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High density M12 connectors for industry’s harshest demands

14 November 2009

In harsh production environments, where IP67 protection class is required, circular connectors with their associated cordsets and receptacles are commonly used for signal transmission from the sensor device back to the control cabinet. For relatively simple sensors, M8 and M12 connectors with 3 to 5 poles are now considered the de facto standard.

However, with the adoption of these more complex and versatile sensor and control devices the need for multiple interface signals is mounting—as well, some of them require multiple communication interfaces and service connections.

In the factory automation environment, space is at a premium and therefore consideration of more than one connector is not an option.

For that reason, and taking into account that using two connectors in a design can introduce reliability issues and also effectively doubles the installation, maintenance and repair costs, it is more efficient to use one connector with a higher pin count—preferably within the same standard design build.

The new M12 12-Pole connection system from Molex gives designers the versatility of up to 12, one-amp connection points in the same traditional M12 format. The Micro-Change® products give the engineer a durable and reliable IP67-rated connection and the Ultra-Lock® products offer the IP69K-sealing and integrity that the industry has grown to expect.

This has shown to be effective in assisting to lock out moisture, dust, oil, solvents and other chemical contaminants that may be present in a harsh industrial environment.

When compared to standard M12 connectors, Ultra-lock versions are very cost-effective because they reduce installation time by as much as 90 per cent.

Assemblers simply push down to connect and pull up to disconnect, which results in faster, easier installation and eliminates downtime, especially when connections must be made in tight or ‘blind-mate’ conditions.

Unlike the traditional threaded connectors, which are operator dependent and therefore the seal torque integrity is human dependent, the rugged Ultra-Lock connector seal is operator-independent, so it cannot be either too tight or too loose.

In addition, the innovative push-to-lock technology reduces connection errors; including vibrational and mechanical shock from loosening that leads to intermittent signals, false data, improper sequencing and downtime on a production line.

The Ultra-Lock receptacles accept either the Ultra-Lock connector or the standard M12 threaded cordsets, which are available both shielded and unshielded.

This interchangeability allows designers to specify Ultra-Lock push-to-lock capability while, at the same time, alleviates any single-source concerns they may have when using proprietary technologies. 

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