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One click – and a secure connection is there

Advantages of PushPull connectors
Matthias Domberg
Matthias Domberg
Product Manager, HARTING Electronics

Suppliers of connection technology rely on tool-free PushPull interlocks. These innovative circular connectors, originally plug-in connectors with screw locking, have been used by HARTING for two years as a Push-Pull variant in the transportation and industrial sectors. HARTING is also actively promoting standardisation efforts so that suitable universal standards for M12 PushPull interlocks can be found.

Dr Metrix

The answer to pressing questions surrounding the further development of circular connectors for the automation sector: Dr. Metrix! Featuring the strived-for, overarching standard of an M12 PushPull solution for protruding and recessed device sockets, the new HARTING heroine solves automation problems. Our existing hero Captain ix, Twister and MissM8ty have dedicated themselves to miniaturisation and the transmission of high data rates, Dr. Metrix now brings additional strengths to the table.

The M12 push-pull is mated in seconds. One click and the secure connection is there - altogether an apt way to describe the benefits of PushPull connectors. As a result, machines, systems and robots can be reconfigured and retooled in seconds. This connection technology has successfully established itself as a proven push-pull solution and been used in straight and angled metal versions in particular in automation and robotics, where multiple mating cycles are required in connection technology. The entire M12 circular connector portfolio from HARTING relies on PushPull compatibility. Connectors, sockets, wall feedthroughs, PCB connections and other M12 components take this development a big step towards the future. The standardised Profinet connectors with the Han-3-A connector face enable permanent, stable connections for Ethernet, which guarantees fast and secure data transfer in terms of digitisation. As a result, Harting caters to the current I4.0 trend of miniaturisation, thus meeting the demands of device manufacturers whose housings are continuously shrinking.

HARTING is considered a pioneer of M12 PushPull solutions. For the rail and industrial sectors, which demand the highest standards in terms of robustness, HARTING’s M12 connector in D and X coding brings to market a plug that withstands shocks and vibrations according to the railway standard DIN EN 50155 and which, in addition to Fast Ethernet, also permits Gigabit Ethernet. The connector is protected to IP65/67, is shock- and vibration-proof to IEC 61373, and also complies with fire protection regulations in accordance with DIN EN 45545-2.

Value-added aspect of PushPull locking recognised

But other industry representatives in the field of connection technology have also recognised the added value of the PushPull locking system for M12 and have developed their own PushPull concepts for the market. Unlike the HARTING solution, however, these concepts tend to target the automation market. Here, other requirements are in focus than in the area of transportation, which is why the solutions ultimately end up being different. While in rail transport the focus is on robustness and reliability due to very tough environmental demands, in automation, due to very large quantities, space and costs play a larger role. The plugs and sockets which result from these developments are quite different, e.g. Harting's M12 PushPull Rail, M12 PushPull for Automation and M12 PushPull Inverse for automation. Each variant has its own plugs and sockets.

PushPull connectors

Nothing works without standards

New and innovative solutions are one thing - consistent standardisation and norms for end-to-end wiring are another. Only standards and norms give users cross-manufacturer compatibility and hence investment security. At this juncture, both the industrial sector and the committees traversing the path to standardisation and a uniform solution found themselves facing a dilemma: should they meld two solutions into one standard?

There are essentially two supporting committees for the requisite international standardisation in cabling for industrial networking and automation. IEC SC 65C/JWG 10 is responsible for the description of the automation profiles based on Ethernet. This is where the IEC 61784-5-x series (Communication Profile Families, CPF) and the communicating IEC 61918 installation guideline in Edition 4 are created. The second body, the ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 25/WG 3, is more driven by IT and with ISO/IEC 11801-x Ed.3 provides the important foundations of topology, cabling distances and limits.

The HARTING M12 PushPull variant has meanwhile become a common standard in rail transport, and the same applies to the solution in factory automation, which HARTING has helped promote. Finally, there is IEC 61076-2-010, which provides a solution for transportation and one for factory automation and thus creates investment security for users.

Space-saving, recessed and flush - the M12 PushPull inverse

Since to date the M12 PushPull can only be plugged into jacks that physically jut out from a device, an additional solution is required for space-saving sockets which are recessed and flush with device housings. This solution in turn requires an M12 that is insertable into the socket with a completely new interlock. At the same time, these new sockets must also be able to accommodate normal screw connectors in M12 in backwards-compatible manner.

Since the topics of cooperation, partnering and mutual success are becoming increasingly important, history has taught us and we have recognised the following: charting the course to a solution of this type and with such potential can only be done together. In response to the wishes of automation users and the subsequent joint initiative of numerous industry representatives, the ball got rolling on the topic of the M12 PushPull inverse. HARTING actively advanced the subject of standardisation on the way to a recessed PushPull connector. The result is an M12 PushPull inverse connector with a clear focus on the automation market. Here, factors such as costs - and above all size - play a greater role than absolute robustness for every imaginable use. This requires an approach that says ‘as good and robust as necessary, and as inexpensive as possible’. The relevance for a recessed PushPull inverse is already clear from the planned coding. For example, the proposed standards include codes in A, B, D, H, K, L, M, S, T and X.

Users or specialist companies that are more involved in industrial cabling should have the following standards at their disposal:

  • ISO/IEC 11801 Part 1 and 3, Edition 3: Information Technology – Generic cabling for customer premises (available beginning spring 2018)
  • IEC 61918, Edition 4: Industrial communication networks – Installation of communication networks in industrial premises (available as of 2018)
  • TR ISO/IEC 11801 9902 Information technology – Generic cabling for customer premises – Part 9902: Specifications for end-to-end link configurations
  • ISO/IEC 14763-4 Information technology – Implementation and operation of customer premises cabling – Part 4: Measurement of end-to-end (E2E) links
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