by Howard Forryan of Harting
Manufacturers are now investigating how they can best apply Industry 4.0 digitalisation processes to existing production plant environments in order to improve productivity levels and reduce costs. A direct consequence of this approach includes implementing a more modular approach to production platforms. This can involve either the application of new modular machines into a production line or the retrofitting of existing installed equipment to support a more modular and decentralised interconnected control system solution.
This strategy can now be followed for some of the harshest environmental plant conditions, such as those where equipment might be sited in areas with high operating temperatures. In the past, limitations in the operating performance of a connector have often meant that equipment has had to be hard-wired in such situations. However, HARTING’s new Han® High Temp range of connectors now supports the flexibility of applied connectorisation in such conditions. As a result, reduced wiring complexity means that such an installation can be optimised and maintenance costs reduced.
Typical end-user applications include support for modular production cells within metal production foundries and rolling mills, including integrated electrical heating control feeds to die-cast tools and electric furnaces which may be applied in various high-temperature material processing areas. In addition, they can significantly extend the service maintenance intervals of integrated removable mould tools within modularly designed plastics injection moulding machines for the latest high-temperature materials, resulting in reduced line downtime.
Similarly, opportunities may be found in tyre manufacturing and chemical processing plant environments.
HARTING has used its considerable technical expertise to develop special connectors for providing reliable solutions for such high-temperature environments.
For example, bulkhead-side connector seals must not melt or adhere to other integrated component parts over the full operating temperature range. Consequently, HARTING has opted for a non-stick coated high-temperature-resistant rubber version, which avoids bonding between the hood and housing even if they are left mated for a number of years.
Many of the hood and housing coatings and lacquers available on the market are not suitable for long-term use at high temperatures as they can cause melting which can, in turn, lead to mated parts sticking together. Thanks to the application of a special surface treatment of the aluminium die-cast hoods and housings, HARTING has been able to dispense with any potentially detrimental additional protective coating finish.
The insulating body and contacts must both withstand the high ambient conditions of the location and the additional heat generated inside the housing when under mated load. HARTING has selected high-temperature-resistant copper alloy contacts that maintain constant electrical properties when heated. In addition, high-temperature LCP plastic insulators ensure long service life.
As a result of the above mentioned features, HARTING’s Han® High Temp connectors are able to permanently withstand operating ambient conditions of +200°C, provide extended operating lifetimes and ensure reduced line downtime compared to competitor solutions.
The HARTING Group develops, manufactures and distributes electrical and electronic connectors, network components, pre-assembled system cables, and backplane assemblies. These products are capable of withstanding the harshest demands in industrial environments and provide high data rates for electronic applications.
HARTING connectors and network components are used in mechanical engineering and plant manufacturing, in automation systems, energy generation and distribution, and in electronic and telecommunication markets. Industrial connectors are also vital in construction machinery, rail vehicles and shipbuilding. HARTING offers Ethernet network components and cable systems for both indoor and outdoor networking applications involving power and data.
HARTING today employs a workforce of nearly 4200 in 43 countries. For further information visit www.HARTING.co.uk