IM Relays

Product Insight

Made with Innovative Technology

IM (integrated manufacturing) relays are made using an overmoulding process, giving IM relays distinct advantages in size, power, and cost effectiveness.

An IM relay is a very small and highly versatile relay. It is made by stacking several loose components or building blocks together into a relay form, which is then overmoulded. Overmoulding the components enables the manufacturer to shape parts into a specific form and bind them strongly together into an insulated package, thereby creating the IM relay. Using the overmoulding technique allows the relay to shrink to its most minimal size while producing maximum performance levels. IM relays are engineered for high shock resistance, which is the result of how the relay is molded, mounted, and fixed together during the assembly process.    

The IM relay is the smallest relay type in our diverse relay portfolio. Advancements in technology have allowed us to shrink the size of IM relays from previous generations, making it a good choice for applications requiring increasingly smaller electronic components with similar performance capacities of standard-sized parts. Unlike other relays, our IM relay can switch both signals and power.

 

In addition to signal switching, our IM relay can switch power loads. Our IM relays deliver a power performance capable of switching a current of up to 2- 5 amps at 60 watts. The amount of power our relays can switch, its switching configuration, and its dielectric strength are distinct differentiators to other IM relays in the market.

 

 

Graphic: IM Relays

Our IM relay can be designed into a smaller form to fit specific customer applications. With it being very small in size, the IM relay is easier to handle than standard relays and it provides overall cost advantages. Its small footprint – it takes up less space on a printed circuit board (PCB) – contributes to a lower cost and more efficient package design. It’s important to note that although these relays have become smaller over generations, they continue to meet expected performance levels.

 

The IM relay has two contacts in a very small area. These contacts can be either normally open (NO) or normally closed (NC), or they can have a changeover style for use in a possible bi-stable situation. A changeover style means that when the contacts switch to one side, they remain in place until prompted to switch to the other side. In such cases, sometimes one contact is for switching detection and the other for switching power.

 

The two contacts are palladium ruthenium with gold plating, or silver nickel contacts with gold plating. The contacts are plated with gold because gold is the best material for switching signals. Because gold doesn’t corrode, the signals produced are very high quality and have a high stability rating.

 

At TE, we manufacture all components of the IM relay from raw materials. We assemble the components using a fully automated machine. We test the relay’s performance several times in different test stages during its production. This helps us verify that the relay is functioning correctly before the relay is closed. Then, it is sealed or glued together to meet the standard of RTV, which means it’s completely hermetically sealed.

 

The relay then goes back into a machine. From this, either a straight pin or surface-mount technology (SMT) version is produced. After bending it into the preferred form, the whole relay is tested again before it goes into its packaging and sent out for shipment.

 

IM relays are commonly used in thermostats and in automobiles – especially in electric cars because of its size, performance, dielectric strength, and contact separation. IM relays are also used in medical applications, such as ultrasounds equipment. Every scan signal that goes through the ultrasound device is connected to an IM relay. The relay has a distinct advantage in that it provides real insulation between the contacts and does not harm the body. IM relays are also used in control systems, IP phones, and 5G consumer speakers.

 

At TE, we produce one of the largest and most diverse IM relay portfolios under our AXICOM product family, a brand known for its quality, precision, and reliability. Among our products are the changeover IM relay – our most produced IM relay – and the NO/NC version that is growing in demand because of its strong temperature characteristics.

 

In designing our IM relay portfolio, we are always looking for the best opportunities to address the emerging technology needs of our customers. We continuously work to evolve the performance of our relays to address the ever-expanding power needs of our customers’ applications.