TE Connectivity is a global technology and manufacturing company that strongly focuses on connectivity and sensor solutions. With 80,000 employees worldwide, including 8,000 engineers, it has set off to implement connectors and sensors in many everyday environments.
“When speaking about connectivity, this is the very starting point which keeps us all busy. We connect all parts of infrastructure to ensure that it really makes sense,” points out Rainer Müller, Vice President for TE Connectivity’s Global Automotive business unit, who has been with the automotive business unit for the past six years. “Digital transformation is a top issue. When it comes to the automotive industry, it is an issue we have been looking into for several years. Connectivity ensures that engines are connected and run more efficiently. Our products help connect all activities in the digital world from engineering up to supply chain, production and purchasing. We take a holistic stance to have in view the entire value chain.”
TE Connectivity’s products and solutions play a major role in key industries like automotive, industrial or medical. “In this context, miniaturization has come to the fore. Plug connectors within an automotive control unit have more than 300 to 400 links on one surface in comparison to just 50 to 60 connections in the past. This clearly demonstrates the challenges our connectors are exposed to today. Here, performance is one side of the story, reliability another,” stresses Mr. Müller.
In the past years, TE Connectivity has worked hard to realize the transformation towards total connectivity as required in cars, sensor technology and medical applications, and has not come to a halt yet.
“We cannot confirm that the digital transformation in Europe lags behind. Quite on the contrary, I would say. When speaking about connectivity, this is the starting point for all our employees. We connect parts of infrastructure to give objects a real meaning,” says Mr. Müller. “We provide a state-of-the-art electricity infrastructure, complex sensors in cars or robotics and even such everday objects such as simple sensors and connectors in cars. Even though more features are constantly added, there is only limited space. This brings us back to the issue of miniaturization which connectivity has to take into account. We offer highly engineered solutions for miniaturization well below average part sizes.”
Today, a large proportion of the company’s turnover derives from connectors and sensors for harsh environments where failure is not an option.
“Harsh environments are our differentiator. It is where a connector or sensor is subject to extreme temperatures, pressures, vibrations, humidity, moisture or high voltage, to name some examples,” points out Mr. Müller. “We create dependable products that withstand such environments and still perform the function they need to. This really requires a high level of excellence in engineering design and manufacturing. We very much focus on collaboration and work together with the engineers and suppliers of our customers in order to understand the direction technology is heading and how future demand will develop.”
We ensure that cars and planes will be safer, better and more connected. Rainer MüllerVice President of Digital Transformation
It seems that the company’s engineers love this challenge, and TE Connectivity has become the go-to address for connectors and sensors that withstand all kinds of elements and still perform. “Because of our passion for engineering ingenious solutions you can find our products performing at the most exotic places like on the outside of a rocket, at the wing of an airplane or in a fiery hot car engine – just think of the most extreme,” adds Mr. Müller.
Today’s global connectivity and sensor market, which is worth a staggering 170 billion USD, is growing at 6% each year, with TE Connectivity even growing faster than the market average. “We see the market for sensors going strong, with applications in connected cars, planes and factories increasing. In fact, by next year, there will be more than 20 billion connected devices. Just think of this figure,” stresses Mr. Müller. “We also predict an enormous growth scenario in the medical device industry where high-performance sensors and connectors will improve accurate monitoring of patients’ health and give immediate insight during procedures.”
In this context, the acquisition of Creganna Medical Group brings TE Connectivity a step closer to its goal to become an industry leader in harsh environment applications. “Creganna products are used in life-saving medical treatments and surgical procedures where quality, reliability and performance are key,” says Mr. Müller. “Apart from medical devices, another focus is on the Industrial Internet of Things, or Industry 4.0, for which we also see an increased demand. Here, smart devices, physical connectivity and connecting content are important features which we help implement for our customers and also adopt for ourselves.”
For the coming years, TE Connectivity predicts that the demand for connectors and sensors solutions will continue to grow. “The rapid expansion of technology and our increasingly connected world where cars, planes, factories and homes are becoming more and more embedded with computer and electronics, will further drive demand for our products,” states Mr. Müller. “New issues like autonomous driving, smart factory and cloud connectivity will define our work in the coming years.”
The market for TE Connectivity’s products will further expand, as positive macro-trends for building safer, greener and more connected vehicles will soar. “Not just autonomous driving systems will define the future of the automotive industry, but, likewise, there will be higher emission standards and improved fuel efficiency, asking for most complex sensor and connector technology,” states Mr. Müller. “We are optimistic about our future development and eager to continue our above-market growth.”