Belden Inc. and Weidmüller have jointly developed a modular infrastructure box for the connection of production modules. This standardized interface, which was presented for the first time in a pilot production line for the SmartFactoryKL technology initiative at this year's Hanover trade fair, represents an essential prerequisite for the cross-location collection of production information in the Internet of Things, according to the Industry 4.0 requirement profile.
Flexibly integrated, the plug-and-play infrastructure box is compatible with any manufacturer's production module within SmartFactoryKL, and provides maximum transparency, functional reliability, and data security, as well as optimal protection of personnel and machinery. It facilitates fast data communication, used to transmit control commands and status information as well as other types of data, and a reliable power supply for efficient production processes with the smallest of batch sizes – all without necessitating additional work or increased throughput times.
"The infrastructure box creates a sort of lifeline, through which each production module is supplied with everything it requires in terms of infrastructure," explains Dr. John Herold, vice president of Industrial Marketing at Belden. "The requirements for corresponding solutions include fast data transmission, reliable energy supply, and flexible yet secure integration."
The solution from Belden and Weidmüller, which is available with the highest protection ratings ranging from IP54 to IP69K, and even in a version suitable for use in potentially explosive atmospheres, meets these requirements perfectly. It comprises the Connected Security module from Belden brand Hirschmann, which ensures high-availability data communication between process and control systems and actuator/sensor systems, and components for integrated energy measurement from Weidmüller:
- • Hirschmann RSP switches facilitate powerful, future-proof networking.
- • State-of-the-art safety functions can be implemented thanks to multiport firewalls from Hirschmann's EAGLE product range.
- • Robust cables and connectors complete the network solution.
- • Status information and measurement data are provided by the infrastructure box via OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) without additional interfaces and middleware.
- • The Power Monitor measurement device and high-performance PROmax switched-mode power supply from Weidmüller provide integrated energy measurement.
- • High-quality Klippon housing technology, lightning and overvoltage protection from the VARITECTOR range, and the FrontCom Vario service interface from Weidmüller form the frame of the infrastructure box and contribute to its compact, durable design.
The new infrastructure box, developed by both partners, is an innovative solution that facilitates standardized cabling for production module data communication and power supply, and therefore supports the safety and security of these production systems.
The infrastructure box can be used in ring, bus, and star topologies and in standalone operation, as necessitated by efficiency, availability, and safety requirements. It also allows for a centralized power supply through decentralized sources.