Connectivity drives flexible manufacturing solutions
Posted to News on 21st Dec 2023, 11:00

Connectivity drives flexible manufacturing solutions

Plug and play connectorisation makes flexible manufacturing possible as machines can be disconnected and reconnected quickly, without the need for skilled labour and with no risk of miswiring. The experts at HARTING explain.

Connectivity drives flexible manufacturing solutions

Research carried out by the World Economic Forum in 2020 found that companies with a highly flexible and technologically advanced risk-averse model were able to maintain their operations much more effectively and were more resilient to uncertain conditions.

The characteristics of a risk-competitive model include responding and adapting to changing customer needs, investment in advanced manufacturing technologies and the ability to offer reliable and local support via strategic relationships and collaboration with partners.

Using connectivity from the right connectivity partner can help companies make the shift to flexible manufacturing, a more risk-averse operating model which ensures they are better prepared for the future.

In the past, a manufacturing floor was static, meaning lines remained relatively fixed with upgrades occurring every few years. Machines were placed with the intention that they would perform the same tasks for the duration of their useful life. Now, manufacturing floors need to be rearranged frequently to customise products to customer-specific needs. With the addition of cobots and modular machinery, floors can be reorganised quickly to manufacture entirely different products.

When manufacturing plants were static, connections for bringing power, signal and data could be hardwired. This meant all connections going in and out of the machine were permanently fixed to terminal blocks. Although this method was cheaper, there were drawbacks; installation or disassembly had to be done by a skilled electrician, which was time and cost intensive, and hardwiring errors were costly and to repair and resulted in long machine downtimes.

On the other hand, plug and play' connectorisation makes flexible manufacturing possible as machines can be disconnected and reconnected quickly, without the need for skilled labour and with no risk of miswiring. Manufacturers no longer need to spend an entire day disconnecting a machine now that plug and play solutions exist. Connectorisation, simply put, is the backbone of a successful risk-competitive structure.

As a leading supplier of connectivity technology, HARTING strives to deliver cutting edge technological developments to make innovations such as flexible production and miniaturised products possible.

For example, the Han 1A has been designed to be versatile and take up less installation space. By using a modular system of inserts, it can integrate contacts for the delivery of data, signals and power, an economical design based on fewer components which greatly simplifies material supply.

Modules for Cat. 5 or Cat. 6A are available for data transmission, while a shielded variant can be employed in areas that are particularly susceptible to interference. Additionally, only two components are required to quickly assemble an IP20 solution, while additional housing elements or single wire seals can be used to enhance ingress protection to IP65.

As referenced above, the Han 1A's plug and play' design allows the connector to be assembled in seconds without using any specialist tools. Rapid onsite installations are made possible using screw contacts, as well as the pre-assembly of separate units with crimp contacts.

For the ultimate in versatility, HARTING has the Han-Modular series. This range allows you to design connectors to supply machinery and equipment by combining individual modules for different transmission media, such as signals, data, power and compressed air, in standard-sized industrial connector housings.

You can even design your own customised industrial connectors using the new and improved Han Configurator, an online 3D tool which allows you to build a bespoke connector using the vast Han-Modular portfolio. Once done, you can easily download all technical data (including STP files) and quickly save and share your configuration within a team, an ideal solution if you're working remotely or in a different location from your colleagues.


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