Companies that produce cables are not just competing against each other, they're competing against the advantages of wireless connectivity. Much as hybrid car motors have prompted advancements in gas engine design, industrial Ethernet cable producers are making their cables tougher, smarter, and easier to use.
Turck Inc. has just released a new line of quick-disconnect (QD) cables that offer installation and maintenance cost savings through improved ingress protection, and add plug-and-play capabilities and improved reliability. April Ankrum, senior product manager for connectivity at Turck, told Design News:
The M12 X-code connector will enable our customers to realize a cost-effective solution while meeting their requirements for high-performance applications. As most OEMs migrate toward 10 GbE as the new baseline for Ethernet, Turck offers breadth in connector accessories.
Ankrum said speed and the protection against crosstalk were the twin challenges in developing the new cables. "We have taken Ethernet connectivity to the next level by developing the M12 X-code connector, which is capable of 10 GbE. The M12 X-code is unique in that each of the four data pairs are shielded from each other throughout the connector point, providing increased isolation against crosstalk," she told us. Crosstalk is unwanted signal coupling from one balance twisted-pair to another. "The shielding design couple with Category 7 copper cable supports the 10 GbE transmission speed," Ankrum said.
A recent Turck whitepaper noted that QD cable systems have become more important to industrial wiring. The immergence of protocols combined with stringent cabling shielding demands has increased the use of QD topologies. Special pre-molded and potted connectors have been designed specifically to meet the electrical specifications for writing protocols that include DeviceNet, Profibus, and Ethernet. QD cable met the demand of these protocols. Hard-wiring is difficult since the binding of the twisted pairs can be compromised in field terminations.
Ankrum noted that the faster cables come with a high price tag, but explained that those additional costs pay for themselves:
The X-code M12 10 GbE connector is more expensive to manufacturer given the nature of the shielding required both throughout the connector and cable. But we've found our customers consider this design smart ROI because it allows them to future-proof their data systems for the evolution of technology. Customers analyzing their cost per bit second realize that implementing 10 GbE provides a cost saving over traditional Fast Ethernet, which is 100 Mbps.