Skip to main content

Ahead of the times

Interview with Ralf Klein, Managing Director of HARTING Electronics GmbH & Co. KG
Ahead of the times Identifying mega-trends, developing pioneering solutions and implementing them in corresponding products. What are the prerequisites for achieving your set goals?

R. Klein:

The current situation with the global pandemic is, on the one hand, an enormous humanitarian challenge, and on the other a huge catalyst for digitalisation. Working from home and the focus on digital formats as a replacement for large industry trade fairs have thrown a spotlight on the importance of digital infrastructure. The winners have been those who had the foresight to think ahead and to prepare for tomorrow. For quite a long time, digitalisation and the Internet of Things were only vague terms, but these are now coming more into focus and we are seeing that things will not just progress as they are with respect to continuous development. Infrastructure and networks must undergo a major transition. No data without infrastructure, no IIoT without Advanced Ethernet. The manufacturers of components must not only accompany the process and take this step, but rather they need to pave the way. At the field level of plant automation, analogous systems are rapidly being replaced by digital ones, which means that data is being generated in ever greater volumes. What kind of demands does this place on connectivity?

R. Klein:

There is little merit in data without a suitable infrastructure to get it to its destination.  This is something that needs fresh ideas and new solutions. It is no longer sufficient to optimise existing solutions. The requirements of future developments within the framework of IIoT must be recognised and suitable solutions derived. Connectors in devices and to devices need to shrink, but they also need to be more powerful.

HARTING already charted this course a few years ago with Ethernet Connectivity and created new connectors that set standards in both the PCB and in device connectivity. The most prominent of these solutions is SPE – Single Pair Ethernet. Ethernet protocol up to 1Gbit/s via a single copper wire is the driver of digitalisation at field level. Space-saving and cost-effective, it enables seamless communication from the cloud to each sensor. Without media disruption, in real-time and with the data and power supply in one connection. So at HARTING it’s about translating mega-trends into products. Can you be a bit more specific here?

R. Klein:

Paving the way rather than accompanying is my motto and naturally there are examples for this.

With the T1 Industrial interface in accordance with IEC 63171-6, we set the global standard for SPE interfaces. At the same time, we became a member of the new SPE Industrial Partner Network and are driving forward a complete SPE ecosystem with over 30 other market leaders. Pursuing this course we have gained numerous strong partners that are all working to establish SPE as the new communication standard at field level.

Setting standards together with partners is critical for the sustainability and success of a solution. We have seen this just recently with the IEC 61076-2-010, where we worked with 7 other connectivity providers to set it as the market standard for push-pull quick locking for M12 circular connectors.

Our configurators have also given developers a tool with which they can configure an industry connector or modular board-to-board connector in accordance with their individual requirements, and these can then simply be delivered. With the new har-modular for circuit boards, we are not only offering developers a range of fixed special solutions, but a modular kit offering several million combination options. Open the configurator, select the modules for power, signals and data, and these will be configured from batch size 1. The solution is then assembled in accordance with the customer’s requirements or manufactured and supplied on a generative basis in the future. This is the how modularisation makes IIoT possible.

Other miniaturisation successes include the har-flex hybrid and ix Industrial. Har-flex hybrid brings together signal and power contacts in the dimensions of 1.27mm for the miniaturised printed circuit board connection in the device. As soon as the data and signals leave the device, ix Industrial comes on stage as a smaller and considerably more robust alternative to RJ45.

Setting standards together with partners is an important point for the sustainability and success of a solution.

Ralf Klein, Managing Director of HARTING Electronics GmbH & Co. KG Which aspects of this pioneering line-up of HARTING Electronics are particularly important to you here?

R. Klein:

Looking at it as a whole, all of these developments can be viewed under the term Advanced Ethernet. Ethernet is the communication medium of the future. It is now finding its way into all sectors thanks to technologies like SPE and it is being further strengthened as a uniform standard. The year 2020 has clearly highlighted the importance of digitalisation and a suitable infrastructure in order to meet the challenges of the present. My goal today and in the future is to stay ahead of the times, to be innovative and thereby create technologies for people! This corporate vision has been driving us for 75 years and is now more pertinent than ever. It is an honour to lead this vision into the future, with the technologies and product innovations from HARTING Electronics GmbH previously mentioned.

Ralf Klein
Ralf Klein, Managing Director of HARTING Electronics GmbH & Co. KG


HARTING Electronics GmbH & Co. KG

Ethernet is the communication medium of the future. HARTING Electronics creates the perfect infrastructure from the cloud to each sensor and is thus the driver of IIoT. The trend towards miniaturisation is advancing apace and requires innovative answers in terms of the size, modularity and standardisation of components. Regardless of whether it is the right device connectivity or the best connection technology for board-to-board solutions – we are setting the standards.


Recommend article

Eingeschränktes HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.