Building Secure Connections in a Changing Market

Feb. 20, 2016
Boasting a rugged, compact design, Sealcon's new line of connectors are built to provide powerful connections in a rapidly changing industry.

Connectors are no simple thing. In fields like robotics, automation, and renewable energy, connectors form a critical junction at the very heart of production. They are required to withstand the strain and pull of plant life while providing high-power, high-fidelity protection in rapidly and dramatically changing industries.

That is not an easy task.

Sealcon's latest offering €“ the M12 Power Connector €“ provides a powerful solution to the field. The M12 is designed specifically to take on these tasks by removing the unnecessary bulk of large connectors to provide high Amp/Voltage protection the rugged, compact design users need.

We recently connected with Sealcon CEO, Daniel Spuhler,  to learn a little more about the M12 and what it can do.

NED: Tell me a little about this line. What are these connectors and what are they designed to do?

Spuhler: The Sealcon M12 Power Connector manufactured by Hummel is popular in size and now available for power of up to 16 A complying with the latest IEC global norms!  This is unheard off!  

The plug & play thought opens up new applications where previously confined spaces could not accommodate larger power solutions.M12 round connectors were until now mainly used as Sensor connections for Signal in Automation Technology. Thermal environments and energy efficiency has thus far played a rather subordinate role.

The approval of connector components up to 85°C / 185°F was usually more than adequate, and currents of up to 4 A presented no real challenges either. With the expansion towards power transmission however, system requirements are changing dramatically.  With a nominal voltage of 630V and a current rating of 16 A the M12 Power Connector ('K' coding) for drive technologies is therefore suitable for use on Servo Motors. Ambient temperatures of 100°C or above are not uncommon. Plug-in systems used in power and drive environments however must be able to handle up to 125°C / 257°F.

NED: These connectors seem to be the critical junction on the plant floor. They need to provide both high quality connections and survive the strain and pull on the floor. How does your design accomplish these tasks?

Spuhler: Such connectors require ruggedness and no plastic housing can meet such requirement. A sturdy metal version like the Sealcon M12 Power circular connector is needed. They resist external mechanical wear and cope with higher degrees of torsion on often rigid and heavy cable. The footprint of a metal M12 connector is below standard specification too.

The new generation field attachable M12 Power connectors must be able to take cable up to 11 mm (.43"), not only 9 mm (.35") in diameter. Field attachable solutions are just a few more benefits a Mechanical and/or Plant Engineer will appreciate.

In addition to the electrical requirements for higher power transmissions, a logic consequence is on mechanical loads. This means higher power transmissions require larger cross-sections and larger cable. For 'S' & 'T' (screw) coding we can handle 1,5mm² wire (16 AWG) and for 'K' & 'L' (crimp) coding up to 2.5 mm² (14 AWG).

NED: What does your design offer users that other connectors do not?

Spuhler: Fast & modular assembly, metal based field attachable M12 solution, over mold options, high temperature solution, increased cable and wire gauges, etc.

New materials to meet higher thermoelectric claims and still able to meet a compact and common M12 footprint. For the contact carrier a thermally resistant and dimensionally stable material, whereas for the contacts (pins & sockets) high current-carrying capacity, strength, small form factor, aging behavior, contact resistance, workability or formability related to each other was developed.

All of the above criteria allowed successful long-term testing positively affecting the derating behavior described in accordance with DIN EN60512, the current-temperature behavior of the plug-in system.

NED: The markets these connectors are targeting (robotics, automation, sensors, renewable energy, etc) are changing fast. Is your product line flexible enough to change with it? How will you do it?

Spuhler: The Sealcon M12 Metal Power Connector manufactured by Hummel is a modular and sturdy design. The prescribed PE (ground) protective conductor connection to the connector shell is already implemented so that any safety risks are excluded and therefore eliminating further cost factors.

Each Connector can accommodate shielded cable (EMI), if needed. Connectors come with proven Hummel Strain Relief as seen in many industrial applications today. A plug-in system allowing protection in accordance with DIN EN60529 IP67, or IP69K.  For applications in rugged environments a 316L Stainless Steel solution is available as well.

This new Sealcon M12 Power solution manufactured by Hummel may be ideal in devices like; Electro-Heating, Residential & Commercial Lighting, Robotics, Servo Drives, Electric Blinds, etc. where more power (up to 16 A), high temp (125°C / 257°F), sturdiness and modularity (field attachable) are appreciated.