The proliferation of connected technologies is placing new technical demands on industrial connectors. Higher speeds, higher frequency performance, and reduced form factors are required, along with ruggedness, reliability, and immunity against electromagnetic interference.
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the wireless interconnectivity of electronic devices ranging from appliances and vehicles to building control systems and manufacturing equipment. Embedded electronic components, including sensors, actuators, connectors, and cables, enable these devices to collect and exchange data and be remotely monitored and controlled. The Industrial IoT (IIoT) is a subsegment specifically dedicated to manufacturing that involves the convergence of the IoT, real-time analytics, machine learning, and embedded systems, including wireless sensor networks, control systems, and automation technologies. The IIoT adds analysis and informed response capabilities to standard IoT functions. These advanced capabilities enable the improved manufacturing efficiencies, productivity, and other economic benefits intrinsic to Industry 4.0, a subset of the fourth industrial revolution that includes smart factories and lights-out manufacturing.
In order to take advantage of the IIoT, system networks must be able to share and communicate the vast amounts of collected data that is generated by the various system sensors. This is necessary to govern automated control functions, calibrate and regulate equipment such as motors, and enable advance planning functions and predictive maintenance.
Proximity, flow and motion sensors, optical and environmental sensors, and many more types of input, generate a huge data stream. It all has to be integrated into a logic controller of some sort, at very high data transfer rates – and all happening at the same time. Smart connections must be made between the different nodes or elements of a factory production line, between one manufacturing line and another in the plant, and between the whole plant and the rest of the business enterprise. They need to support high speed communications and signal integrity, often when situated in harsh environments and over a long life cycle.
A recent performance enhancement in the IIOT is known as sensor fusion, which incorporates advanced software and processing in smart connectors, in order to integrate all the different kinds of sensory input into the entire automated system. Smart connectors have additional intelligent functionality that can be used in many different types of application, such as surge protection, energy measurement and machinery identification. Independently mounted modules can be plugged into an automated system with push-in spring terminal connections, which can expand networks with new devices, identify and incorporate enhanced applications, and manage and store big machine data.
Several industrial protocols are currently competing to meet the transmission requirements of such smart connectors, including industrial-level ethernet protocols and the existing traditional connectors, such as Modbus and Profibus. Speed and connectivity are the primary considerations, especially for large installations, with smart connectors in fully automated factories having to transport data at speeds varying from 1Gb/s to 10Gb/s. These large capacities can presently only be maintained over shorter distances, but are essential for the communication of high-definition video, for example, or real-time data analytics for making instant system adjustments.
The continued development and expansion of sophisticated IoT, IIoT, and Industry 4.0, applications requires higher performance connectors with increased data rates and densities. Connector designs must minimize the negative effects caused by increased data rates and densities, including EMI and crosstalk. Rugged mezzanine connectors enable designers to achieve these application requirements without compromising the robust mechanical performance that is required in industrial designs. For more information about Amissiontech connectors, please do not hesitate to contact us.