Faced with integrated industry, the era of rigid and encapsulated production lines is drawing to an end. Decentralised industrial PCs, robot tools and other modular components are changed at much shorter intervals than before, depending on the requirements and utilisation of the production facility. From the user's perspective, the replacement of tools and devices needs to work quickly, safely and easily. To also cater to these more demanding requirements where the connection technology is concerned, Harting presented a new generation of its modular PushPull V4 Industrial plug connector at the recent Hannover Messe. This latest version features a new housing material that withstands aggressive chemicals, a snap-in locking device and more flexible cable accommodation. The operation has been improved with visual and haptic aids for even greater process reliability. PushPull V4 Industrial connectors are suitable for power, signals and data in modular systems.
Which properties could be of particular importance for a plug connector in the context of modularisation and Industry 4.0? Asking the users, easy and fast handling will be as much in the foreground as robustness and the resulting broad range of applications. In an ideal case, safe connections would not require any assembly tools that could get lost, the interface would be easy to allocate, and also do its job without incidents after several thousand mating cycles. Unscheduled downtime is and remains a worst-case scenario for production processes, to be avoided if at all possible.
Machines and systems in industrial production processes are becoming ever more modular and flexible, and this needs to be taken into account by the wiring and connection technology. Plant sections need to be quickly yet reversibly connected during the set-up. If a production process is relocated or converted, Harting's PushPull system will even permit its lifelines to be severed and reconnected in seconds. To optimise this process even further, Harting has subjected the PushPull V4 to an external redesign.
This further development of the original PushPull plug focusses on the user's requirements. The plug has been redesigned to become more robust while being easier and faster to operate at the same time. This is why the PushPull V4 Industrial features a new housing material that now also protects it from extremely aggressive chemicals such as cutting oils in machining centres, for example. These and other aggressive chemicals present the plugs with heightened challenges. In an environment of alkaline or basic operating materials, all parts of a system, including its lifelines, need to work with absolute dependability and process reliability. Optimised for these potential applications, the PushPull is now able to deal with even tougher requirements, enabling an even more universal use in industrial applications. To make the manual (dis-) assembly without tools even easier, the new housing now has markedly more pronounced contours in the gripping sections that make pulling the plug easier. This innovation is of particular benefit for users wherever housings tend to get oily or wet.
Simple and intuitive operation
Process reliability is not only guaranteed by robustness, however, but also by a simple and intuitive operation that excludes possible errors. True to the motto 'The simplest solutions are usually the best', the second generation of the PushPull now only has one firmly attached cable clamp for sealing and cable relief, instead of the three loose ones previously included. This is simpler while simultaneously permitting greater leeway for the cable diameter, which can now range from 4.5 to 10 mm. Depending on the application and corresponding cable, users previously needed to consult the assembly instructions to establish which of the former three seals would fit. This decision is no longer required, making the potential leaking and insufficient cable relief associated with wrong cable-seal combinations a thing of the past. It also makes the faster assembly of cables and plugs easier and safer in the field.
To accelerate the speed of the plug-and-play principle, the second PushPull generation has been provided with two colour-coded marks. The first one serves to indicate if the plug and socket have the right mutual orientation in their coding and can be mated without problems. This saves time and potential errors in cabling projects – especially where many interfaces need to be connected. The square mating face previously made it difficult to see immediately in which of the four possible positions the plug and socket needed to be oriented in relation to one another. The clearly visible marking in the form of a yellow triangle now remedies this and saves unnecessary incorrect matings.
The second colour coding can be freely allocated by the user and serves the correct attribution of plugs and sockets. If an application features several PushPull plugs in a row, it will be easier for fitters to see which plug belongs to which socket. This simple but effective measure helps to prevent cabling errors and saves more time in the installation. And, with the PushPull connector able to transfer data, signals and power as a universal system, colour coding makes it easy for data, signal and power lines to be identified quickly and connected correctly.
Benefits of PushPull
Plug connectors can be fastened, locked and protected from inadvertent disconnection in all sorts of ways. Virtually every option is covered, from screwing in the entire plug as with an M12 connector through to securing with additional screws at the familiar D-Sub, or with clips that lock into the socket. These fastenings call for tools in their installation and disassembly, are not watertight or, in the case of RJ45 connectors, not robust enough. In addition, the assembly of many plugs in a constricted space can turn into a time-consuming puzzle.
In contrast, the PushPull system offers markedly greater comfort, as well as considerable time savings, and clearly audible and tangible feedback informs the user of the plug's correct mating. One 'click' and the connection is protected from dirt and water (to IP65/67), as well as vibration.
To make the locking of the plug even safer, the new variant now has an additional spin-lock that retains the PushPull locking element in the mated condition, thereby protecting it from inadvertent disconnection. Plug in the PushPull – 'click' – turn the ring clockwise one-eighth of a turn, and the mating is complete. The rotating ring can also be additionally secured with a seal for extra protection from unauthorised disconnection. This is a distinct advantage for security and enables users to identify connections that are permanent and frequently disconnected - and avoids inadvertent disconnection of the permanent connections.
The size and shape of the design have not been changed by the facelift, and previous applications for all power, signal or data lifelines can still be operated and deployed in the new housing thanks to the standard conformity. Harting is also paying close attention to users and is consistently retaining the modular system design for them. Furthermore, mixed use of the older and new PushPull systems is enabled by the uniform standard.
Connections for I4.0
The variety of insert connectors is said to offer users the right interface for every application just as before. The power variants cover a range from three-pin to four-pin up to 250V at 16A, and also offer sufficient output for energy-hungry applications. Where it comes to signals, the PushPull shines in three versions. With 10 and 20 pins as well as a hybrid power/signal variant, they are suitable for use in industrial fieldbus systems. The range is completed by the third lifeline of data. Here, the modular housing is alternatively available with a USB mating face, RJ45 or fibre optic contacts. The latter allow for transfer rates of up to 10GBit/s and are mostly used in applications calling for great transfer distances.
Harting says it has optimised the design of its PushPull V4 Industrial connectors for the benefit of its customers; the connectors increase process reliability while saving time and potential errors in the assembly. PushPull V4 Industrial connectors deliver simplified and safe handling of power data and signals in demanding application environments.
Follow the link for more information about the new-generation PushPull V4 Industrial connectors from Harting.