When COVID-19 shut down Hannover Messe, connector companies took advantage of digital platforms to introduce the industry to their latest industrial innovations.
COVID-10 may have cancelled HANNOVER MESSE 2020, but the show goes on as companies with heavy-duty and harsh-environment connectors employ creative ways to get the word out. Industrial technologies are in a pivotal point of development as Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things architectures become entwined with manufacturing, infrastructure, building systems, oil and gas exploration, agriculture, vehicles, and other harsh environments. As robotics, automation, and connected technologies increase in industrial environments, rugged electronic components that can facilitate the dependable transfer of power and data in rough operating conditions are seeing new demand. Innovation in these product categories will enable designers to create tomorrow’s technologies.
The most significant recent innovation in the industrial technology world is single-pair Ethernet (SPE), the standard approved in November 2019 that is now known as IEEE 802.3cg-2019. This connector uses only two twisted copper wires to transmit power and data at speeds of up to 1Gb/s over lengths up to 1,000 meters, and it also features a small footprint, which helps makes SPE an affordable, lightweight solution. Several connector companies have been integral to the development of this standard and many of them expected to showcase their new SPE products at Hannover Fair.
HARTING, the company that initially developed the SPE interface, launched an Industrial Ethernet Trends webinar series that continues through July 2020 and offers access to both live and on-demand presentations. Topics include SPE, the future of RJ45 connectors, system designs for cloud computing and IoT architectures, and the HARTING ix Industrial connector, which addresses the need for miniaturization in industrial applications. HARTING has also launched the Knowledge Center app, which contains all of the company’s educational product, market, and application materials.
JAE intended to show a large assortment of products at Hannover, including motion sensor solutions and connectors for telecom and infrastructure, automobiles, power distribution, and factory automation equipment. The company recently extended its DZ02 Series with the addition of a new plug harness designed to address worker safety issues in industrial environments. This compact interface connector helps ensure the safety of operators that may be too close to robotics or automated equipment in busy manufacturing environments.
Phoenix Contact created a digital event called Dialog Days to replace the company’s Hannover Fair booth. The live event ran from April 27 to May 8 and featured videos of expert round tables, interviews, and lectures — all of which are now available on-demand. Frank Stührenberg, CEO of Phoenix Contact said, “The customer response was overwhelming. We received a lot of feedback, which was enthusiastic about the format. And the global player Bosch used the Phoenix Contact Dialog Days as a benchmark. The event has thus become the standard in the industry. We have created a truly innovative format here. My special thanks go to the employees who have actively supported this.”
Rosenberger planned to showcase its new SPE connector systems for industrial applications at Hannover. Instead, they published a series of videos detailing their many features and benefits. As a member of the SPE System Alliance, the company supported the development of new IEEE Automotive Ethernet — 100BASE-T1 (100Mb/s based on BroadR-Reach technology) and 1000BASE-T1 (1Gb/s) — and developed high-performance SPE connectors for the automotive market. Limit values for the connectors and cables and the associated measurement methods were defined from the demands on the overall channel.
Samtec also planned to introduce new products for industrial applications. Jan Hrouda, director of industrial sales, said, “The industrial sector is a key market for Samtec. We’ve recently introduced several products targeted to industrial, robotics, and equipment OEMs. One of them is mPower, our line of micro power interconnects. Here’s a brief video that explains the benefits of the product line. Another is a micro-pitch extension of our popular Mini Mate line of discrete wire cable assemblies and connectors. This video shows our line of rugged cable systems, which are used extensively in the industrial market.”
Weidmüeller, part of the SPE System Alliance, had planned to showcase an SPE connector and a new IIoT terminal with several digital and analogue I/O ports. The input ports allow monitoring solutions to monitor four digital signals simultaneously and two voltage or current measurements and up to four temperature measurements can be carried out in parallel. In addition, wo ports are electrically isolated, enabling AC voltage applications. During commissioning, the IoT terminal automatically reports to the cloud and is ready to transfer data.
Hannover Messe 2021 is scheduled to take place in Hannover, Germany, on April 12–16. Until we can visit in person, the digital space will keep us informed.