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Specifying Reliable Interconnect Solutions for IIoT and Industry 4.0 Applications, samples available from Anglia.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) enables a high level of automation within manufacturing and processing facilities. It helps companies achieve real progress to improve efficiency, productivity, and output quality. This is the heart of Industry 4.0. Real-time data and analytics direct from machinery and processes enables production planning and maintenance work to be accurately predicted, scheduled and executed. Outside the production arena, assets within the supply chain can be tracked, preventing loss or theft.

Analysts are predicting considerable expansion in the global IIoT market. Tens of billions of nodes in a multitude of applications will be deployed.

Various reports predict that the global IIoT market will continue to grow at high rates, from 8% to 25% yearly. The total market value could exceed $1 trillion USD before the end of the decade.

IIoT nodes can be situated in remote or inaccessible locations, which has major implications for maintenance or upgrade. Servicing and repairing hardware may be difficult (or almost impossible). Even within an enclosed, stable factory setting, downtime is undesirable and unacceptable. The reliability of node components is vitally important in these applications.

Free Samples and Evaluation Board   
Key Features
  • Current rating (per contact): 1.2A max (0.5A max for cable)
  • Vertical and Horizontal options in both male and female
  • Variable stacking height options from 8mm to 20mm
  • Ready-made cable assemblies available
  • Enhanced durability of 500 mating cycles minimum
  • Increased ruggedness offered by additional strain relief with retaining SMD tabs
  • Fully shrouded and polarized
  • Up to 3Gbits/s data rate
  • Maximum Voltage: 500V AC
  • Insulation Resistance: 1000MΩ min
  • Vibration: 20G for 12 hours
  • Operating Temperature (PCB/Cable): -55°C to +125°C / -20°C to +105°C
  • Number of Contacts: Up to 80 per connector


Wired vs. Wireless in IIoT

Although the Internet of Things (IoT) and its industrial relative are mostly considered to be a wireless application, nodes and associated control & monitoring equipment can contain a lot of electronic sub-systems. Within each sub-system may be more than one PCB, or interfaces to the surrounding enclosure for direct plug-in diagnostics. Linking these boards and interfaces requires internal connectors.

With wireless devices containing wired connections, it is important that each component within these wired systems can withstand the environmental factors involved.

Variations in Temperature

IIoT devices can be deployed where they will be exposed to extremes in temperature, and they must maintain normal operation in these locations. For instance, inside petrochemical plants or steelworks, sustained high levels of heat are very common. Smart farming applications and pipeline monitoring can experience higher ambient temperatures during the day and freezing conditions through the night.

Consideration must be given to connector options with wider operational temperature ranges – two different specifications will assist with selection.

  • Thermal shock to EIA-364-32C Condition III (or similar). The temperatures for this specific test criteria range from -55°C to +125°C. The procedure involves 10 cycles between the two temperatures, with 30 minutes dwell time at each extreme.
  • Temperature Life EIA-364-17B Method A exposes components to 125°C for a 96-hour period.

Vibration and Shock

More important in the industrial context than in commercial IoT is the resistance to vibrational forces. The node may be mounted on, or close to, industrial drives and other heavy machinery – making exposure to vibration unavoidable.

Vibrations can cause momentary separation between contact mating faces of the connector – and this electrical discontinuity may result in loss of data or control. Successful testing to EIA-364-28D Condition IV gives confidence in vibration resistance.

  • Mated connectors must not show signs of any electrical discontinuity over a 12-hour testing period
  • The vibration amplitude of 1.52mm is applied at frequencies cycling from 10Hz to 2000Hz
  • Connections are subject to 196m/s² acceleration, equivalent to 20G

One future development might see IIoT nodes being powered by these vibrations – energy harvesting technology will convert the vibration into electricity, enough to run the smaller low power node modules.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Locating IIoT nodes in remote outdoor sites without human supervision puts them at greater risk of any damage being undetected. Vandalism or industrial sabotage, long-term or unexpected environment impacts are all possible causes for sudden failure. It could even be general wear and tear or accidental damage from a scheduled maintenance cycle.

Whatever the cause, rugged construction is essential to help prevent these stresses causing a loss of operation. Though the majority of IIoT nodes stay in the same place, others are in motion: robots, industrial drones, and automated guided vehicles (AGVs) for instance. Some products may also be subject to higher levels of maintenance or upgrade.

Connectors in these applications may require additional attributes to endure higher rates of disconnection and reconnection. This could be for updating firmware, diagnostic analysis, downloading captured data, or charging. In these instance the following design features should be carefully considered:

  • Elevated levels of mating cycle durability.
  • A shrouded housing design that protects the contacts from being damaged while un-mated and helps guide the connectors together during mating.
  • Polarization to prevent mis-mating.

Commercial Viability

The industrial sector is subject to the requirements of cost sensitivity, like many other sectors. Connectors used in IIoT hardware need to find the right balance of reasonable durability (considering the points listed so far), but still be cost-effective. Volume requirements can help – networks can consist of thousands (sometimes hundreds of thousands) of nodes, but modular designs and using the same connector in more areas of the design will contribute to economies of scale.

Archer Kontrol - An Optimized Solution

The Archer Kontrol connector series is well suited to many uses within IIoT equipment, the high-density 1.27mm pitch connectors offer excellent durability, reliability and cost effectiveness which are all attractive qualities for this market. These board and cable connectors include the essential attributes for challenging industrial environments:

  • Data transfer rates reach 3Gbps, suitable for the latest industrial automation systems.
  • Parallel, edge-to-edge and space-saving right-angle for board-to-board.
  • Complete ribbon cable assemblies for convenience and time-savings.
  • 3-finger female contacts maintain connection under uncompromising circumstances.
  • Fully shrouded and polarized housings to prevent damage and avoid mis-mating.

Don’t just take our word for it, click below to hear what Harwin's Interconnect Guru has to say about the Archer Kontrol series of connectors

Archer Kontrol connectors are ideally suited to applications including Industrial Factory equipment, production line controls, drives and controls systems, IoT and IIoT nodes, portable monitoring equipment, data acquisition instruments, monitoring and control equipment, mobile maintenance and display control systems, trackside and roadside monitoring.

Archer Kontrol connector key features and datasheets can be found in the panel top right on this page.

Click here to view the Archer Kontrol range and buy from Anglia Live

When selecting reliable and dependable connections for IIoT equipment modules, many key factors need to be considered. Make sure that electrical load and environmental factors are determined and documented, before searching for the right interconnect solution. Choose a quality product to ensure this performance is maintained over the life of the machinery, to achieve prolonged trouble-free operation.

Article based on original content reproduced with kind permission of Wendy Jane Preston, Senior Technical Sales Engineer at Harwin

Anglia are offering customers FREE samples of the Archer Kontrol series connectors from Harwin, please fill in the form below to register your interest now.

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