In recent years, the field of robotics has seen remarkable advancements, transforming industries and reshaping the way we live and work. From industrial automation to autonomous drones and collaborative robots, the capabilities of robotic systems have grown exponentially. Behind these impressive feats lies a crucial aspect: control and communication. In this blog, we will explore the significance of these functions in robotics and how Amphenol's innovative connectors play a pivotal role in enabling seamless connectivity within robotic systems.
Control vs. Communication
In robotics, control refers to the ability to regulate the movement and behavior of robotic components with precision and accuracy. It involves sending signals to various subsystems, such as motors and sensors, to achieve specific tasks.
On the other hand, communication is the exchange of data between different elements of a robotic system. This includes real-time data transmission, power delivery, and coordination between the robot and external controllers.
Robotics applications demand reliable, high-performance connectors capable of withstanding harsh conditions, vibrations, and electromagnetic interference. The connectors used in robotic systems must be durable, secure, and efficient to ensure precise data flow and coordination for uninterrupted operation.
Amphenol's Innovative Solutions for Robotics Control and Communication
Amphenol, a leader in interconnect technology, offers a wide range of connectors, cables, and accessories tailored for robotics applications. Let's explore some products and how they contribute to achieving precise control and seamless communication in robotics.
ix Industrial Connectors: Empowering Precise Robotic Control
The ix Industrial connectors are at the forefront of reimagining robotic control through advanced connectivity. Designed to facilitate Industrial IoT applications, these Cat6A performance connectors and cables serve as conduits between the enterprise level and the robotics controllers and PLCs at the factory floor with 10Gb data rates to ensure seamless real-time communication and control. Fully shielded connectors provide protection against EMI, and with their compact 10mm pitch and robust 2-point metal latches, ix Industrial connectors occupy a mere 25% of the size of traditional RJ45 connectors. This reduction in size not only allows for greater port density but also ensures secure mating, critical for stable communication in dynamic robotics environments.
Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) IP20 Connectors and Cable Assemblies
Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) connectors further facilitate streamlined communication solutions for robotics. SPE connectors and cables directly provide Ethernet connectivity to addressed peripheral devices such as sensors, actuators, and vision system cameras over single twisted pair cables. They are also used for diagnostic applications in automated guided vehicles (AGV) and autonomous mobile robots (AMR).
SPE connectors offer robust right-angle and vertical Through-Hole PCB mount receptacles, ensuring reliable connectivity to the board. Panel mount IP67 receptacles are also available for applications requiring additional protection against fluid ingress, and the mating IP67 plugs feature convenient and a reliable push-pull coupling ring for positive latching. Rated up to 4A of current per contact, SPE connectors facilitate Power over Data Link (PoDL) up to 1km. With compatibility across vendors following the IEC 63171-6 standard, these connectors assure investment security and future compatibility. Their mechanical sturdiness, secure latching, and 360° shielding solidify their performance, even in challenging robotic environments.
BrightConnX Rugged MRD Series: Durability for Unyielding Robotic Tasks
In the world of robotics, durability is paramount. The BrightConnX MRD series offers a robust solution with its circular locking connectors. These connectors are designed for durability and are available in various form factors and housing options, and multiple contact arrangements. The MRD plug connectors offer quick release metal thumb latch locking, providing the convenience of easy mating and unmating in tight situations. They are extensively used in the external controller of the robot arm.
Boasting an IP67 rating when mated, these connectors are water and dust-resistant, ensuring uninterrupted robotic tasks even in harsh conditions. Whether for power or signal connections, the MRD connectors provide flexibility through panel mount and cable termination options, all with or without finger-proof protection.
The Minitek® connector system, featuring a compact 2.00mm pitch, stands as an ideal solution for control and communication applications in robotics. Its modular design, space-saving 2mm pitch and reliable dual beam contact mechanism offer seamless interconnectivity between PCBs, discrete wires, and flat cables. The system's compatibility, space optimization, and durability due to its wide temperature range and robust active latch features make it a perfect fit for establishing dependable and efficient control and communication links within the confines of robotic systems. Power wire-to-board connectors like Minitek Pwr, for example, are used in the User Access Panel of AGV, providing power to the user interface screen. Their signal counterparts on sub 2mm pitch can interface discrete fine wires to drone boards.
The MicroSpace Crimp-to-Wire Connector Platform is a compact, robust, and highly versatile connector system designed to meet LV214 Severity-2 standards. It excels at 1.27mm pitch and is available in both single and double-row versions, with options for top and side latch configurations. Noteworthy features include 4A current capability; IP67 Waterproof versions; wire-to-board and wire-to-wire solutions; keying for visual matching prevention, Terminal Positioning Assurance (TPA), and Connector Positioning Assurance (CPA). This platform is ideally suited for a wide range of robotics applications including cameras; sensors and battery management systems
The BergStik® 2.54mm connectors have become the go-to solution for establishing reliable and flexible connections within robotics systems, like interconnecting PCBs inside robotic drones. Available in surface-mount (SMT), through-hole (THT), press-fit, stacking, and pin-in-paste (PIP) versions, these connectors offer unparalleled versatility to match various integration requirements. They are designed in both single and double rows, in straight or right-angle configurations, spanning from 2 to 72 positions. With a maximum current rating of 3A per contact, these connectors can handle the electrical demands of robotic operations.
