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Simple Switching devices can provide valuable data

Stefan - Eaton

Industry 4.0 starts from device level components, where the collection and analysis of component data are the true building blocks for smart machines and smart manufacturing.

Here we discover how SmartWire-DT from Eaton not only provides savings in cost and installation time for control panels and cabinets builds, but is ultimately delivering the communication needed for Industry 4.0. From the factory floor to the industrial control network, SmartWire-DT is the data carrying solution required for smart manufacturing.

Overview of SmartWire-DT

For the machine builder, SmartWire-DT can help reduce installation cost by up to 85%, as well increase commercial flexibility and machine availability whilst providing process-oriented OEMs and end users with rich data from the machine to increase productivity and uptime and simplify maintenance - thereby maximising the potential from Industry 4.0 title






If Smart Factory concepts are to be successfully realised, simple components such as switches and control units in devices and systems need to be converted into communication-enabled smart devices in a cost-effective manner. And that is something we can already do today.

Inter connect devices quickly and simply with SmartWire-DTtitle









In the smart factory of the future, the product being manufactured will itself tell the machines how, where and by whom it is to be made, machines will independently communicate information concerning their detailed ‘state of health’ and components will proactively report the optimum time for maintenance or repair work. In order for this to work, parts, machines, components, employees, controls and ERP systems must all be able to exchange data with one another. 


Exchanging data requires the capture and evaluation of relevant information relating to the components installed in the machine or system. Therefore, there is a need not only for suitable sensor technology, but also for the transmission and analysis of data. There are already many complex devices with their own electronics in existence today that fulfil these requirements. However, a large number of components, such as buttons, signal units, switching devices and the sensors and actuators installed in the field, are not yet networked to a large extent. Instead, these are linked to the controller via complex control wiring. As a result, the breakdown or malfunction of these devices or the connected components can cause major problems.

If the devices themselves do not provide any data, additional components must be designed and installed in order to capture the data – along with the effort, space and cost this entails. The goal should be to upgrade the devices themselves, to provide information and to realise the transfer of data via a cost-effective and powerful communication medium.

This is already possible using modern-day technology, as Eaton’s SmartWire-DT solution demonstrates. With the help of an ASIC module with compact dimensions of only 9 x 9 mm, even small devices, such as switches, buttons or sensors, can be converted into intelligent communication-enabled ‘smart devices’. All because the ASIC contains interfaces for connecting digital and analogue measuring signals, a processing unit for handling standalone program logic and a powerful communication interface.

The SmartWire-DT from Eaton provides tranfer of data across the whole communication chaintitle

Working benefits of device level communication

Eaton’s SmartWire-DT intelligent wiring and communication system consolidates circuit wiring into a single cable, reducing panel and machine wiring complexity. 


Power XL Variable Speed Motor Starter DE1

Taking an electronic motor starter as an example, the benefits become clear. Without the additional effort and costs of external components, this is able to provide information about the present current and the load condition of the connected motor. This enables early detection and correction of faults, ensuring trouble-free operation. Data about the installed device type or set overload current allows correct installation to be verified. In this way, condition-based maintenance can be realised simply and cost-effectively in the context of Industry 4.0. Command and signal units make it possible to ensure that the button or switch is functioning correctly by monitoring the contact device and allows users to detect and transfer information about malfunctions, often before they occur.

The Power XL DE1 motor starter utilises SmartWire-DT technology, making installation even simpler to other compatible products


Eaton’s intelligent wiring solution accommodates diverse devices ranging from sensors and actuators, motor protection switchgears and frequency inverters to circuit breakers and HMI/PLCs

















Connection of the system to important fieldbuses such as PROFIBUS, PROFINET, CANopen, Modbus TCP, Ethernet/IP, Powerlink or EtherCAT is vital and is already available with SmartWire-DT. Should a uniform communication standard be defined for the smart factory of the future, perhaps involving the transition to WLAN technology, for example, then only the communication layer will need to be replaced in order to ensure continued access to the data in the smart devices.



Stefan Selke leads Eaton’s MOEM segment marketing division in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). He is responsible for defining clear marketing strategies for the machine building industry focusing on the following topics – Energy Efficiency, Circuit Protection, Human-Machine Interface (HMI) and Intelligent Wiring/Internet of Things (IoT). Prior to joining Eaton, Stefan held various positions at Brecon Vibrationstechnik, DeTeWe Communication Systems and Siemens. He has a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Applied Sciences Braunschweig/Wolfenbüttel and served a 3-year apprenticeship as an Electronic Technician at Siemens in Madrid, Spain.

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