Supporting Ongoing Robotic Innovation

Exciting new opportunities for greater proliferation of robotics in modern society are emerging all the time. Robots are now capable of performing a wide array of different tasks. They are revolutionising the factory floor by dramatically boosting production throughput. In the form of collaborative robots (or cobots), they can work directly alongside humans in manufacturing facilities, as well as helping with the education of our children and providing care to the elderly.

Upholding the highest possible levels of operational reliability is, of course, paramount. Though robotic designs can be increasingly intricate and sophisticated, assuring reliability is maintained needs to be done right down at the component level. Every robotic system is dependent on the delivery of power to drive the motors and actuators that enable its movement, plus the transportation of data from integrated sensors that allow it to respond to and interact with the surrounding environment – as the degree of autonomy that these systems support increases. Connectors and cabling therefore have an important role to play.

In many cases, despite large amounts of money being spent on the construction of a robotic system, when it comes to purchasing constituent connector components, engineers/procurement managers will simply go for commodity connectors from a computer hardware supplier. The perceived cost savings are misjudged though. If there is a connection failure, then the downtime that ensues could have heavy financial impact – with the production line in which the robot is situated remaining inactive while the cause of failure is identified and repairs undertaken. Specifying high reliability (hi-rel) connectors and accompanying these with well-constructed cable assemblies will help to avoid such situations.

How Harwin can help with implementing robotic designs

Harwin offers an expansive range of hi-rel connectors. These components can cope with the most uncompromising of application settings – dealing with exposure to shock, vibration and extreme temperatures. They are backed up by a comprehensive cable assembly service, which allows our customers to offload this difficult and problem-fraught work onto our experienced engineering team. Unlike other suppliers, Harwin has no minimum order quantity for its cable assemblies. They can thereby be sourced in a cost-effective manner with just the required number of units being paid for and no upfront tooling costs to worry about. Backpotting is offered as part of the cable assembly service package.

Incorporating Harwin connectors in robotic designs

Gecko-SL: compact and lightweight, but still also ultra-rugged, these 1.25mm pitch connectors are optimised for high-density electronic deployments where available space is limited. Their robust construction and stainless-steel screw-lok mechanism protects them from elevated levels of shock (50g) and vibration (20g/2000Hz). Furthermore, a -65°C to +150°C temperature range is supported. Each of the beryllium copper plated contacts has the capacity to deliver 2A of current.

The M300 Series: these low-profile 3mm pitch hi-rel power components feature a 4-finger contact design that maintains connection integrity regardless high levels of vibration and shock. The current rating is 10A per contact, with 3-contact single row, plus 6-contact and 10-contact double row arrangements available. A 1000 mating cycle durability is supported.

Mix-Tek: Harwin’s Mix-Tek product offering combines power and signal connection, in order to save valuable space within densely-packed electronic designs, such as robotics. The power contacts are rated up to 40A, while the signal contacts have a 3A rating. The connectors can accommodate up to power contacts and up to 12 signal contacts, with a wide array of different options covered.

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