igus GmbH is a global leading manufacturer of energy chain systems and polymer plain bearings. The Cologne-based family business has offices in 35 countries and employs 4,150 people around the world. In 2018, igus generated a turnover of 748 million euros from motion plastics, plastic components for moving applications. igus operates the largest test laboratories and factories in its sector to offer customers quick turnaround times on innovative products and solutions tailored to their needs.
As a result of digitisation, the amount of data generated in factories and individual machines is continuously growing. Fieldbuses such as Profibus and CC-Link as well as Ethernet derivatives such as Profinet and CC-Link IE have been developed further to enable ever higher data transmissions. The situation is similar in the case of the classic Ethernet categories. A few years ago CAT5 was the measure of things and a quantum leap was made with CAT5e, but today CAT6A and CAT7 are increasingly in demand. However, all products developed so far, ended at the last "intelligent" component of the machine. Due to the size of the cable and the connector solutions, connections extending as far as the smallest sensor had not yet been developed. One solution is provided by cables that reduce the core pairs to one. igus has now developed the first chainflex Single Pair Ethernet cable especially for moving, long-lasting use in the e-chain.
The key to smart industrial automation
According to the motto "What is not used, can be removed", the Single Pair Ethernet cable uses only one core pair instead of the usual four. Although this reduces the data transfer rates to a rate between 10 Mbps and 1 Gbps, higher speed is not necessary in many applications. Instead, reducing the number of cores of the CFBUS.PUR.042 allows a 25 per cent smaller outer diameter. It is now at the level of a proximity switch cable. The new cable is precisely designed for the T1 connector interface, which was specifically developed for SPE. As a result, the durable shield has reliable transference, granting high electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). The combination of cable and connector is extremely robust: igus uses a highly abrasion-resistant and notch-resistant PUR jacket, and the connector has tough metal latches with a PCB socket. Reduction in size of cable and connector creates extra space even in the smallest e-chains series. The Single Pair Ethernet technology is an alternative to classic serial bus systems in the automotive industry, in railway technology or in industrial robots.