Connecting smart devices inside and out

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Written by Karl Fazakerley, Product Manager- Device Connections

In the past five years, hardly any other buzzword has driven the industrial production and automation sector like “The Intelligent Factory”.  Diverse markets as the USA, Europe and China agree on the implications: Industrial production must become more networked, more efficient, more intelligent.

By the year 2020, various studies forecast between 20 to 50 billion devices will be IT-networked “things”. Even the most cautious forecast means that there will be almost three times more “things” communicating with each other than the entire human population of our planet.

This number will also include the intelligent devices of industrial production processes: controllers, power supplies, I/Os, HMIs and many more. These systems themselves have become more intelligent in recent years. Their electronic components, such as processors, can be produced at substantially lower cost and have therefore become more powerful and numerous. Together with their components, industrial electronic devices themselves have become ever smaller, more powerful and more numerous. As a result we have seen a shift from centralised systems to more flexible and adaptable decentralised systems.

Stringent requirements

As the number of participants in the field increases, so does the need to network them using information technology, equip them with appropriate electronics and interfaces for signal, data and power transmission, and shield them from harsh environmental conditions. Electromechanical interfaces play an important role here: they are the key to exploiting further miniaturisation potential and making devices more reliable and flexible in industrial applications. However, dirt, vibrations, high temperatures and electromagnetic radiation place high demands on passive components.

As a leader in the field of connectivity, Phoenix Contact responds to these requirements. By taking a new direction in our offering we have developed a new series of board-to-board connectors with 0.8 and 1.27 mm pitch. Both product families are ideally suited for the internal connection of several printed circuit boards inside devices thus following the trend towards miniaturisation and modularisation of intelligence in the field. The great advantage for device manufacturers is that they can obtain tested and reliable device interfaces for the transmission of signals, data and power from a single source and can therefore offer highly adaptive devices for the intelligent factory – regardless of the location and local market conditions.

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For more information, please contact Karl on 07919 005153 or email



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