Determining the connector you should incorporate into your industrial design or upgrade is simply a matter of evaluating your application needs and your environment. Start by asking yourself, “What type of transmission do I need?” and “What are my environmental conditions?”
Are your connection points needed for power, communication, signaling, or a combination? This is your first variable. What is your transmission requirement? Once you have identified this requirement, you must also determine the number of contact points needed, the current (amperage) requirements of the application, and the space constraints, if any. And, if using a heavy duty rectangular connector, you also need to determine the method in which you would like to terminate your wires to the contact pins (spring, clamp or screw.) For many power (under 15amps), signaling, and communication applications requiring less than 20 contact points, an over-molded circular connector offers a durable, economical and reliable solution. Connector solutions requiring higher current carrying capacity or a greater pin count can often be found with a heavy duty rectangular connector.
When the application calls for communication via an industrial protocol, specific network cordsets can be utilized. Whether using DeviceNet, Profibus, Industrial Ethernet, Foundation Fieldbus, or one of many other protocols, each has its own connector design and often a specialized wiring code.
The application environment is also very important in determining what connector you might choose. This factor will dictate what cable jacket should be used when considering a molded cordset. If the application is such that the cable needs to be protected from weld slag, TPE might be the best choice. If lubricants and coolants are prevalent, PUR would work. An application with continuous movement may require a cable with a high flex rating. Most standard applications can be addressed with a simple PVC jacketed cable. Selecting the correct cordset for your environment in the beginning can save money and time in the long run.
Utilizing high-quality over molded cordsets, and the proper mating receptacles, an IP67 rating can be achieved to accommodate various industrial environments. IP67 indicates that a connector is protected from dust and will withstand being immersed in water for a limited amount of time. This rating is sufficient for the majority of industrial applications.
For wiring machines and system controls, legacy standards such as the MIN family of circular connectors still prevail as do the hard-to-match rectangular connectors. After evaluating power needs and environment your choices are usually clear. When we include network configurations, the options expand to include bus networks and Ethernet. Micro-connectors for each of these formats are easy to find. But keep in mind that all connectors are not equal. Quality of components leads to reliability and at the end-of-the-day; your systems are only connected well when they’re running.