Terminal Blocks, Connectors and Wire Continue to Evolve and Improve

April 29, 2010
Better-Connected Networks: Manufacturing Improves Performance Characteristics or Terminal Blocks, Connectors and Wire

Better manufacturing has improved the performance of terminal blocks, wire and connectors. "More precise and tighter fabrication tolerances of all components ensure increased reliability of conductor secureness, especially small gauge conductors," says Mike Roknich, design engineer, c3controls ( "Advanced thermoplastic injection molding processes and capabilities enable the design and production of smaller components with thinner cross-sections to maximize device current carrying, operating voltage and insulation voltage ratings."

Materials, such as polyamide, zinc plating, stainless steel and electrolytic copper, and the ability to process those materials reliably ensures component durability to withstand the electrical, mechanical and environmental demands of industrial applications over years of continuous service, adds Roknich.

"More precise manufacturing has led to smaller housing requirements for electronics utilizing surface-mount components," explains Brian Traczyk, product manager—fieldbus & remote I/O, Pepperl+Fuchs ( "Cabling for bus networks has improved with the introduction of exposed run cable which meets crush testing of armored cable without actually being armored. This cable is manufactured from high quality PVC to withstand mechanical hazards."

Push-in terminal blocks can reduce wiring time and operator strain, says Larry Freeland, product marketing manager, ClipLine, Phoenix Contact ( "The intuitive pushbutton technology requires half the insertion forces of previous terminals and doesn't require special tools," he explains. "The technology is suited for high-vibration applications. Some new products on the market provide up to five times the vibration protection required by IEC standards. Some important features to look for are a clearly defined area for termination, touch-proof actuation button and universal bridging, marking and testing accessories."

The modern I/O terminal is basically an evolved terminal block, explains Kurt Wadowick, I/O systems specialist, Beckhoff Automation ( "The continued miniaturization of electronic components in general has led to more feature-laden terminals that can facilitate a wide range of functions," he says.

"In designing connectors for fieldbus networks where multiple devices connect to a main fieldbus trunk, it's crucial to design for modularity," says Warner Tchan, engineering supervisor, Moore Industries ( "For example, modern connectors might provide electronic and fully auto-resetting spur short-circuit protection that prevents segment failure caused by single device faults, which is when any failed spur might overdraw current resulting in failure of the entire segment. Better manufacturing and design of connectors also works to eliminate common installation errors. Additional manufacturing improvements, ideal for general connector design, include diagnostic LEDs to positively indicate status of spur power."

