Connector trends in Industry 4.0

Smaller, faster, safer, and more powerful. No, these words aren't describing the newest sports car but the future trends in connectors and connectivity.

The automation industry is looking for approaches that enable machines and systems to be easily adapted to global production requirements as well as local customer specifications.

Trends and requirements born out of the Industry 4.0 revolution also influence the connectivity level of a machine or system. As customers demand customised systems and higher flexibility, industrial automation components should reflect these demands. Today, connectors and cables are developed to enable individual production procedures within the context of serial processes. In order to fulfil these requirements, products must be smaller, faster, safer, and more powerful.

One clear trend is the need for data connectors that facilitate the interconnectivity of components. It doesn't matter if it's RJ45 or M12 X-coded, these high-performance connectors are in the forefront of building machines and designing systems. The accurate transmission of data and power in one, preassembled hybrid cordset, like the M12 Y-coded connector, is a new industry standard. It's important that these components remain compact and small, but along with the size, the connector has to be resistant to vibration. Rugged environments put high demands on products, and connectors should be easy to connect and maintain their seal.

Connectors are currently being developed that enable machines and systems to become modular. With customer's increasing demands that products be customisable and flexible, connectors and cables have to make these machine requirements a reality. Heavy-duty connectors that bundle many different lines, including hydraulic, pneumatic, data, and power, are leading the industry for modular machine and system applications. These components make it easy for machines to be disassembled, transported, and reassembled quickly and error-free; they also enable manufacturing facilities to reconfigure their shop floor based on changing customer demands.

In the new industrial revolution, products are becoming "˜smarter'. Key topics like preventative maintenance and early warning systems are integrated into every level of a machine or system today and will only become more pervasive in the future. The connectivity level is no different. In the future, connectors and cables should be able to notify maintenance staff that they are nearing the end of their lifetime and need to be changed out. Notifications like this are cost effective and can greatly increase uptime within a machine or system.

Below are listed some of Murrelektronik's connectors that can help customers meet the needs of future trends in connectivity.

M12 X-Coded

Industrial Ethernet applications require continuously higher transfer rates. High speed vision systems that generate a high data volume are a prime example.

  • M12 technology for Industrial Ethernet applications
  • 10 Gbit/s data transfer rate according to Cat. 6 A (ISO/IEC 11801)

M12 Y-Coded

Applications are focusing more and more on the installation costs. The concept transferring both data and power with only one cable helps reduce components and efforts.

  • 100 Mbit/s data transfer according to Cat. 5e (ISO/IEC 11801, Class D)
  • Power transfer up to 2× 6A

MQ15 X Power

Compact and powerful connector that provides safe connections for up to 7.5 kW asynchronous and three phase motors.

  • 3 power contacts up to 16A
  • 2 auxiliary contacts up to 10A, PE
  • Quick connect technology enables large number of connections in shorter time

Modlink Vario

Modlink Vario is a modular media connector to couple and decouple pneumatics, fluids and electronics with just one system. It is designed for convenient use at control cabinets, tools and machine parts.

  • Different media can be coupled simultaneously and while pressurized
  • Freely configurable couplings
  • Full metal housing

Smart Core

Defective cordsets in drag chains and robot tube packages are one of the main causes of unplanned downtimes. SmartCore Technology lets you know when they are about to fail due to a feature called that now makes cables and cordsets intelligent!

  • Joint research project with Murrelektronik, Nexans and Leuze Electronic
  • Preventative maintenance integrated into connector and cable
  • Diagnostic warning system when the cable has reached around 80% of its lifetime

M12 Power T, S, L and K Coded

Reliable solution for cordsets to linear drives, stepper motors as well as power supply lines for field bus modules. It presents a highly suitable alternative to 7/8" cordsets in applications that require high power density in compact installation spaces.

  • High Loads per pin: 63V/16A or 630V/12A
  • Universal M12 contact suitable for global applications
  • Integrated anti-vibration lock

For more information about high-performance connectors please visit

Murrelektronik Ltd

5 Albion Street, Pendlebury Industrial Estate
M27 4FG

+44 (0)161 728 3133

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