Saturday 17 May 2014

“Press and go” and outdoor version connectors!

Harting has expanded its M12 industrial connector family with the introduction of two new versions designed to enhance its versatility in harsh environments: a “press and go” custom cable assembly technology and an outdoor M12 connector based on V4A grade stainless steel.

The “press and go” concept is designed to combine the ruggedness of moulded cable connections with the flexibility of custom cable assemblies for accommodating different types of cable.

Moulded cable connections are attractive because of their suitability for deployment in rugged environments in industrial applications. Within the context of increased flexibility, there is growing interest in exploiting the benefits of moulded solutions, while still being able to respond to individual requirements. The M12 “press and go” product is ideally suited to this task.

Flexibility and safe utilisation in harsh environments are not contradictory, as demonstrated by Harting’s established M12 cable assemblies. In the industrial environment, so-called overmoulded solutions for cable assemblies are used and accepted worldwide. This proven technology is attractive as long as the same types of cable are processed in large quantities. The cost is lower than that of custom solutions, and they also demonstrate better performance in demanding and harsh environments.

The markets, however, tend to opt for different types of cables. For overmoulding, this means repeatedly adjusting the tool used. In addition, many customers rely on their own cable specifications and consequently on their own cables. Last but not least, widely differing types of cables are deployed in similar application environments during set-up. As a result, there is an increased focus on short-term project requirements.

The company has now developed a customer-oriented, flexible, safe and widely deployable connection technology that offers similar benefits to overmoulded solutions with an emphasis on efficiency and flexibility.

This new system draws on the elements already available from the company’s M12 Slim Design connector, with the additional advantage that no more tightening is needed. Instead, a cap is simply pressed on, and the assembly is ready.

The innovation offers a non-detachable, custom cable assembly that can be deployed quickly and economically. The mechanical and electrical properties are equivalent to those of the overmoulded solution. Another advantage is that all cables over a diameter range from 4.5 to 8.8 mm can be used, and tool adjustments are not required. The technology is distinguished by its short time to market and flexibility with regard to cables customised to customer requirements.

The new M12 Outdoor connector is designed to meet the growing need to deploy connectors in harsh environments, as well as outdoors, in response to industry’s demands for increased flexibility and the decentralisation. Today, connectors are expected to feature adequate encapsulation against salt spray and mist, which in turn requires more resistant materials.

For this reason, Harting tested the use of especially durable materials. However, stainless steel in V2A quality is not sufficiently resistant - the suitable higher grade material is referred to as V4A. Processing V4A, however, is problematic: series production availability and reliable machining cannot be guaranteed by the use of conventional machines and tools. The elements of material and tool must be co-ordinated with one another. The material itself must meet the most rigorous standards, which is not the case for some of the materials on offer. While they are easy enough to process, they fail to demonstrate adequate resistance in the field.

On the manufacturing side, they have succeeded in tackling V4A grade stainless steel. As a result, this means that M12 crimp connectors made from V4A are protected from extreme salt spray and mist. Harting has proven this in tests that conform to IEC 60068-2-52 severity 4. Consequently, this has demonstrated that the M12 Outdoor connectors are robust and suitable for scenarios in the harshest of environments.

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