Connectivity trends according to HARTING: Benefits of smart connectivitySeptember 11, 2019 REDWIRE is news you can use from leading suppliers. Powered by FRASERS.
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In this five-part article, HARTING Canada explores the five main trends in industrial connectivity today. This final part deals with smart connectivity, the next generation of connectors. Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.
Smart connectivity explained
Connectors are the door between the outside and the inside of an application, such as a machine. Historically, as long as a connector is mated, the door is open and the media – power, signal, data, air – passes through. In the past, the connector was not capable of doing anything with media, so whatever entered the connector was passed, as is, from point A to point B. This is changing as connectors can now take action on the media as it passes through. This is called smart connectivity.
Two key questions must be explored about smart connectivity.
- First, why are these technologies necessary for modern applications?
- Secondly, why is the connector the ideal place to integrate these technologies?
To answer the first question, these technologies prevent downtime, improve efficiency, and increase reliability.
Smart connectors prevent downtime
Industrial devices – machines, turbines, trains, etc. – are what the modern world is built on. As soon as they are turned on, they are expected to run. However, these applications are complex, and small issues can cause a massive shutdown. Monitoring items such as energy levels and preventing energy spikes ensure that the system will continue to run in non-ideal circumstances.
Smart connectors improve operational efficiency and reliability
Operational efficiency and reliability is key to success in the modern day. By being able to “take action” on data as it enters, it becomes possible for the application to react in the most efficient manner.
Modern applications rely on functioning and accurate components. Smart connectors can provide insight into the health of the application to prevent unplanned downtime. In addition, they can improve the performance of an application.
For example, the surge protection module ensures proper readings from sensors in applications such as wind turbines and industrial HVAC systems. Preventing a misreading caused by voltage spikes is critical to ensure applications are running at peak performance. Another example is the energy measurement module that provides insight into machine health and usage, allowing predictive-maintenance models to be built.
Now to answer the second question: why having this functionality in the connector is important? The answer is simple – it is the most secure and easiest location for integration.
The connector is the most secure location for integration
When adding these technologies, there are a couple of potential locations to consider; however, the best place is the connector.
Think of the application as the inside of a house. People do not stop an intruder after they have entered their house and get near their valuables. They stop the intruder at the door. The concept is the same with an industrial device. While it is possible to stop a large voltage spike with surge protection technology on the board of the PLC, it is significantly more difficult and riskier.
In addition, industrial connectors offer flexibility in the levels of protection they provide. Adding a smart module to a connector allows the smart module to have the same environmental rating as the connector hood – for instance, IP 65/7/8/9K.
Adding to the connector is easy to integrate
Han-Smart® allows easy implementation of these technologies, such as surge protection and energy measurement, into existing designs. Before Han-Smart®, a new design phase was necessary to add these technologies. Now the technologies can be added to the existing connector footprint already on the application.
To learn more, contact HARTING.