Ethernet is the undisputed dominant communication standard and is penetrating ever more areas of our lives globally. The classic, globally popular RJ45 connector is synonymous with Ethernet connections.
The RJ45 is low-priced and is familiar to everyone. But advances in the area of miniaturisation mean it has now become simply too large for many applications. A logical step would be a smaller yet more robust solution. The HARTING ix_Industrial represents a clear recognition of the miniaturisation trend and sets a new standard for IP20 Ethernet connections. Ethernet is penetrating ever more areas of our lives, and in future will push its way into the furthest reaches of an enterprise. This path leads away from the co-existence of Ethernet and bus systems for data and sensor technology towards an integrated system extending from the Cloud to the remotest corners of industrial production. In addition to standardised protocols, this also includes the appropriate infrastructure, which needs to downsize in response to ever-smaller devices and sensor/actuator systems. The demands made on the neural pathways and synapses of the industry of tomorrow are clear: both device interfaces as well as system cables must become smaller, more powerful, while a at the same time more robust.
THE SITUATION TO DATE?
Till now, the RJ45 connector has been the epitome of the Ethernet interface in the IP20 environment. Certainly the world’s most widely used connector, the RJ45 is ubiquitous and consequently loved so much by users. Given the lack of robustness, which can take the form of a broken locking lever or occasional contact problems, however, many users have more of a love-hate relationship with the RJ45. In the face of ever-smaller devices such as flat mobile devices, displays, small automation devices and sensors, the RJ45’s size limits the potentials for miniaturisation. Consequently, a smaller and more rugged connector is on the wish list of many users and developers, one which can also offer Cat.6A performance for 1/10Gbit/s Ethernet at the control level.
THE SITUATION GOING FORWARD?
With the HARTING ix Industrial, HARTING is presenting an integrated system which meets all of these requirements. A jack size slashed by 70% compared to the RJ45 enables device manufacturers to deploy the ix Industrial in much smaller devices which can then more easily meet the needs for miniaturisation. For device integration, a small yet robust jack with five THR shield contacts is available for maximum stability on the PCB. No big changes in design and assembly are required on the part of the device manufacturer. The socket with its five hold-downs can be soldered in a reflow soldering oven together with all other circuit board components. Only the holes for through-hole mounting must be given consideration on the circuit board. In this way, the new ix Industrial system can be added into existing infrastructure without major adjustments. HARTING has endowed the next evolutionary step HARTING ix Industrial with everything its predecessor is missing.
With respect to device wiring, users can avail themselves of flexible thin system cables with a tight bending radius, which can be assembled with the ix’s mating face on both ends or mixed with the ix and the RJ45 connector on opposite ends. This enables a gradual adaptation of individual elements in the control level without the need to directly acquire all systems anew. A perfectly functioning system composed of a socket and connector guarantees a reliable process solution from a single source.