Robust solution for frequent mating and demating | Automation.com

Robust solution for frequent mating and demating

Robust solution for frequent mating and demating

By Heinz-Günther Spreen, Harting

In industrial production, highly automated large scale production is more and more frequently being replaced by more flexible manufacturing technology. This is due to strongly individualized products. The automotive industry is an excellent example of this. Ten years ago, automakers were still able to cover the market with four to six models, but today they offer ten or more models in order to satisfy their customers’ wishes for products tailored especially to their needs.

Due to this product differentiation the requirements for flexibility in manufacturing have increased. The consequences can again be seen especially clearly in the automotive industry. In the past a new model meant that the complete production line had to be replaced with a new one, but now the existing lines are modified to suit the new model.

The trend towards increased flexibility is seen in industrial production in general, however, and not only in automobile manufacturing. The challenges almost everywhere are:
- Larger product ranges
- Smaller production lots
- Shorter throughput times

High number of mating cycles in Industry 4.0
The answer to these challenges is a highly flexible (high volume) production that, for quite some time, has been established under the name Industry 4.0. It draws on the means of automation, the possibilities of self-configuration, self-optimization and self-diagnoses all the way through to more complex, intelligent automation systems. In order to satisfy the growing demands for flexibility, the manufacturing plants and machines are becoming more and more modular.

For machines and systems this flexibility means an increase in the number of modification procedures and tooling changes, some of which take place automatically. As a result, the electrical interfaces in these systems must also be more frequently mated and demated without showing signs of wear. Automatic docking systems that establish the electrical and mechanical connections are increasingly being used in the changeover systems.

The same requirements for the connectors can be found in measurement and testing technology. Here each test procedure involves a mating and demating, and this frequently takes place several times a day. This is why this segment particularly demands reliable connector solutions. Mobile machines and devices are further typical applications in which the electrical connections may have to be mated and then demated again each day. In addition to industrial production, medical technology is also a typical application field for such mobile devices.

In order to enable the mating and demating of such devices, machines and systems reliably over a long period of time, they must feature durable, flexible and robust interfaces. The power, data and signal transfers must remain safe and reliable in spite of frequent mating and demating.

HARTING has developed the new Han HMC connector series to satisfy these requirements.

Just like the other Han industrial connectors, it impresses with:
- Robustness
- Reliability
- Longevity
- Simple handling
- Flexibility

The series is certified for applications with more than 10,000 mating cycles. This means: Han HMC connectors continue to fulfill the strict requirements of DIN EN 61984 even after 10,000 mating cycles. HARTING has achieved this longevity by consistently enhancing its proven standard industrial connectors. For example, by using a high performance contact spring it was possible to make four different Han series suitable for applications with a large number of mating cycles. Contacts were also developed that are extremely resistant to abrasion thanks to a special gold surface. These contacts are also at work in eight modules in the Han-Modular series, rounding out the HARTING program for a large number of mating cycles.

Locking optimized
In harsh industrial environments, but not only there, robust housings are called for to protect the connections. The locking system in the Han HMC was optimized to allow it to stand up to 10,000 closing cycles. And the housings are also qualified for more than 10,000 mating cycles and always close reliably in compliance with the high IP65 protection class. The proven Han docking frames even make it possible to implement automatic docking systems for a large number of mating cycles.

Thus, HARTING is presenting a comprehensive program offering many options for applications with a large number of mating cycles. A special feature here is certainly the fact that both the connectors and the housings are qualified for a large number of mating or locking cycles. The connections remain reliable even under the harshest environmental conditions with frequent mating and demating.

Users can replace the standard connectors that they currently employ with Han HMC solutions without having to introduce any design changes. This is possible because only standard dimensions and components are involved. There are fundamentally no changes for users other than the fact that the Han HMC connector is more durable.

The advantages in detail:
- Use of known and proven components
- Same handling and same processing as with standard connectors
- Unchanged mounting dimensions
- All existing crimp, assembly and removal tools can still be utilized.

In brief: HARTING’s new Han HMC connector series offers a simple, robust and application-oriented solution for devices, machines and systems that require connections for more than 10,000 mating cycles. The series particularly targets applications in the industrial environment and in medical technology.

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