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Repeatability and flexibility for Industry 4.0


Industry 4.0 requires repeatability, flexibility and reduced downtime from machinery to the shop floor. Alongside this, there is a requirement for time saving on installation in order to reduce downtime and maintenance. Cables and connectors which work independently of each other can assist with reducing downtime and working in a modularised approach required for Smart Factories with Industry 4.0.

preLink® is HARTING’s fast, reliable, easy to handle cable connector termination system which is perfect for flexible field cabling installation. It is ideal for systems integrator’s/installers, significantly saving site installation time, critical where site access is very limited in order to minimise downtime for installing Ethernet services.  It eliminates the on-site wiring errors that often occur with time consuming crimping methods.  preLink® is available for HARTING’s range of widely used industry standard RJ45, for standard IP20 or accommodated within a range of different IP 65 to IP 68 protection rated housings and IP65/67 M12 connector D & X-Coded style connectors.

The preLink® design concept is based around using a one-step double-jaw press-assembly tool, terminating individual wires within an IDC terminal block. Different colour IDC terminal blocks are available for typical Ethernet market standard solid and stranded cable conductor cross sections AWG 23/22 (Yellow) or 27/26 (White) for insulation diameters of 1.3 to 1.6mm and 0.8 to 1.1mm respectively. As such typically higher thickness LSOH cables are accommodated. Each terminal block also has an integrated wiring chart in compliance with the correct Ethernet 10/100Mbit/s, 1/10Gbit/s wiring assignment tab, which is discarded once completed. New terminal blocks are also available for Profinet (Black AWG23/22) and for ultra-flexible robot cables (White AWG 24/19), with appropriate wiring assignment tabs. The terminated module can then be simply loaded into either an RJ45 (male or female) or M12 male connector carrier and then these parts are simply hand-clicked together to complete an assembly.

For RJ45 connections, HARTING also offers preLink® Extenders enabling simple cabling extensions, maximising installed flexibility. Where installations allow pre-defined cabling lengths, HARTING can provide pre-terminated end-to-end preLink® terminal block patch leads. These can be very easily fed through trunking-runs in tight, difficult spaces before being quickly hand inserted into appropriate connector carrier-ends, alleviating time-consuming field assembly cabling.

 The key benefit of HARTING’s preLink® termination system is that the termination block can be removed and inserted in another connector in seconds over and over again, meaning that cables and connectors can be switched independently of each other. It therefore permits future site cabling modification upgrades at minimal cost. Such features are particularly useful in supporting the trend toward production line process improvements as manufacturers move to integrate Industry 4.0 for Smart Factory deployment.  The “Smart Factory” enables the connection of the real and virtual world via sensors and actuators interfacing to The Cloud via the Internet.  New Equipment to support this new integrated industry approach will need to be compact, robust, modular and quick and easy to use.  It will need to be installed in a decentralized manner and connected the three lifelines of "Power", "Signal" and "Data". For the important “Data” lifeline existing cabling installations will need to be modified to allow for additional field sensor devices and the wiring flexible for backwards compatibility.

To summarise, the features and benefits of the preLink® termination system can be applied in a wide range of markets for fast fully flexible field installation of Ethernet based bus cabling. It can even be used for example in certain high shock and vibration harsh environments, having been recently utilised in backbone train carriage wiring looms for the integration of wifi broadband services and Passenger Information Systems.  Key pointers to its use in this application are that It also allows for easy future system performance upgrades at minimal cost, is very easy to assembly in tight spaces and the repeatability of the process.

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HARTING Ltd is skilled in the fields of electrical, electronic and optical connection, transmission and networking. We use this expertise to craft solutions for the transportation, data transmission, wind energy, mechanical engineering, factory automation, automotive and robotics markets. HARTING also design and manufacture cable assemblies, box builds, kit assemblies and modified products at our UK facility in Northampton.

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