In the processing industry robots and their performance capabilities are increasingly taking center stage. The key trends here are miniaturization, universal deployment capabilities, ruggedness, user friendliness, 360-degree communication and energy efficiency. Solutions in connector engineering are supporting these developments. Fielding the Han-Yellock® HARTING is offering a space saving connector delivering high performance that ensures the reliable and secure transmission of power, signals and data.
Industry deploys robots for a wide range of diverse tasks – such as picking and placing, packaging, painting, grinding, cutting, milling and welding of components. The challenges robots face have risen continuously, especially in pick-and-place applications the gripper arms and tools involved have attained extremely high speeds in the meantime.
In order to move to the specified positions repeatedly, and with high repetitive precision under these conditions, the devices must be insensitive to normal manufacturing variations. This is enabled by rugged control units that exactly calculate and implement the pathways of gripper arms and tools, while compensating for vibration and neutralizing disturbances. Efficient and reliable interfaces, however, are absolutely essential for the harmonious interaction of the functional units of a robot.
The Han® industrial connector series by HARTING provide the necessary components. Thanks to their ruggedness they are ideally suited for industrial environments. And due to their flexibility and functionality, they also adapt very well to the typical installation situations encountered in robots. In control cabinets or at the foot of articulated arms they ensure communication with the periphery – for example with servo drives for manipulators.
The HARTING Han-Yellock® series is especially suited for robotic engineering as it helps save space. Thanks to the expedient design, it is possible to position many connectors next to each other. The locking mechanisms are integrated into the housing. Space requirements are reduced to a minimum: consequently, a Han-Yellock® connector fits on a narrow robot base as easily as it can be installed in a compact control cabinet. The locking mechanism positioned on the inside can be blocked, in order to prevent inadvertent opening. The entire handling is very simple: the locking mechanism can be released at the push of a button, comparable with the locking and releasing of a safety belt in an automobile.
Offering a wealth of features and options, the Han-Yellock® is especially interesting for the developers of automation lines: the Han-Yellock® 60 version, for example, provides space for a standard contact insert with up to 48 contacts. With a range of more than 30 standard inserts according to size (currently 3 − Han Yellock® 10, 30 and 60) it is possible to realize the entire diversity of power, voltage, data and signal transmission options. The connectors of this series can supply powerful motors in robotic joints as well as transmit sensitive data and signals for control functions.
Connectors Deliver Savings Potentials
Potential multiplication is a unique option of the Han-Yellock®. Available accessories include modules for bridging up to five contacts. Their deployment multiplies the potential of the connector, and offers scope for cost savings. The terminal block wiring of actuators, manipulators or sensors can be dispensed with. This enables more compact control cabinets, while fewer cables are required. Thanks to the plugging capabilities, assembly and maintenance personnel need less time for their work on connecting elements.
There are also advantages for the manufacturing of robots: pre-assembled modules can be snapped into the Han-Yellock® mounting housing on both sides, i.e. from termination as well as mating side, thereby reducing assembly time and dispensing with the need for tools. The two-piece hood − divided into cover and supporting hood − translates as shorter standstill times in testing and inspection. Maintenance personnel only have to open the cover in order to perform measurements on the connector. It is not necessary to completely unplug the connector before starting maintenance work.
By way of an adapter the Han-Yellock® can access virtually the entire Han® Modular product range. Here, typical modules include the Han® DDD, Han® CD and the Han E® modules, well as well the Han® RJ 45 Ethernet interface. In this way, the modular construction of the connector increases the communication capabilities and universal deployment capabilities of robots.
Generally speaking: The option of potential multiplication and modularization support the miniaturization trends in robotics, and enable lightweight design and construction, which in turn helps to achieve energy savings.
Applications In Robotics
The Han-Yellock® 30, for example, serves the power supply of motors in the articulated arms of pick-and-place robots. As contact insert, a monoblock with 30 to 25 contacts and 16 A rated current can be opted for that impresses with very high packaging density.
The connection space for interfaces at the base of such robots is limited. In order to realize the most important peripheral electrical parameters, the use of large industrial connectors was usually required to date. In cooperation with robot manufacturers, HARTING has succeeded in meeting the electrical engineering demands also with the deployment of more compact connectors such as the Han-Yellock® 30.
The Han-Yellock® plays a special trump card in assemblies in the field. The insertable connection spells tremendous advantages for system integrators. Specially trained personnel are not required for the installation of robots. Thanks to the unambiguous coding of the connector, any mismatching involving hoods and bulkhead mounted housings can be excluded. If and when a module has to be exchanged, as in automotive manufacturing, for example, this can be performed rapidly thanks to the connector.
Placing the Han-Yellock® 30 at the robot base, enough space remains for a second connector ensuring the transmission of signals and data. Where space is at a premium, the compact Han-Yellock® 10 is an ideal solution. High flexibility is ensured, since the connector accommodates all of the Han® contact inserts for the standard 3 A size. The Han® Q High Density contact insert − transmitting up to 21 signals − features as one of the numerous options.
Frank Quast (Head of Product Management Han)
Gerwin David (Industry Segment Manager)