At Smart Factory Expo, Harting (Stand D62) is featuring new developments in its ranges of connectivity and automation products for improving the efficiency of manufacturing processes based on the concepts of Integrated Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Harting’s approach to smart manufacturing is based on the addition of intelligence to manufacturing processes with the aim of achieving a high level of connectivity, visibility, awareness, and adaptability at all stages in the supply chain. By enhancing users’ processes with RFID technology, Harting makes it possible to implement systems that deliver real profitability gains without the need for re-engineering already proven, stable manufacturing processes.
The two key elements of Harting’s approach are machine-to-machine communications and manufacturing logistics. Machine-to-machine communications is typically concerned with the transmission of information obtained from the monitoring of production equipment to improve diagnostics and to enable effective preventative maintenance.
New developments in machine-to-machine communications include Harting’s ix Industrial: a miniaturised Ethernet interface that sets a new standard for IP20 Ethernet connections. Ethernet is the dominant communication standard for industrial applications, and the popular RJ45 connector has become the standard interface for Ethernet connections.
However, with advances in miniaturisation, the RJ45 has now become too large for many applications, and its plastic locking tabs are easily broken in busy manufacturing environments, which can lead to contact problems as the connection works loose.
Consequently, a smaller and more rugged connector, especially one which can also offer Cat. 6A performance for 1/10 Gbit/s Ethernet at the control level, has been on the wish list of many users and developers. With the ix Industrial, Harting is presenting an integrated system which meets all these requirements.
Socket sizes have been reduced by 70 per cent compared with the RJ45, enabling manufacturers to use the ix in much smaller devices. Moreover, the ix combines data transmission and power supply into a single interface, further reducing the area required for connectors. For device integration, a small yet robust socket with five THR shielding contacts is available for maximum stability on the PCB.
Also new is the Han Configurator: an interactive tool designed to speed the selection of Harting’s Han range of heavy-duty industrial connectors by allowing engineers to quickly access all the necessary information and relevant data on the individual interface components prior to producing a design that can be viewed as a 3D model in real time.
Despite increasingly complex requirements and a high level of product diversification, the smart configurator makes the connector selection process easily manageable. The current configuration can be viewed in real time in the form of a 3D model in a separate window, and the configurator will never display components that cannot be combined with a selection already made.
The Han Configurator allows users to quickly and intuitively arrive at the best interface without the need to search for components and their specifications. It is easy to add and remove alternative interface options that comply with the latest connector developments, all with the click of a mouse.
Harting has also expanded its MICA industrial computer family with the addition of dedicated wireless and energy versions as well as a range of kits which can be equipped and assembled by the customer with their own function boards, including devices targeted at IoT applications. The new models have been developed from practical real-world applications and suggestions from the MICA customer group.
The MICA 2 features a dual-core processor, 4GB of RAM and 16GB of eMMC (Embedded Multi-Media Card) that offer 3-5 times the computing power of the MICA Basic.
Harting’s MICA Wireless combines the computing power of the MICA 2 with integrated interfaces for wireless communication including GSM, WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS without occupying the function board. This creates a highly flexible option for data acquisition and communication without the need for cabling.
With the MICA Energy, data from electric meters and current transformers can be read, compressed and routed to MES and ERP systems. By integrating the OpenSource InfluxDB time series database and the dashboard software Grafana, analysis and visualisation can also be performed directly on the MICA.
The integrated software allows both the creation of browser-based solutions and the development of solutions featuring qt (Software Library).
For OEMs and customers who want to create their own systems, Harting now also offers MICA kits which can be equipped and assembled with their own function boards. 3D and layout data for development are available free of charge at www.harting-mica.com/en/technical-resources.
See Harting connectivity and automation products at the Smart Factory Expo on Stand D62.