As part of development towards Production Level 4, connection technology is undergoing an important transformative process. In the future, industrial connectors will no longer merely be mechanical components that separately supply machines with power, signals or data. Rather, they become active participants within the interaction of controls, sensors, actuators or other loads. The new generation of industrial interfaces not only enables passive communication, the interfaces themselves become communicative.
Over more than 75 years, HARTING has built up a comprehensive portfolio of passive connectors that meet all current industrial requirements for the transmission of power, signals and data. All the important interface transmission types have also been developed, including for electrical power and signals, FOC and compressed air.
Progress down the path towards the Smart Factory has seen further increases in the requirements that connectors in an industrial environment need to meet. Ever more diverse and active transmission options are required, e.g. for connecting sensors and actuators. Consequently, within the Han-Modular® series HARTING has enhanced the originally mechanical passive connectors with active functionality, with the goal being to build up an intelligent connector portfolio under the Han-Smart® line.
The first step was the integration of analogue circuitry technology for the Han® SP module. The circuitry protects sensitive end devices in industrial environments from overvoltages and electromagnetic coupling, and provides this protection all the way from the site where the connection with the control cabinet is made.
The Han® ID module marks the entry of memory units and digital communication into the connector. The module records essential parameters used for the predictive maintenance of systems in the periphery, i.e. the year built, revision status and the duration of a component’s use, maintaining the parameters in digital form for system control.
The latest product in the Han-Smart® series is the HEM module (HARTING Energy Measurement), which transmits the results of current and voltage measurements to fieldbus systems via integrated sensors. This module gives customers full transparency regarding energy consumption and enables them to easily identify potential ways to optimise their plants and systems.
Frank Quast, Head of Product Management Installation Technology at HARTING, as Product Owner of a connector that will contain smart functions in the future.