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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk

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Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics


Robust and Reliable Connectivity TE Connectivity

(Source: TE Connectivity)

There is something reassuring about the slight resistance of inserting a plug into a socket and then tightening the screw sleeve. They convey a sense of reliability and security that a wireless industrial network cannot offer. And if the cable connection to a sensor or actuator appears to be broken, swapping out the cable is a quick way to check, without fiddling with wireless network configurations or software. So the role of wireless solutions will no doubt increase, but wired industrial connectivity is still easy to install, maintain, and troubleshoot quickly.

When developing machines and systems, mechanical engineers use a range of pre-assembled cable harnesses. Part of the development process is determining the suitability of different cables for the flexing stresses they will be subjected to during use. This ranges from rolling, pitching, and torsional stress to random bending stress from hand-held control systems. Regardless of the harshness of the operating environment, the range of jacketing options covers everything from halogen-free flame retardancy to non-corrosive solutions and high flexibility for C-track applications.

Cable Sets

To meet these diverse application needs, TE Connectivity offers a range of single and double-ended cables with M8 and M12 connectors that conform to the common standards for industrial network connections. The connectors are available in both straight and right-angle versions, allowing them to be used in hard-to-reach locations. Protection against electromagnetic radiation, chemical substances, and mechanical stress is also guaranteed. Thanks to the IP67 protection class, the connectors are protected against liquids, dust, and dirt in harsh factory environments and ensure a reliable connection.

Depending on the desired cable assembly, cable lengths from 0.5m to 30m are available directly from stock. Other lengths can be supplied as an individual customer solution. Both shielded and unshielded PVC and PUR cables are available for the M8 T405/406 and M12 T415/T416 A-coded series. M12 fieldbus cables are suitable for Profibus applications (B-coded), DeviceNet (A-coded, 5 positions), and CC-link (A-coded, 4 positions). With molded connectors on PVC or PUR cables, they are ideal for drag chain applications or torsional loads and offer maximum signal transmission.

Industrial Ethernet applications are also covered with D-coded M12 modules for EtherCAT, Ethernet/IP, and SERCOS-III. Category 5e cables enable transmission rates of 100Mbit/s for both monitoring and control networks, while X-coded M12 terminations offer Cat 6e and support up to 10Gbit/s. Both series are also available with M12 to RJ45 connectors.

When the machine is ready, assembly and installation follow at the customer's site. Some of the connectivity is accounted for by the cable assemblies, but a number of cables still need to be prepared on-site. To ensure reliability and error-free installation, TE Connectivity offers field mountable connectors. With solutions like the industrial M12 X-coded RCD connector, the cable does not need to be cut to a specific length and stripped. Instead, installers simply insert individual wires into the cable manager and slide the front end of the connector over them.

The wires sit securely thanks to a patented contacting technique. The excess is cut off by the automatic cutting function at the front end of the connector. When you slide the twist-fit outer shell onto the connector, your IP67-rated cable is complete. This simple, four-step assembly process requires no special tools and offers 10Gb/s connectivity for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Of course, the developers of sensors, actuators, PLCs, and I/O boxes also need reliable connectivity for their products. The sensors are becoming smaller and more compact and therefore require robust connectors for use. However, they must also integrate easily into automated printed circuit board (PCB) assembly and reflow processes.M8 and M12 connectors for 180° use are available from ERNI on tape for automatic assembly.

The range includes solutions for A, B, D and X coding with 4 to 17 pins in heights of 9mm and 13mm for M8 and M12 and is suitable for use with metal housings or integration in a die-cast housing. For surface mounting (SMT), cost-effective stamped socket contacts with low contact resistance and a homogeneous surface are used for a secure contact connection, or turned, gold-plated contacts for SMT and through-hole connections (THR). Robust clips ensure high holding power while the PCB is able to absorb the mechanical stress, shock, and vibration of the industrial environment. An optional pad on the top of the connector allows for easy standard assembly.

A right angle (90°) version with 4 to 8 pins is also available for A, B, and D coded M12 connectors. The integrated brackets are suitable for M12 sensor tubes and fit the most commonly used PCB thicknesses of 1.0mm, 1.6mm, and 2.0mm. Both the 180° and 90° versions meet the requirements of protection class IP67 and are suitable for potting after assembly thanks to the integrated O-rings.

Conclusion

Industrial automation is challenging enough without worrying about broken wires and broken connectors. Engineered for harsh environments, data rates up to 10Gb/s, and extreme conditions, these connectors and cables from TE Connectivity and ERNI provide designers with a simple solution for reliable wired connectivity.

Author

Stuart Cording is an electronics engineer and technical writer specializing in semiconductors and embedded systems.



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TE Connectivity is a global industrial technology leader creating a safer, sustainable, productive and connected future. Our broad range of connectivity and sensor solutions, proven in the harshest environments, enable advancements in transportation, industrial applications, medical technology, energy, data communications and the home. With approximately 80,000 employees, including more than 7,500 engineers, working alongside customers in approximately 140 countries, TE ensures that EVERY CONNECTION COUNTS.


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