In Industry 4.0, IT systems from building and office networks merge with industrial networks. This significantly changes communication across companies.
Data, the most valuable asset of industrial digitisation, must be transferred reliably and at the right time between all components of the data network. Higher temperatures, an oily environment or electromagnetic interference place special demands on the design of the data cables. Moving machine parts or applications in robots subject the cable to additional mechanical stress due to torsion or bending. To guarantee a long service life in these applications, it is necessary to have the right solution for industrial communication.
As one of the world’s leading providers of connection solutions, we at LAPP understand our customers’ challenges very well. Our products are perfectly suited to industrial applications and offer you solutions for connecting all components of your data network, whether it’s a robot arm or your office notebook.
The main control cabinet is the central control unit for the entire system. It connects both the office level and the individual machine control cabinets.
On the one hand, the conditions inside the main control cabinet are well controlled without temperature, chemical or mechanical stress. On the other hand, high requirements for data speed and reliability collide with EMC incidents.
All of the aforementioned requirements were taken into account when selecting the product for this application.
There are various applications for Ethernet communication in the machine. In most cases, this involves communication between the machine control and sensors/actuators in the machine.
The products used in the machine must be suitable for the machine environment. We have all kinds of applications, including fixed/flexible/highly flexible, protected/unprotected, from Cat.5 to Cat.7A, based on PROFINET/ETHERCAT/ETHERNET IP. Also connectors with different protection classes (IP20 – IP68) to withstand oily environments or frequent cleaning, especially in the food industry.
Each application within the machine may have different requirements for the cable type. All must be taken into account in order to guarantee uninterrupted data transmission and a long service life of the connection.
Control Cabinet to the Control Cabinet
In standard factory production, different machine control cabinets and machines are connected via the main cabinet or to one another, depending on the topology used. Reliable Ethernet communication between these units ensures that the entire production line functions flawlessly. A possible breakdown of a line can bring the entire production to a standstill. Tray or industrial Ethernet cables are used for the connection. They are assembled with field-mountable RJ45 connectors and connected to managed or unmanaged switches.
Ethernet cables used for this application must be suitable for cable carrier installation (e.g. flame-retardant, halogen-free, CPR-classified, UL-approved cable carrier) or be installed in production areas with possible requirements for temperature, chemical, mechanical or EMC resistance.
Robot applications are being used more and more frequently in modern industrial factories. Industrial robots ensure high speed, reliability, quality and ultimately contribute to the competitiveness of their final product. This application has very specific requirements for Ethernet cables and cable accessories.
Ethernet cables ensure data transmission between sensors, cameras and servomotors. There are particularly high requirements for data speed if, for example, the process is visually checked using cameras with high resolution and high frame rates. The Ethernet connection between the robot parts begins in a control cabinet. The data cables are often laid next to the servomotor cables, which is why it is important to pay attention to EMC.
Due to the various movements of robot parts, the cable can be subjected to high-frequency bending and torsional movements combined with chemical and mechanical loads. Even under these conditions, the cable must guarantee a reliable data connection. Even small data losses during movement can cause latency and lead to production downtime or, in the worst-case scenario, even endanger human life.
The specially developed robotics Ethernet cables from LAPP are ideally suited to these applications.
Linear, horizontal or vertical movements are often present in industrial applications. A typical application is that Ethernet cables are installed in a cable chain together with other cables and hoses. The cable must be able to withstand frequent bending, acceleration and physical contact with other parts in the cable chain.
Ethernet cables for such applications must have certain properties, such as a small bending radius, a high number of bending cycles, acceleration and abrasion resistance. Due to the limited space inside the cable chain, EMC can be another important property. Particularly for higher bit rate classes Cat. 6a or higher, frequent bending can present a major challenge for the cable design.
Building or Offices
The building or office network connects computers, servers and systems with one another and with the Internet. Ethernet cables and Ethernet patch cables used in these applications often need to be halogen-free, flame-retardant and CPR-certified so that they do not pose a risk to human life in the event of a fire in the building. For the connection between the buildings, glass fibre cables ensure data transmission at the highest speed.
Production processes in linked systems are often arranged in a linear manner. This is also known as bus cabling or daisy chain. This means that different components are connected in series. The first component is usually the control in the control cabinet, from which the Ethernet cable is routed to the decentralised I/O systems and the sensors and actuators along the system.
Ethernet cables and cable accessories for this application must meet certain requirements where they are used. They can be installed in both protected and unprotected areas. They may need to be resistant to cleaning agents in food processing, different types of oils in metal processing or high or low temperatures.
LAPP has a broad portfolio of Ethernet cables and accessories for all kinds of industrial applications. Our experts are ready to advise you on the right product selection.