How Connectors are Powering the Revolution of Industrial Processes
The industrial shifts of centuries past focused on speeding up production and making processes more efficient. Industry 4.0 is here to connect processes, information, and people.
This is why power, data, and signal connectors play such a fundamental role in realising the potential of Industry 4.0 across a wide range of sectors.
Here’s a summary of what exactly Industry 4.0 is, and how new electrical connector designs make them key components in this evolving infrastructure.
What is Industry 4.0?
The first industrial revolution occurred in the 1700s with the development of coal power and machine production, followed by the second industrial revolution in the 1800s with more uses for gas and oil and the discovery of electricity.
The third industrial revolution came in the 1900s, with the advance of electronics and nuclear power. Now, the fourth industrial revolution is continually underway in the 2000s, building on the widespread digitalisation of the previous wave.
Industry 4.0, the fourth revolution, is precisely so exciting because we are currently part of it, both witnessing and participating in unprecedented levels of technological development.
Developments such as the Internet of Things (IoT) – sensors and processors that can exchange data with other devices via the internet – and Ethernet and Wi-Fi are all part of Industry 4.0.
Using self-controlled internet technology to connect machines, systems, and people – from suppliers and workers to consumers and investors – can offer unparalleled efficiency and improved quality.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) defined the themes of Industry 4.0 technology back in 2016, which include:
- The ability of devices, people, machines, and sensors to communicate with each other.
- Information transparency, allowing operators to utilise data gathered throughout the manufacturing process to identify areas for improvement.
- Technical assistance, enabling technology to assist humans in making decisions or performing tasks with safety risks.
- Decentralised decisions, giving cyber systems the ability to perform autonomous tasks and make decisions themselves.
Of course, none of these innovative developments could happen without electrical connectors to help build, power, and connect these systems.
How new connector technology can help
Fuelling such dramatic changes will require evolved infrastructure to support the massive volume of powered and connected devices and traffic.
This will involve simplified design for faster deployments, reliable power connections, and improved scalability and configurability for different types of networks.
When it comes to collecting, storing, and translating data, ‘cloud’ networks changed the game, making it much easier and cheaper to store and process masses of data. However, this transmission wouldn’t be possible without Ethernet connectors – like the industrial Ethernet connectors we supply, from leading brands such as binder, CONEC, HARTING, HUMMEL & Lumberg Automation.
Industry 4.0 requires every device to connect to a centre of operations, producing more data and offering more functionality – but as devices become ever smaller, components must also shrink in size to maintain functions without compromising space.
Whereas older systems were centralised around one control panel, newer systems require decentralisation, allowing decisions to be made flexibly at the site, independently of the rest of the system. New connector designs make such adjustments easy with multiple connection points and fast assembly or disassembly without specialist tools.
The HARTING Han-Modular® Domino Series is a prime example of this – a customisable modular system that can combine different connections as needed for specific applications.
Order the latest products from Northern Connectors
Connectivity is critical to the ongoing development of Industry 4.0, so switching to modern connector solutions is no longer optional when it comes to designing cutting-edge systems – it’s a must.
We stay on top of both tried-and-tested staple products and the latest advances in connectivity at Northern Connectors, so you’re sure to find a suitable solution for your application in our portfolio.
Browse our extensive online selection of connectors and accessories today, which include super-efficient new technologies such as HARTING Han-Modular® Domino Modules and Weidmüller OMNIMATE® 4.0 SNAP IN Signal Connectors.
Find out more
If you want to know more about connector solutions or need guidance with selecting a suitable solution for your application, Northern Connectors is here to help.