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A Cost Analysis Between Military & COTS Connectors

When it comes to the choice between military and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) connectors, cost is an important point of comparison. Generally speaking, military connectors have a higher upfront cost than COTS connectors. We can attribute this price point to several factors that tie back to military connectors’ QPL certification.

QPL Certification Contributes to Higher Costs

Prior to the Qualified Products List (QPL) certification, small manufacturers could compete with large manufacturers on older connector series like the Ordnance series. To minimize this competition, a high price was attached to obtaining QPL designation, alongside the cost of quality control measures to maintain certification over time.

While these costs are passed down from military connector manufacturers to buyers, it’s also important to consider how the restrictive nature of QPL designation impacts costs.

Production Restrictions

Change is inevitable in any manufacturing environment. To maintain lead times and keep costs down, it may make sense to switch suppliers or production facilities at points in time. With QPL-certified military connectors, there is no flexibility to shift in response to market changes. If the government finds out that a QPL manufacturer has changed any aspect of their production, they can issue a stop ship and launch an inquiry.

Specified Materials

Cadmium is specced into QPL connectors. While there are concerns over the safety of cadmium from an environmental standpoint, it also costs much more than its modern counterparts. There’s no room to adapt to more cost-effective finishes such as Electro-deposited Black (BR) and Electro-deposited Olive Drab (OR) — both of which offer a 500-hour salt spray test in an environmentally friendly, RoHS, scratch-resistant design.

COTS Connectors Save Costs

By purchasing COTS connectors, buyers avoid working with manufacturers that pass down the costs of obtaining and maintaining QPL certification. Buyers can also pivot with regards to where and how connectors are produced and take advantage of new materials and technologies that support more cost-effective, high-performance results.

Businesses win when they have more options. Amerline’s COTS connectors deliver the dependability and performance of MIL-SPEC connectors without binding you to the stringent criteria of working with a QPL-certified manufacturer. Explore our full line of AEC connectors and see the COTS connector advantage for yourself.

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