A new standard for single pair Ethernet (SPE) is gathering speed with multiple companies joining the SPE industrial partner network to avoid making the same mistakes as the past with prorietary connector systems.
The partner network, based in Rahden, Westphalia, Germany, started with HARTING, TE Connectivity, HIROSE, Würth Elektronik, LEONI, Murrelektronik and Softing IT Networks, and now includes companies such as Molex, Amphenol ICC and Lütze alongside seven others.
Molex is taking a broader view of the technology as a key element for the next generation of connected industrial and factory automation systems as part of Industry 4.0, starting in Europe. It want to move away from being a connector supplier to a system consultant.
“I think Europe is probably ahead, and probably the first massive adopter considering the players here,” said Riky Comini, Global Director of Industrial Automation at Molex (left). Comini is responsible for product management, business development and engineering globally.
“The Molex position is we have learned a very good lesson from the past and we are using that experience to collaborate with a series of players that are going to drive something good for the customer and for the market,” he said. “Most of the development for networks in general has been fragmented.”
He points to the Molex Ultra-Lock connector system for networking. “Ultra-Lock was invented in 2000 and presented to the market but the fact that we kept it closed meant the industry struggled with adoption,” he said. “We have all these connectors but if the market isn’t going to adopt it there’s no point.”
So the international specification of IEC 63171-6 for SPE and multiple companies with the same interface for connectors and a common form factor is a new way of approaching the market. “This gave us good inroads into understanding the market,” he said. “It’s a multi-source connector but the adoption will be much higher.”