Howard Forryan, Product Market Specialist at Harting Ltd, said; “One of the key Industry 4.0 principles is the ‘Smart Factory’ which is focused on enhanced interoperability and flexibility, cell modularisation, miniaturisation and increased decentralisation. However, many established manufacturers face barriers of physical space. This clever connector design helps save space by integrating multiple components and connections into a single unit.”
To achieve this, the company has integrated a very compact but fully functioning ‘store and forwarding’ 4-port Ethernet active switch device into its market leading Han-Modular® I/O mixed connector design concept. This means that network devices can be deployed closer to the field while reducing the effort of retrofitting when integrating new Ethernet modules. As a result, system integrators and production machinery OEMs can achieve simpler networking of typical cabinet control systems (including I/O´s, PLCs, HMIs etc.), easier extension of an existing IP based image processing vision system and more straightforward distributed cabling for interlinked production cells.
The Han-Modular® Switch US4 module makes it possible to network 4 EtherNet/IP or PROFINET nodes with transmission speeds of up to 1000 Mbit/s. Integrated LEDs provide quick and easy power and network diagnostics for individual ports, displaying both the presence of the Ethernet connection as well as ongoing data exchange and the associated speed.
The module automatically detects the send/receive lines of connected devices, and automatically finds the correct setting for the lines (Auto MDI/MDIX function).
In connection with the 10Base-T and 100Base-Tx interfaces, the module autonomously corrects polarity errors in wire pairs and reverses the polarity of data signals (Auto Polarity). It also allows two connected Ethernet nodes to Auto-Negotiation and configure the maximum data transfer rate – up to 1000 Mbit/s incrementally – as well as the type of transmission, i.e. half-duplex or full duplex.
Other features of the Han-Modular® Switch US4 include: the option for prioritisation of data packets (Quality of Service function); integrated reverse polarity and overvoltage protection; high data throughput (Jumbo Frame Support), and power supply adapter (10-30V DC).
Commenting on his company's approach to introducing Industry 4.0, Howard Forryan concluded; “Harting has provided another very effective option to support Industry 4.0. This connector supports the trend of integrating more intelligent hardware at the field connectivity level of machine modules within the production process. It does this by routing data through a Han-Modular® Switch US4 module and combining it with the other Industry 4.0 main lifelines of power and signal in a single, compact, space-saving Han-Modular® housing.”