Bulky Cables Have Their Place in Smart Factories

Ethernet cable has undergone a robust change recently due to increased smart factory automation. The standard variety LAN ethernet cables have been adjusted to fit in automation environments because it is a prime conductor of data signals especially with the increase of IoT. Along with further developments in categories of office/home data speeds, a new transformation occurred in jacketing and cable connectors, therefore, becoming industrial ethernet. Industrial ethernet cabling has been utilized with numerous connectors also known as industrial ethernet cable sets that can potentially prevent troubleshooting issues from occurring due to the many configurations and sizes available.

The typical smart factory environment is a harsh atmosphere with factors including petroleum products such as oil or solvents, corrosive chemicals, temperatures and even movements of these cables are a fact of daily life on the factory floor. And the harshness doesn’t stop at the wiring it also includes the connectors. Imagine using the basic RJ45 connectors that resemble large modular phone jacks around harsh environments! Being in this type of environment would deteriorate the plastic prong that secures the connector from pulling outwards. For uses in IT, overexposure to UV light or simply age of the connector prong can break off when a new computer is installed or when equipment is moved. Even worse is when the prong cracks off entirely or loses its tension and the LAN cable becomes disconnected from the computer or other office equipment. It’s troubleshooting time!

With the ever-increasing advancement in automation, robust cables and connectors then became the solution for any troubleshooting issues. Advancements in secure locking features in cable connectors were designed which can be made of stronger plastic material and even metal to strengthen the connectors. These connector types are then more resistant to the most well-known hazard around electrical equipment – liquids!

M12 connectors are a frequent option and available in 8-poles to accommodate a 4-pair cable. Additionally, M12 is available in 4-poles which can be dedicated to the power supply. This will help prevent miswiring network equipment and damaging voltages to the power supply.

To help prevent connector damage from water, dust or impacts from having exposed pins, we suggest using these special connector caps. Many of these designs are water-proof or dust-proof. Replacement caps become necessary when seals crack or go missing. Damaged electrical connectors often don’t conduct current and weak signals can cause slowdowns due to missed communications.           

The automation environment is also harsh on the jackets of cables. Thicker jackets and better material selection is needed to guard against the brutal effects of machinery such as the lubricants released into the air, chemicals used in production, vibrations that occur which can wear insulation, and even the effects of time itself on minimally constructed cables.

As a large supplier of many wiring and cable products, MISUMI offers customizable RJ45 Industrial Ethernet cable assemblies in high-speed categories including CAT 6A, as well as shielding options to meet your factory automation cable needs.

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