Molex Rewires Electronics Circuitry

Its new way of soldering tiny components is fueling sales

There can't be more than a handful of people in any Best Buy (BBY) who have given even a passing thought to the tiny dabs of solder that hold together the electronic circuitry of all those laptops, mobile phones, and TVs. Inside electronics-component maker Molex (MOLX), though, solder is a fixation. The Lisle-based company has come up with a new method that should strengthen electronic microwiring and lengthen the lifespan of consumer products. The typical way of soldering materials is to plant beads of metal alloy on an array, insert circuit-board pins, and melt the solder to make a connection. This method has been used for more than 100 years, but as components get smaller, affixing every tab evenly becomes harder. What Molex does instead is apply thin strips of solder material and push the pins in with a heated stamp. The connections are much more uniform and exact, says Kevin O'Connor, Molex's global product development manager. Only months after its debut, the $3.3 billion company has orders from customers in the automotive, computer, and telecom industries, with contracts worth tens of millions of dollars a year. Molex has been inventive with marketing, too. Most outfits charge premiums for breakthroughs. Molex has kept prices steady.

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