Getting the best out of automation connectivity

22nd February 2017
Joe Bush

To meet the growing demands of industrial control networks and motion control/drive systems, ERNI has expanded its connector product offering.

Modern industrial automation networks utilising programmable logic/automation controllers (PLCs/PACs), distributed control systems (DCSs), and motion control and drive systems need to handle more data traffic at increased speeds, and often in demanding environments with confined spaces. Connectors offering 1.27mm pitch or less are becoming more common, while open pinfield interfaces offer the user maximum design flexibility for low speed and higher speed differential data.

High density connectors like ERNI’s miniature MicroSpeed connector system, the high performance SMC Series, and the newest MicroCon family of connectors deliver the signal density, electrical performance and mechanical dependability in smaller package sizes that help optimise today's industrial automation systems.

The miniature MicroSpeed SMT modular connector system has a 1mm pitch and supports high speed data applications up to 25Gbps. The shielded connectors are well suited for existing and next generation communication protocols. Board-to-board stack heights between 5mm and 20mm can be achieved at effectively any desired height (due to a long 1.5mm contact wipe length). Low inductance shielding effectiveness enables noise sensitive designs to be realised without adding costly shields within the enclosure. Featuring a flexible open pinfield design, the MicroSpeed offers several different signal-pair layouts for differential data transmission when required.

The SMC line features a number of different pin counts, heights and configurations in a 1.27mm grid to meet a variety of application requirements. Offering secure data transmission rates up to 3Gbps and current carrying capacity of 1.7A per contact, the compact SMC is well suited for applications with limited space. Like MicroSpeed, the SMC family also offers a dual-beam mating interface and long contact wipe length for rugged and proven reliability on the factory floor.

The ERNI MicroCon 0.8mm pitch product family is the newest release and is designed based on the contacts in both MicroSpeed and SMC, but further enhanced by offering this two-sided female contact (dual beam) in a dense 0.8mm [.031"] pitch offering. Vertical solutions for board-to-board stacking and new extensions for perpendicular applications (midplane/backplane) will make this new product family well suited for board space saving applications in a reliable/rugged interface.

“Automation processes are in a state of continual upgrade, with the hardware designer challenged with adding more intelligence and connectivity. PLCs solve increasingly complex tasks and exchange information at increased data rates in the factory environment. Similar to requirements in the more traditional data networking space in recent past,” said Sam Hines, Product Marketing Engineer at ERNI Electronics US. “ERNI’s experience and history in telecom/datacom have been successfully transferred to industrial board-to-board and wire-to-board solutions over the past ten to 15 years. Even in challenging industrial environments, our solutions ensure reliable connectivity in factory automation and in support of PLCs, DCSs and Remote I/O solutions.”

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