Martin Yiapanas discusses modular connectors for automated factory machinery and equipment
In the face of increasing demand for the highest efficiency and productivity in industrial applications, compact and modular connector systems are becoming more and more important, particularly in automated factory environments.
Smooth functioning is crucial in automated factory environments where human intervention, if any, is kept to a minimum, and where the smallest error may cause major problems further down the process line.
Therefore connectors between machines, equipment and control units must meet exact technical and quality specifications without the slightest compromise.
Switching to smart, self-monitoring machines and equipment results in an increasing number of signals and data contact points, and previously used multiple individual connectors for power, control and communication will give way to a single modular connector with compact dimensions.
One suitable connector system to fulfil the most demanding requirements is CombiTac, a Stäubli Electrical Connectors product that fully adapts to technical and dimensional specifications.
The CombiTac modular connector system allows users to combine power, signals, data, thermocouple, coaxial, fibre optic, pneumatic and hydraulic connections in a single frame or housing, and is used in challenging applications that require a long-life connector solution that will perform outstandingly throughout its entire life-cycle, even when exposed to harsh mechanical and environmental conditions.
The use of the proven Multilam advanced contact technology is the main contributor behind the long lifecycle capabilities of CombiTac contacts, which reach more than 100,000 mating cycles.
The Multilam technology offers the advantages of minimum voltage drop, minimum contact resistance and a very high resistance to vibrations, shock and impact.
Further CombiTac features that guarantee a long life performance include protective walls and shielding aimed at protecting smaller signal contacts, and a float- mounting feature for alignment compensation during the connection process.
Various small size electrical signal contacts are available – those can be packed into high-density contact carriers.
Dedicated last-mate, first-break modules can be added for monitoring purposes and provide the control unit with information on whether the CombiTac is fully connected or not. There are several power options for current levels up to 300A as well as high-voltage modules up to 5kV.
Industrial Ethernet is covered by a number of connector types depending on the application needs, including a 10Gbit module that meets CAT6A requirements.
Further connections are available for audio and video transmission (coaxial), fibre optic, thermocouple, and various pneumatic and fluid couplings up to 15 bar.
Depending on the specific application, CombiTac solutions adapt to requested dimensions or particular positioning, enable the use of special resistant carrier materials as well as the integration of customer-specific parts (special enclosures, handles etc.). This represents a complete solution, including cable assembly.
CombiTac modular connectors are becoming a vital part in automated factory environments, providing the constant and reliable connection needed between machinery and equipment for error-free, real-time communication and power transmission, and an impressive component quality that reduces maintenance costs and downtime to the absolute minimum.
Martin Yiapanas is with Stäubli Electrical Connectors.