Outdoor PushPull I/O connector family is an IP67 solution for fiber, power and copper signal connections in telecom installations. The I/O design eliminates the need to inventory costly cable assemblies and can be used for WiMAX and LTE base stations.
Harting North America
Dinnector terminal blocks and accessories include supplementary circuit breaker terminal blocks and sockets. The blocks are available in sizes ranging ¼–10 A  and terminal block sockets in 12 V and 24 V models with or without LED indicators. A new series of single and double level plug-in style terminal blocks are sold in packages with 32 blocks and four pin protectors.
DB9F-to-5 screw terminal block adapter connects field wiring to DB9 connectors on USB serial adapters, Ethernet serial servers and other Sealevel RS-485 products with a DB9M connector. With standard-size DB9 connector, the adapter works with two- and four-wire RS-485 networks and can be secured to the serial port with thumbscrews to prevent accidental disconnection. The adapter is RoHS compliant.
Sealevel Systems
Mur series power cables in a variety of types and sizes and feature connector sizes ranging 7/8–11/8 in., as well as pole arrangements from two to 19 pins, are equipped with a standard PVC jacket and feature cable lengths up to 30 ft. An array of field wireable connections and panel receptacles take connectivity needs from the device through the wire-way and to the control panel.
SmartSlice GRT1 remote I/O terminals have a CompoNet interface unit and ac input modules. CompoNet networks distribute sensor and actuator I/O status. The ac input modules are designed to reduce space and incorporate 110 Vac or 240 Vac inputs by offering four inputs. SmartSlice uses building-block style I/O terminals that allow connection of up to 64 remote I/O units to expand an I/O system. Pin terminal blocks are designed to enable screwless wiring.
Omron Electronics
R2 FieldConnex segment protectors are UL-listed for Div. 2 applications and FM/cFM-approved for Div. 2/Zone 2 applications. T-Connector technology allows the segment protector to be disconnected while leaving trunk communications uninterrupted. R2 segment protectors provide IP20 protection with DIN-rail mounting, in 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 spur configurations. They feature removable terminals with retaining screws, as well as LEDs for power, communication and short circuit status indication.
Sensor/actuator cables are designed to provide high-density I/O connection and shielding from EMI. M12 cables feature 360° shielding in 12- and 17-pole versions. Cordsets are available in male and female, angled or straight versions with SpeedCon plug-and-turn technology. The cables meet IP65/IP68/IP69K requirements and have a PUR/PVC jacket.
Phoenix Contact
Snap Tex mounting and wiring accessories include terminal extender cables, breakout boards, wiring harnesses, DIN-rail kits, jumper straps, rack adapters and other components for mounting and wiring Opto 22's automation, control, and I/O systems.
Opto 22
Bulletin 1485P KwikLink Lite is ODVA-approved for wiring DeviceNet networks and designed to extend the network into light-duty, IP20-rated applications. Drop-lines for connecting nodes can be added using two-piece connectors. The cable system supports intermixing of DeviceNet cable types. All KwikLink Lite connectors have insulation displacement technology (IDT).
Rockwell Automation
D-Size (1-3/8 in.) Powerfast modular wiring system is designed to handle high-current applications for machine power distribution and motor control. The complete D-Size power distribution system includes three- and four-pin cordsets, receptacles and tees that provide up to 600 V and 30 A. The system is compliant with NFPA 79 standards and all connectors carry IEC IP67, 68 and 69K environmental protection ratings, along with NEMA 1, 3, 4 and 6P protection.
MooreHawke TG200 TrunkGuard Series fieldbus device couplers use a fold-back technique that detects a short in an instrument, disconnects that spur from the segment and illuminates an LED. TG200 device couplers are available with four, eight or 10 fieldbus spurs and work with Foundation fieldbus H1 and Profibus-PA interfaces. Couplers can be DIN-rail mounted or enclosed in IP66-rated glass-reinforced polyester (GRP) or stainless steel enclosures. Up to 32 fieldbus devices can be accommodated in a single segment.
Moore Industries-Int'l
DIN-rail mountable, feed-through, tension-clamp-connection YBK series of terminal blocks for control panel and electrical panel wiring are available in gray, blue, red, yellow, beige, and green include end plate, end bracket, cross connector and marking tag accessories.
Omega Engineering
TopJobS 2002 series terminal blocks include UL-listed fuse and disconnect blocks with two exclusive blocks: a four-conductor, mini-automotive fuse holder block and a four-conductor fuse disconnect block with a spare 5x20 mm fuse holder. The blocks have component plugs that add LED indication, protection and other components within the integrated jumper location or on carrier-style blocks. The terminal blocks use Cage ClampS spring-pressure connection technology and are DIN-rail mountable.
HD bus terminals are high-density, with 16 digital I/O channels in the housing of a 12 mm electronic terminal block. Using Beckhoff bus couplers or DIN-rail-mounted controllers, the HD terminals are compatible with almost every major fieldbus. HD terminals are available in Beckhoff bus and EtherCat versions and are available as 16-channel terminals for digital inputs or outputs, as eight-channel terminals for digital inputs or outputs with two-wire connection or as combination terminals with eight digital inputs and eight digital outputs.
Beckhoff Automation
IEC terminal blocks have been tested to meet the specifications and requirements of applicable UL, CSA, and IEC standards and are rated for Code 1, factory wiring only, and Code 2, both factory and field wiring. Screw clamp is available 20 A to 232 A, and spring clamp 20 A to 50 A. Miniature panel mount is available 20 A to 35 A, in both spring and screw clamp. Up to eight different colored terminal blocks are offered for easy circuit identification.
ASIMT, ASIMTQUATTRO and ASIMTTB micro-miniature terminal blocks mount on a 15-mm DIN-rail and are suited for limited enclosure space applications. They have a current rating to 15 A at 300 V and a wiring capacity of 30 to 14 AWG in single level, multiple wire and dual-level designs.
Automation Systems Interconnect
Designated the EOTec 2C31 (single self-healing ring) and 2C32 (dual self-healing ring), the communication modules provide multiple communication paths between the various elements of the control system and utilize advanced downstream multicasting technology. In the event of a failure on one communication path, communications are still maintained along a secondary path or, in the case of a dual-ring, tertiary paths.
Ultra Electronics
RJ-45 Ethernet plugs and jacks are designed for compact applications requiring high density and high protection levels. The IP67/IP20- rated connectors are built in accordance with the specification for Profinet-driven robotic devices. Supplied in tray packs, the plugs and jacks conform to IEC-60603-7.
800/786-6539 GO THE DISTANCE
X20 fiberoptic module increases the distance between decentralized, remote modules up to 2,000 m. The system was developed for industrial Ethernet use. Different hub devices can be configured from a kit. Hub units with two RJ-45 connections are available, which are simply lined up together or added to a bus controller.
B&R Industrial Automation
Ecolink M12 cordsets have a lock-in-place coupling nut that secures the cordset to quick-disconnect sensors and prevents the cordset from detaching in high shock and vibration environments. The product acts as a mechanical end-stop that prevents possible damage to the Viton O-ring from over-tightening.
ifm efector
A family of industrial automation cables meets the stringent requirements of key industrial automation protocols. The line includes cables for ControlNet, RS485, DeviceNet, Fieldbus/Profibus and Industrial Twinax.
Alpha Wire
Category 6 DataTuff twisted-pair cable No. 7940A is Ethernet/ IP-compliant and comes in a bonded-pair, round construction, which makes it suited for sealed industrial Ethernet connectivity applications. It can future proof mission-critical network and automation system backbones in processing and discrete industrial manufacturing plants and large industrial infrastructures.
NetBloc is 11 different networking terminal units that provide network connection and network cable management on 35-mm DIN-rails, and it gives engineers a method to organize, manage and label networking connections in much the same way they currently manage power and signal connections.