Belden has been working with its partner for industrial connectivity, Weidmüller, to jointly develop a modular infrastructure box for the connection of production modules. This standardised interface, which was presented for the first time in a pilot production line for the smart factory technology initiative at this year's Hanover trade fair, represents an essential prerequisite for the cross-location collection of production information in the IoT, according to the Industry 4.0 requirement profile.
Flexibly integrated, the plug-and-play infrastructure box is compatible with any manufacturer's production module within smart factory, and provides maximum transparency, functional reliability and data security, as well as optimal protection of personnel and machinery. It facilitates fast data communication, used to transmit control commands and status information as well as other types of data, and a reliable power supply for efficient production processes with the smallest of batch sizes, all without necessitating additional work or increased throughput times.
The solution from Belden and Weidmüller, which is available with the highest protection ratings ranging from IP54 to IP69K, and even in a version suitable for use in potentially explosive atmospheres, meets these requirements. It comprises the Connected Security module from Belden brand Hirschmann, which ensures high-availability data communication between process and control systems and actuator/sensor systems, and components for integrated energy measurement from Weidmüller.
The infrastructure box, developed by both partners, is an innovative solution that facilitates standardised cabling for production module data communication and power supply, and therefore supports the safety and security of these production systems. The infrastructure box can be used in ring, bus, and star topologies and in standalone operation, as necessitated by efficiency, availability, and safety requirements. It also allows for a centralised power supply through decentralised sources. The modular design of the infrastructure box provides optimal flexibility. For example, the number of inputs and outputs can be customised and even changed at a later instance if desired.
"The infrastructure box creates a sort of lifeline, through which each production module is supplied with everything it requires in terms of infrastructure," commented Dr. John Herold, Vice President, Industrial Marketing, Belden. "The requirements for corresponding solutions include fast data transmission, reliable energy supply and flexible yet secure integration."