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Automation Technologies 1/2016

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Automation Technologies 1/2016

Reliably pluggable in

Reliably pluggable in the field ‘M12’ plug-in connectors are widely used for field installation – and there is a reason why they are often the first choice. Numerous variants of the design offer the user a reliable and economical interface. A number of things must be considered during component selection – both for molded and for freely configurable plug-in connectors For sensor/actuator cabling, component selection begins with the planning process: What requirements should be considered? What are the characteristics of the installation location? What are the significant mechanical and electrical considerations? And what role will temperature, protection class, or vibration play? The market has numerous solutions for field cabling, from the standard program to the special program for unusual requirements. But the M12 design interface dominates the market. Help with selection The standard program is not the same everywhere – the differences in durability, for instance, are significant. One important component is the molded plug-in connector cable – where the electrical, mechanical, and thermal characteristics vary widely. The user can choose from among various cable qualities – including PVC cables, oil-resistant, halogen-free PUR cables, and highly flexible cables that perform well under torsion. The growing number of sensors and actuators are accompanied by a growing number of cables. There is often great savings potential here. If only compressed-air valves are to be used, the cables do not need to be oil-resistant. For use with milling machines or lathes, on the other hand, constant contact with lubricating oils requires that just these cables be used. The quality of the cables plays an important role in durability. How can the user determine the correct cable quality? Which cable is the right one for the application? Market-leading cable manufacturers and providers of cables with molded plug connectors provide detailed information about their components in their catalogs. This information allows many variants to be ruled out and the selection of possible correct cables to be narrowed down. Receiving this comprehensive information as early as the planning phase minimizes the risk of installing a solution that is technically or economically unsound. Characteristics with molded plug connectors Cables with molded plug connectors are offered both with plug-in connectors on both sides and with one open cable end. For the variant that has molded connectors on both sides, the cable length must first be defined so as to avoid cable loops in the machine. This design is especially advantageous because of ‘plug and play’– the components have been electrically tested and only have to be COMPONENTS AND SOFTWARE Author: Dipl.-Ing. Jörg Hohmeier, Pluscon Field & Installation Product Marketing, Phoenix Contact GmbH & Co. KG, Blomberg, Germany AUTOMATION TECHNOLOGIES 1/2016

Configurable M12 plug-in connector – spring cage and insulation displacement connectors allow reliable, quick installation in the field plugged in. The coded connector profile allows cabling to be performed by trained personnel. On-site assembly is unnecessary, and the installation’s susceptibility to errors falls dramatically. For the variant with a molded plug connector on one side only, the cable length does not need to be precisely defined – the user can shorten the cable as necessary. This design is also tested – but it must be assembled. The application of a freely configurable plug-in connector provides an interface that is pluggable on both sides. Push-in technology offers even more convenience The deciding factor for the selection of the correct plug-in connector is its specific function, with which the user should be familiar. The spring cage and insulation displacement technologies, both of which are considered quick-connection technologies, save the installation technician a great deal of time. Spring-force technology is the best known quick-connection technology. All spring-force connectors allow a solid, maintenancefree cable connection – even when subjected to increased shock and vibration. The spring cage connection provides simple installation of rigid or flexible cables. The clamping area is opened with a screwdriver before the cable is inserted. Push-in technology goes one step further: a leg spring allows rigid or flexible cables to be pushed easily into the clamping area. It requires neither a screwdriver nor a pusher. The pusher is used only for the connection of flexible cables or for removal. Insulation displacement technology is also known on the market as IDC (Insulation Displacement Connection) connectors. Without first stripping the insulation, the wire is fed between two blades which are designed to cut through the insulation of the individual cable and then create a gas-tight connection. Their special characteristics allow the blades to exert uniform contact force on the wire, thus ensuring a reliable, defined contact. This method requires that the insulation be approved for use with insulation displacement technology and that the wire be symmetrical – requirements that standard cables in industrial environments generally fulfill. If this product characteristic is not included in the plug-in connector data sheet, it is necessary to ask about it. No need to strip the insulation The biggest advantage of IDC technology is its quickness and userfriendliness. For instance, a shielded four-core sensor/actuator cable can be easily fitted with a plug-in connector in less than two minutes. The shielded cable must only be positioned in two stages – the M12-plug-in connector – it provides a reliable, economical interface for field installation insulation need not be stripped from the individual wires. Other advantages of freely configurable plug-in connectors are the individual cable lengths and the simplified storage that entails. The user can shorten the cable to the desired length on-site and attach the freely configurable plug-in connector. Standard, economical cabling The plug-and-play nature of installation on the basis of pre-assembled cables accelerates on-site commissioning. Whether plug-in connectors are to be used for quick data transmission or for signal transmission in the field, nobody needs to forgo the convenience of a simple on-site assembly. In many cases, the user has to perform individual wiring quickly. Quick-connection technologies such as insulation displacement and spring cage assembly provide a reliable, cost-effective solution. The more that is known about the requirements of an application, the more precisely the correct cables and plug-in connectors can be defined. The providers of such systems are greatly helped in their efforts to offer the right product by precise descriptions from customers. As a specialist for circular plug connectors, Phoenix Contact offers a comprehensive range for industrial automation – from M5 through to M58. The available sizes include: n M5, M8 and M12 plug connectors for field cabling n M17 and M23 plug connectors, primarily for transmission of analog and digital signals n M40 and M58 plug connectors for drive technology Photographs: Phoenix Contact GmbH & Co. KG About Phoenix Contact GmbH & Co. KG Pheonix Contact is a family owned company based in Blomberg, Germany with a turnover of 1,917 billion euros in 2015. The company has its own production sites in 10 countries, a global network of 50 sales subsidiaries and 30 local agencies, employing more than 14,000 people worldwide. It is amongst the top global players and innovators in the field of electrical engineering and automation. i AUTOMATION TECHNOLOGIES 1/2016


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