Mosquito Clips and Ditron: History, Evolution, Perfection.

Aug 12, 2020

Mosquito Clips: IC Connectors born and refined to meet a rising need

Mosquito Clip Integrated Circuit Connectors (“IC” connectors) were invented to meet a growing need spawned from two decades of rapid advancements in electronics technology.

In 1947, the first working transistor was invented at Bell Labs.  This led the way to incredible size reductions and performance enhancements for components used in digital and computer technology. In the 1950’s, silicon semiconductors opened the door for the creation of even smaller “circuit boards” and processing components that further boosted performance.

This extreme downsizing of components made using traditional “wire & connector” circuits impractical. The solution: create printed circuit boards in a configuration that exactly matched the corresponding leaded IC (integrated circuit). Circuit paths were completed using small, precisely placed and affixed “mini plug-and-socket IC connectors”— allowing efficient assembly and disassembly for circuit board service or replacement.

The first mini IC connectors were called “Mosquito Clips.” These socket connectors were machined in Switzerland using Swiss Screw technology. Precision machining developed by the Swiss was also used to develop and assemble electric components. By the late 1960’s, Integrated circuit demand was booming, so the cost and availability associated with this Swiss machining solution becane a global industry concern.

Ditron meets the demand for a lower cost, high-performance, more abundant Mosquito Clip

Recognizing the growing demand for a lower-cost, precision Mosquito Clip, Ditron engineers set out to create just that. Ditron was the first company to produce a 4-finger Mosquito Clip from flat material employing a progressive die stamping process. Stamping saved cost by reducing the amount of raw material used compared to machining. Stamping also greatly increased production speed and volume output to further deliver efficiencies.

Ditron’s first customer was Garry Manufacturing, a company that had all its other manufacturing technology “in house” at either New Brunswick N.J. or Saint–Maurice Switzerland. The success of Ditron’s Mosquito Clip pluggable connectors soon made them an industry standard for companies that included Burndy, Tyco Electronic, Amphenol Electronics,  Molex Electronic , Augat connectors, and many more. Competitors to Ditron soon started producing their own versions of Mosquito Clips attempting to cash in on the coat-tails of Ditron’s pioneering success. By 1988, Ditron was producing and shipping in excess of 100 million mosquito clips per week to customers nationally and globally.

Ditron’s Mosquito Clip innovation was featured in the April 1978 issue
of Metal Stamping magazine. Ads promoting Ditron connector advantages
also ran in this and other trade publications.

Ditron precision quality endures through offshoring

As the electronics industry matured around the globe, the lower cost of manufacturing electronics abroad started a trend toward offshore manufacturing in China and other Asian countries. As more and more US consumer electronics were being made and assembled in China, many believed it made financial sense to have assembly components made there as well.

Following that trend, the majority of the US connector manufacturers then set up facilities in China. Ditron remained committed to remaining on US soil, believing in American value, and believing it could offer the quality and efficiency needed to compete in a growing global market. Around 1998, Ditron was introduce to a Chinese assembly facility in search of a reliable Mosquito Clip source. Ditron began supplying the facility through sales of about $100,000 annually, confirming Ditron’s belief they could compete overseas.

Ditron’s President John Goulding manning the Ditron Exhibit
at the 2007 Shanghai Industrial Engineering Trade Show.

Ditron soon began soliciting other business in China and abroad, visiting a number of companies and exhibiting at the 2007 Shanghai Industrial Engineering Trade Show. Today, Ditron’s role as a supplier to companies abroad continues to grow — selling tens of millions of 2, 3, 4 and 6 finger mosquito clips annually in China alone!