The PCIe® Gen 4 M.2 1A Card Edge Connectors by Amphenol represent a cutting-edge high-density, high-performance solution. Featuring 67 contacts on a slim 0.50mm pitch, these connectors boast an impressive signal transmission speed of 16Gb/s. Notably, they occupy minimal board space while offering a range of connector height options, catering to specific design requirements. Tailored for PCIe® 4.0 1A applications, they are ideal for tablets, laptops, and low-profile storage and server setups. Moreover, these connectors support higher data rate transmission, accommodating both single and double-sided modules. With various height and keying options, they even accept angled insertion of add-in module cards and provide right-angle orientation M.2 connectors.
Amphenol's 0.35mm Micro Board-to-Board connectors from the 101 series represent a cutting-edge solution designed for high-density applications. These connectors offer an exceptionally low profile with a mere 1.00mm stack height, making them ideal for compact and miniaturized designs. Featuring SMT terminations, they are perfectly suited for consumer applications such as mobile phones, smartwatches, smart glasses, and VR/AR devices. Their low-profile design ensures a sleek integration into these compact devices while providing a mismatch-proof mating process. Moreover, these connectors offer a maximum current rating of up to 3A, making them well-equipped to handle the power demands of modern consumer electronics.
Amphenol’s Compression Connectors offer a compact single-piece surface mount solution for power and signal connections in consumer electronics. These connectors provide cost and space savings, with customizable positions, pitch sizes, and working heights. They're robust, enduring up to 50G shock without disrupting electrical connectivity. They support a maximum current rating of 1A per contact, 250VAC voltage rating, and low-level contact resistance. Widely applicable in Storage, Consumer Electronics, and Communications, they've been employed in HDD, In-Flight internet, Server platforms, and Inkjet printers. Amphenol's Compression Connectors exemplify innovation in compact connectivity solutions.
Industrial Backplane Connectors: For Uncompromised Robustness
Industrial Backplane Connectors stand as a testament to unwavering connectivity in robotics. These connectors encompass a wide range, including hard metric connectors, future bus connectors, and DIN 41612 connectors. Designed to adhere to industry standards such as IEC, Compact PCI, and EN44545, these connectors are optimized for rugged applications, precisely aligning with the demands of industrial robotics.
0.50mm FFC/FPC Connectors with Autolock Mechanism: F308/F332 Series
The F308/F332 series ushers in a new era of connectivity with its 0.50mm pitch right angle Non-ZIF flex connectors, boasting an ingenious auto lock mechanism and surface mount termination. These connectors, with a height of 2.45mm and available in configurations of 6 to 68 contacts, offer a compelling blend of compact design and durability. Designed for the challenges of Industry 4.0 and robotic operations, these connectors are also suitable for automotive, data, industrial, communication, consumer, and medical applications.
One-handed operation and easy assembly underscore the user-friendly nature of this series. Its auto-lock mechanism ensures secure connections, even in high-vibration environments, while the incorporation of GND terminals prevents noise interference. A remarkable highlight is a durablity of 20 mating cycles, a testament to their reliability. With USCAR-2 T3V2 qualification, these connectors promise to be a pivotal asset in the robotic ecosystem.
Clincher Flex Connectors: Ensuring Reliability in Industrial Robotics
The Clincher 2.54mm pitch connector family offers a versatile solution for flexible circuit termination for membrane switches. With single-row pin-and-receptacle connectors, this series is designed to withstand the rigors of industrial robotics. The inclusion of keying and active latching options in the receptacle lineup extends its applicability, catering to a range of needs. Built around the patented Clincher contact, these connectors excel in environments where shock and vibration are concerns.
Supporting FFC, FPC, and CIC, with positions ranging from 2 to 34, the Clincher Flex Connectors prioritize reliability. The patented Clincher contact ensures secure connectivity, making them an invaluable choice in robotic control systems where precision and robustness are paramount.
High-Speed Flex Connectors: Streamlining Data-Intensive Robotics
The High-Speed Flex Connectors feature a 0.30mm pitch and the ability to transfer data rates up to 10Gb/s. Engineered with a backflip actuator and locking feature, these connectors provide strong FPC retention while maintaining a low profile and compact form factor.
These connectors are designed for applications where space is a constraint, making them ideal for robotics projects with limited real estate. The High-Speed Flex Connectors conform to industry standards such as USB 3.1/3.0, PCIe 3.0, SATA 3.0, Displayport, and MIPI M-PHY, ensuring seamless integration with various communication protocols in modern robotics systems.
HSBridge+ Connector System: Elevating Robotic Communication
The HSBridge+ Connector System introduces an automotive-grade USB Type C interface with 5GB/S data rate capability that has been meticulously engineered to comply with USCAR-30 USB standards and performance-tested according to USCAR-2 regulations. This dedication to adhering to automotive industry standards brings the highest level of quality and reliability to the robotics industry.
It is essential for robots to carry out complex tasks efficiently. Amphenol's diverse range of connectors and cable assemblies cater specifically to the demanding requirements of robotics applications, ensuring precise control and seamless communication between various subsystems.
With these innovative connector solutions, Amphenol continues to drive the advancement of robotics technology, empowering industries and shaping a future where robots play an increasingly significant role in our lives.