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New auto lighting sockets and connectors from Empire meet tougher requirements, thanks to DuPont engineering polymers

Aiming to grow its business in automotive lighting, Empire Electronics Inc. (Troy, Michigan) is meeting more stringent demands for high-temperature resistance and durability in automotive lighting parts with new T20 sockets and the 2.8 In-Line connector series made of two different DuPont engineering polymers. Empire assembles the components into wire harnesses for various car and truck lights that it supplies to automotive tier ones and OEMs.

The T20 sockets, moulded from DuPont™ Zytel® HTN PPA (polyphthalamide) withstand higher temperatures than the S8 sockets used in most North American cars. Empire moulds the new 2.8 In-Line connector series from hydrolysis-resistant DuPont™ Crastin® PBT thermoplastic polyester resin.

Photo: DuPont
Headlamp wire harness from Empire Electronics that uses the T20 lamp socket and connector moulded from DuPont engineering polymers, which meet rigorous performance requirements.

T20 sockets predominate in European and Japanese vehicles but are now gaining broader use in North America. Empire’s T20s deliver the same power output as S8 sockets but are more compact. Their reduced footprint and smaller socket hole opening give automotive lighting designers more styling freedom and a larger potential reflecting area, but they result in higher operating temperatures.

“Zytel® HTN PPA allows us to meet our customers’ stringent temperature requirements for T20s while giving us several pluses over alternatives such as modified polyphenylene oxide,” said Robert Gray, Empire’s director of program management. “Key advantages for the PPA material we selected are very low outgassing, good moulding productivity and the excellent technical support provided by DuPont.” The material’s low outgassing greatly reduces film formation on lighting lenses, which reduces light output over time.

The sockets in Zytel® HTN PPA consist of two moulded parts assembled by the cost-effective ultrasonic welding process. Each part can be colour-coded as an identification aid in wire harness assembly and installation.

DuPont™ Zytel® HTN high-performance polyamide resins are engineered for extremes for demanding environments. The portfolio includes both Zytel® HTN PPA grades for heat, chemical and moisture resistance and Zytel® HTN structural grades. Empire uses a toughened, glass-reinforced grade of Zytel® HTN PPA that can use water for mould temperature control. “We like water control because it avoids the added cost of oil-type control equipment and makes it easier to maintain a safe, clean moulding operation,” Gray said.

For its new 2.8 In-Line connector series, Empire selected a glass-reinforced grade of Crastin® with outstanding hydrolysis resistance. Gray explained the choice: “The Crastin® resin gives us a combination of hydrolysis resistance, dimensional stability, an excellent balance of strength and impact resistance, and high flow for easy moulding.” The connectors comply with demanding USCAR requirements for retention of terminal pullout resistance and other key functional characteristics after rigorous thermal cycling tests involving hot, cold, humid and dry conditions.

“DuPont gave us great service in our development of both sockets and connectors,” Gray said. DuPont specialists accelerated Empire’s development of marketable parts with expert input on material selection, design, tooling and ultrasonic welding. The DuPont Application Development Center in Troy, Michigan, conducted initial moulding trials.

Empire Electronics Inc. is the leading North American supplier of wire harnesses and components for exterior automotive lighting. Since 1981, Empire Electronics has developed cost-saving solutions for its customers. For more information send an e-mail to or visit on the web.

DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.

The DuPont Oval Logo, The miracles of science™, DuPont™, Zytel® and Crastin® are registered trademarks or trademarks of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company or its affiliates.

Horst Ulrich Reimer | Du Pont
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