and participate in committees that are defining new standards. This is his recommendation for ensuring he is helping his customers compete on the front line.

1

Which connectivity challenges are you working to solve?

My focus is designing connectors used in automotive applications, including small contacts to high-current connectors engineered for high-speed data distribution and power transmission . I am interested in achieving an optimal design in the contacts and in using appropriate materials and contact coatings, combined with the best manufacturing technologies. The goal is to achieve the best performance at the lowest cost.

 

In the automotive market, cost performance and reliability are crucial to enabling increased electronification throughout the vehicle. This is a challenge when it comes to designing electric powertrain that provides drivers with the levels advanced connectivity in their technology. To achieve this, we need to solve for miniaturization and automotive-grade solutions for power connectivity.

 

When it comes to enabling this connectivity, Moore's law - in electronics and information - is still valid. So, as we see more and more data being processed at faster speeds for a lower cost, it becomes increasingly crucial to achieve higher overall performance. The electronics are always linked to permanent or switchable connections, such as detachable energy or signal conductors, which makes the use of connectors crucial for enabling the flow of power and data in today’s vehicles.

 

It means that we must design connectors that not only enable robust integration, but which also can handle all conditions driven by the semiconductor performance. This is important in an electric powertrain, with its requirements for energy storage, energy management, and energy transfer within the vehicle as well in safety and reliable communication applications also.

 

As frequency, bandwidth, and data speeds increase, there is a need for miniaturized, high-pin count, high-speed connectors. In the car, these are used in the wiring harness and connect the car to the infrastructure. This is also crucial as autonomous driving gains traction, because of it will create demand for more computing technology. Building safer and more reliable vehicles all comes down to developing optimal connector designs supporting current technologies.

 

2

Which technology trends are you watching?

I am closely watching the shift from combustion engines to electrical engines. As an electrochemist, I favor the fuel cell because in my opinion I believe that the most useful technology is not the battery. There is a risk to charging the EV battery, because the power ranges in megawatts. This raises many questions: What kind of infrastructure is needed to charge many cars at the same time? How would this infrastructure be upgraded and managed? What would happen if an entire neighborhood of drivers charged their electric cars at home every night?

I am an advocate for improving the efficiency of combustion engines, by using fuels from renewable or regenerative resources and the fuel cell. For example, the fuel cell and the use of hydrogen as an energy source requires an infrastructure that is easier to upgrade, such as adapting current petrol stations. Hydrogen can be generated from renewable energy and is easily transportable via pipelines such as natural gas; it can also be stored at petrol stations in the same way as petrol.

Helge Schmidt, Engineering Fellow, Automotive
Helge Schmidt, Engineering Fellow, Automotive
Building safer and more reliable vehicles all comes down to developing optimal connector designs supporting current technologies.

Helge is inspired by finding new solutions with proven principles. A long-time mentor and university lecturer on connector and contact design, Helge takes a big-picture approach to problem solving. He begins by developing conceptual models, and from these, outlines the priority path required for achieving an effective solution. When developing new connector designs, he relies on hi diverse experience (in molding, stamping, and plating) and technical knowledge (in contact physics, materials science, and connector manufacturing) to create opportunities for integrating more connectivity into the automotive technologies. To achieve this, he stresses the importance of applying mathematical principles – in addition to software tools – when determining physical dependencies. Across his team, he advocates for thinking systematically, believing that to win in today’s automotive industry, engineers must embrace alternative boardnet structures and participate in committees that are defining new standards. This is his recommendation for ensuring he is helping his customers compete on the front line.

1

Which connectivity challenges are you working to solve?

My focus is designing connectors used in automotive applications, including small contacts to high-current connectors engineered for high-speed data distribution and power transmission . I am interested in achieving an optimal design in the contacts and in using appropriate materials and contact coatings, combined with the best manufacturing technologies. The goal is to achieve the best performance at the lowest cost.

 

In the automotive market, cost performance and reliability are crucial to enabling increased electronification throughout the vehicle. This is a challenge when it comes to designing electric powertrain that provides drivers with the levels advanced connectivity in their technology. To achieve this, we need to solve for miniaturization and automotive-grade solutions for power connectivity.

 

When it comes to enabling this connectivity, Moore's law - in electronics and information - is still valid. So, as we see more and more data being processed at faster speeds for a lower cost, it becomes increasingly crucial to achieve higher overall performance. The electronics are always linked to permanent or switchable connections, such as detachable energy or signal conductors, which makes the use of connectors crucial for enabling the flow of power and data in today’s vehicles.

 

It means that we must design connectors that not only enable robust integration, but which also can handle all conditions driven by the semiconductor performance. This is important in an electric powertrain, with its requirements for energy storage, energy management, and energy transfer within the vehicle as well in safety and reliable communication applications also.

 

As frequency, bandwidth, and data speeds increase, there is a need for miniaturized, high-pin count, high-speed connectors. In the car, these are used in the wiring harness and connect the car to the infrastructure. This is also crucial as autonomous driving gains traction, because of it will create demand for more computing technology. Building safer and more reliable vehicles all comes down to developing optimal connector designs supporting current technologies.

 

2

Which technology trends are you watching?

I am closely watching the shift from combustion engines to electrical engines. As an electrochemist, I favor the fuel cell because in my opinion I believe that the most useful technology is not the battery. There is a risk to charging the EV battery, because the power ranges in megawatts. This raises many questions: What kind of infrastructure is needed to charge many cars at the same time? How would this infrastructure be upgraded and managed? What would happen if an entire neighborhood of drivers charged their electric cars at home every night?

I am an advocate for improving the efficiency of combustion engines, by using fuels from renewable or regenerative resources and the fuel cell. For example, the fuel cell and the use of hydrogen as an energy source requires an infrastructure that is easier to upgrade, such as adapting current petrol stations. Hydrogen can be generated from renewable energy and is easily transportable via pipelines such as natural gas; it can also be stored at petrol stations in the same way as petrol.