The market for industrial robots has grown dynamically since 2013, on average by almost 20% annually. Automation and innovations in robotic technology are driving this growth. In the meantime, robots are widely used in industrial manufacturing, especially in the automotive, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering sectors. HARTING set standards at an early stage – especially in terms of interfaces between robots and control cabinets. Today, the manufacturer is offering solutions for virtually every type of robot.
The first Han® interfaces for industrial robots were based on the demands made by the automotive industry. These included:
- good EMC behaviour / 360 degree shielding
- compact design, non-destructible surfaces
- easy handling with secure locking
- protection against welding sparks
HARTING has been developing solutions together with robot manufacturers that meet these requirements since the 1980s. One approach is to use separate connectors for power and signals to avoid interference. Alternatively, all three lifelines – data, power, signals – can be placed in one modular connector. Both concepts share the common goal of leveraging the advantages of connectors versus hard-wired connections in order to have quick and easy connections between robots and control cabinets.
Since the turn of the millennium, the demands on signal transmission in robotics have risen sharply since manufacturing systems have been equipped with more and more sensors. Ever more extensive Ethernet networks have also been set up for transmitting large amounts of data quickly to efficiently control these systems. HARTING is offering matching interfaces with RJ45 and M12 mating faces. Moreover, HARTING was the first supplier (with the Han-Modular®) to develop modular inserts that allow data connections to be placed side-by-side with power and signal contacts in one single connector.
The requirements for perfectly adapted and custom interfaces are just as varied as the diverse areas of application and types of robots.
Han®/HARTING solutions for robotics requirements
- Separate connectors: power connector plus signal interface and additional RJ45 or M12 data connectors
- Han-Modular®: combination of modules for power, signals and data transmission
- Combined connectors Han-Com®: multi-pole monoblocks for power and signals
- Han® 1A: compact plastic connectors in variants for signals, power or data
- har-port: data inserts USB, RJ45
- har-motion: DIN-connector-based power and signal supply up to 6 amps
- HARTING PushPull connector for data (RJ45), power (up to 16 A) or signals
- ix Industrial® in variants for signals and data/Ethernet
For some five years now, robot manufacturers have been subject to increasing cost pressure, which they counter by using the simplest possible interfaces and high contact density. A typical HARTING solution that accommodates this are the multi-pole monoblocks for Han D® and D-Sub contacts (Han DD®/Han® DDD/Han Com®). These can accommodate up to 216 contacts for power and signals.
Compact, space saving robots are popular and their numbers are on the rise. This has prompted demands for more compact connectors. This miniaturisation trend is complemented by the requirement to transmit the highest possible data volumes. Both objectives limit each other.
Offering a wide product portfolio of PushPull series (with RJ45 data or power/signal inserts) and ix Industrial® connectors, as well as T1 for Single Pair Ethernet, HARTING is providing the ideal products for small robots. Robots are tools that can be installed and set up quickly and easily – and must be sufficiently robust for industrial use. In certain environments, this can be realised with the (lighter) PushPull V4 plastic enclosure. EMC, however, often plays a critical role in automobile production. Consequently, it can make more sense to use HARTING PushPull V14 for Ethernet, signals or power, in a metal enclosure. This is a solution that is more robust and, for instance, it can also withstand welding sparks.
Generally speaking, the ix Industrial® and T1 are highly interesting products for the miniaturisation of robots. Both connectors are standardised according to IEC 61076-3-124. There are already manufacturers in the industrial sector that no longer opt for the conventional RJ45 connectors and have replaced them with miniaturised variants.
Connectors consist of standard components, whereas the cables used can be highly complex. As a result, HARTING, as a connector specialist, together with its Customized Solutions subsidiary, is also offering cable harnesses for robotics. Here, HARTING is not only able to contribute its decades of experience with heavy-duty connectors – it can also point to the wide variety of its data interfaces, from light to rugged and robust variants.