50 years in circular connectors

November 28, 2018 // By Siegfried Best
This year sees the 50th anniversary of founder Franz Binder’s decision to begin designing and making circular connectors. It is also a great opportunity to look back through the company’s history beginning with binder’s formation in 1960.

The binder of today got its start way back in 1960 in Neckarsulm, Germany. Franz Binder was born in 1929 and passed his examination as a master machinist before starting his own mechanical fabrication and tool-making operation.
Alone at first and then with a small number of employees, Franz Binder fabricated turned metal parts in Bad Friedrichshall-Kochendorf under wage labour contract exclusively for one large local corporation.

Dependence on a single customer, says Werner Fröhlich, member of the Executive Board and head of Sales and Marketing, led Binder to consider ‘acquiring new customers in the contract production segment,’ which turned out to be difficult in the local setting, however. In seeking to diversify his operations, Franz Binder discovered an interesting product expansion opportunity through a personal contact of his.

Second market focus
The aforementioned competitor manufactured circular connectors for industrial applications and was the only supplier of those connectors, and therefore market leader, in the 1960s. From 1966, Franz Binder produced the ‘M16’ – one of the first technically updated compatible connectors. The second market focus had been identified and the product palette was successively expanded. Due to technical problems, the company experienced some setbacks in 1968 and was on the brink of collapse. But Franz Binder, according to Werner Fröhlich, was convinced that he would find the way back on the road to success and started to expand the manufacture of circular connectors as an alternative to the ‘Tuchel’ connector – but with a key difference: apparent weaknesses were analysed and corrected and a technically updated alternative was developed, which was easier to install and more robust in operation.

binder solution
Customers recognised the benefits of the ‘binder solution’, which created a high demand. The crucial idea of Franz Binder was to take connectors that were available on the market and to add structural modifications that provided benefits for manufacturers and advantages for customers and users. In addition, binder changed the design of the connectors for better product differentiation. Back in those days, accommodating customer wishes in that way was not common practice – market leaders were particularly apt to concentrate on their standard range. And thus, with Series 681, the ‘triumph’ of binder began in 1968. A contributing factor to success was also the introduction of the microphone connector as M16 in the measurement and control engineering segment. After a few modifications by binder, it was also established as an industrial connector, which in the 1960s and 1970s was used primarily as a welding equipment connector. The other circular connectors available on the market were MIL versions and too expensive for industrial applications. Use of the M16 as a microphone connector was eventually phased out.


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