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Technology partnership for Single Pair Ethernet (SPE)

For SPE HARTING relies on an alliance of research, industry and standardisation
Rainer Schmidt
Rainer Schmidt
Business Development Manager Cable Systems, HARTING Electronics

People are familiar with the trend towards ever smaller and more powerful devices from the IT world. But this trend is also catching on in other industries.

The new single-pair Ethernet technology SPE, based on transmission standards per IEEE 802.3, is currently being implemented in new generations of automobiles and replaces CAN and other bus systems. Controllers, communication and security functions will run uniformly over Ethernet in the future – a basic requirement for networked or, later on, autonomous driving.

SPE now enables data transmission over Ethernet via a single pair of wires while also providing a simultaneous power supply to end devices via PoDL – Power over Data Line. Until now, two pairs were required for Fast Ethernet (100MB) and four pairs for Gigabit Ethernet.

SPE increases the efficiency of the automation network

Users are also intent on leveraging these advantages in industrial automation. Here, SPE allows the barrier-free connection of field devices, sensor/actuator technology and much more. The field level becomes smart, thus reducing the effort involved in configuration, initialisation and programming. Setup, operation and maintenance of equipment become more efficient and cheaper. SPE in machines, robots or rail technology provides additional weight and space savings. The overall cabling effort becomes easier, and cabling can be installed much faster.

For HARTING, SPE is a technology t topic and springboard for numerous new product developments. For the user, SPE is not only an opportunity, but a challenge as well. Is the new technology as secure as the previous solution? Can SPE also be used in process automation with cable lengths of 1000m? How much power can the device pull? When will SPE connectors and cables be available, and are they sufficiently standardised?

The initiative of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is helping via the program WIPANO - “Knowledge and Technology Transfer through Patents and Standards”. HARTING, Reutlingen University of Applied Sciences and LEONI are working on urgent questions relating to a multitude of SPE aspects in the joint project NG200, while simultaneously incorporating the results into international standardisation. Thus, IEC 61076-3-125 is working on the standardisation for SPE plug faces, while IEC 61156-xx focuses on SPE cables. In addition, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 25/WG 3 and IEC SC 65/JWG 10 are working on the corresponding cabling standards ISO/IEC 11801 and IEC 61918 with installation guidelines and threshold values for SPE.

In a further step, the collaborative project is investigating the question of where the technical limits of SPE transmission channels lie. As a result, as of 2019 the SPE user will not only have products available, but also valid standards and guidelines for installing and testing components. The HARTING technology partnership provides customers with support in the implementation of SPE, and thus concrete competitive advantages.

Draft of a SPE interface
This is how it could look like: the interface fpr Single Pair Ethernet
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