Please could you provide a brief history and overview of the company?

Günter Rohr: Since its foundation in 1942, ODU has developed and manufactured reliable connector systems for the military and defence sectors. These high-quality, innovative products are produced for the global market. ODU connectors are involved in many different sectors of the defence and military market, including soldier communication systems, various ‘soldier of the future’ programmes, night-vision systems, radio systems, radar systems, sonar systems for nuclear and non-nuclear submarines, weapon systems, portable navigation systems, aviation, battleships, launchers/rockets, and armoured vehicles.

ODU has all the necessary technologies under one roof, which means we can respond to our customers’ requests quickly and flexibly. Design and development, tool manufacture, injection, stamping, turning, electroplating, fully automatic assembly, and cable assembly are all housed in our facility in Mühldorf, Germany.

ODU connectors are certified to the following standards: ISO 9001, ISO 13485:2003/AC: 2007, ISO/TS 16949, ISO 14001:2009, and, furthermore, VDE, UL, CSA, VG and MIL.

How did the ODU AMC (Advanced Military Connector) range come about and what factors were considered in its design and development?

ODU is well known as one of the market’s leading push-pull manufacturers. Because of this, customers from the military and defence sectors often contact us to discuss their ‘wish lists’.

ODU AMC offers flexibility for all system engineers. Push-pull and break-away versions are interoperable with the same receptacle and in-line receptacle, while cables can be changed later on without touching the receptacle (housing). In this way, the soldier has many options. It’s also important to note that ODU AMC is not just one connector – it’s a series that connects soldiers in every situation. ODU AMCs are smaller and lighter than other known products on the market.

ODU AMC has been designed and developed to meet the following field requirements:

  • lightweight
  • dark (non-reflective plating)
  • small/short
  • watertight (to protection class IP 68/69K)
  • excellent shielding features
  • cable harness with tamper-proof overmoulding
  • excellent data transmission
  • push-pull locking/break-away functions
  • easy cleaning in the field
  • robust design
  • user-friendly
  • flexible.

How does the ODU AMC offer flexibility to system engineers?

ODU AMC offers a connector family comprising different locking systems, connector sizes, styles, insert configurations and types of overmoulding (straight or right angle) for cable assembly.

When a system engineer chooses our connector family, he finds a comprehensive and top-quality solution that meets all of his different requirements.

Another good example is the option to use a push-pull locking connector and a break-away connector with the same receptacle. This means the cable harness can be changed from a locking system to a break-away system without touching the equipment; it instead requires the simple changing of the cable.

Can you tell us about ODU’s involvement in soldier modernisation programmes?

ODU is involved in soldier modernisation programmes across the globe. In this field, connectors must meet a number of rigorous requirements, including ease of use and reliability under the most extreme conditions. ODU connectors meet, and often exceed, these needs by providing a reliable connection in the harshest environments.

Firstly, in order to achieve this, you need the right understanding of the market: who is involved with regards to key players and decision makers? What are their needs? Secondly, you need the right product, which is where we come in with ODU AMC. Thirdly, you have to promote your product in the right places. Exhibitions are just one place, but there are many other opportunities to get in contact with the right people. Of course, you don’t receive immediate remuneration for every effort in this programme, so, initially, you have to see this as an investment.

As soon as you have won one contract – for us, our first important one was German idZ system Gladius – this provides a really good reference for future endeavours.

The secure and high-speed transfer of data is paramount within the military and security sectors – how does the ODU AMC connector facilitate this?

ODU AMC is perfectly designed for high-speed data transfer, providing complete shielding, optimised cable termination, high-quality metal housing and excellent durability.

And we are able to simulate, calculate and measure the connector system. Our engineers have a great deal of knowledge about customisation, and if you compare the standard USB and Ethernet connectors with AMC, you will see the key difference: our connectors will survive in the field.

The industry’s primary goal is the comprehensive and up-to date provision of data anywhere, any time. This requirement is fulfilled by the ODU AMC connector range, which comes in various different models in push-pull and break-away versions. In addition to the USB 2.0 version and the Ethernet versions with 100Mbit-10Gbit transfer rates, ODU also offers a connector that combines USB 2.0 and Ethernet transfer.

The connector systems in the ODU AMC range are smaller and lighter than the well-known MIL housings with RJ 45 connectors. They are also extremely robust, versatile and easy to handle. This has already been proven under realistic conditions within soldier modernisation programmes.

What principal features has your company identified when it comes to the ‘solider of the future’ concept?

Everything is getting smaller and lighter, so the market is demanding that we develop an even smaller and lighter connector than ODU AMC. This is what we are now working towards.