Smart Connectivity, Connected Infrastructure, & the…

In our Fall 2022 eBook, Smart Connectivity, Connected Infrastructure, and the Internet of Things, industry experts explore the role interconnects play in the vast array of connected technology. Connected devices are part of all areas of life, from consumer gadgets to industry technology to medical equipment, transportation, and more, and connectors are a vital component in ensuring that data is transmitted quickly, reliably, and accurately. Learn about selecting the right connectivity solutions for smart devices and related technology, and about some unique ways connectors are aiding smart connectivity applications.



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In our Fall 2022 eBook, Smart Connectivity, Connected Infrastructure, and the Internet of Things, industry experts explore the role interconnects play in the vast array of connected technology. Connected devices are part of all areas of life, from consumer gadgets to industry technology to medical equipment, transportation, and more, and connectors are a vital component in ensuring that data is transmitted quickly, reliably, and accurately. Learn about selecting the right connectivity solutions for smart devices and related technology, and about some unique ways connectors are aiding smart connectivity applications. In addition, this eBook features a selection of more than 20 relevant connectivity products designed for our connected world. Contributors include Amphenol Communications Solutions, Avnet, binder USA, Carlisle Interconnect Technologies, HARTING, Heilind, Hirose Electric, I-PEX, JPC Connectivity, Lemco Précision SA, METZ CONNECT, Mouser Electronics, Smiths Interconnect, Times Microwave Systems, and Wearin’ (Fischer Connectors). Please enjoy this edition, the last of three 2022 eBooks. Our next eBook, Harsh Environment / Remote Locations, will look into the challenges of connectivity in severe environments, specifically in locations that are difficult, dangerous, or cost prohibitive to reach. In the meantime, please subscribe to our weekly e-newsletters, follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, and check out our eBook archives for more applicable, expert-informed connectivity content. SMART CONNECTIVITY, CONNECTED INFRASTRUCTURE, AND THE INTERNET OF THINGS

John Bishop

Managing Director

Managing Editor Amy Goetzman

Associate Managing Editor AJ Born

Creative Director Raine Arzola













The Internet of Things (IoT) describes a collection of inter-networked low-power devices designed to bring resource and utilization efficiency to personal, commercial, industrial, or urban settings with the aid of embedded sensors, drivers, and controllers. The decision to equip an application with IoT is often tied to the need to control costs, energy use, and carbon footprint. Briefly, an IoT application contains a system of sensors, computers, gateways, software, and internet connectivity. The sensors measure temperature, light, humidity, air quality, or any aspects of the environment that can then trigger alerts based on a given set of thresholds, like reporting a water leakage after a pressure drop is detected in city plumbing. The alerts are processed by drivers or controllers and routed through gateways to the cloud either wirelessly through licensed cellular technologies like LTE and non-licensed low-power long-range protocols like LPWAN, or through the wire, like Ethernet LANs. COMMON IOT APPLICATIONS IN SMART INFRASTRUCTURE Buildings like apartment complexes or commercial establishments span several stories totaling hundreds of rooms. Their routine operation and

maintenance involve computerized management systems that run on cables crisscrossing through walls and ceilings. Implementing IoT in buildings lends flexibility through wireless technology and brings automation through machine learning. Sensors pick up critical data concerning security, access, HVAC, lights, power, fire safety, gas leaks, and parking. Network gateways use building protocols like BACnet over Bluetooth to route the data to an on-premise server. The system can derive utilization trends from this data and suggest energy-efficient models of management for lights, valves, motors, actuators, and other devices. For example, how late into the evening must interior or exterior lighting stay on if the past month’s records show employees leaving the office before dusk? Could light and motion sensors be used in an automated scheme? Governments can address the safety and security of their citizens by investing in smart city technologies. One such idea is to use IoT to direct sensor measurements through LPWAN or 5G to public authorities. Notable applications include street lighting, environmental disaster management, air and water quality, waste management, ground and aerial surveillance, public transportation, traffic management, and city parking.


A smart city is powered by the smart grid, which is an assortment of IoT sensors, gateways, and Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs) serving the power lines. It encompasses energy providers, distributors, and utilities, and their customers in cities, homes, factories, and buildings. • Utilities allow consumers to monitor their energy usage through IoT. Each home appliance sensor will send its consumption figure to the smart energy meter in real- time. The pooled data is shared with the utilities to train and infer so that consumers can be alerted to cut back on usage during peak loads to avoid high energy prices. Data management, including collection, processing, and dissemination, is fully automated. • Consumers can reverse-feed to the grid the excess energy stored from rooftop PV panels to offset the energy imbalance when demand exceeds supply. • With IEDs installed at substations, predictive maintenance and advanced fault detection occur round the clock, helping to avoid costly downtimes and blackouts. • Smart grid is more favorable to renewable energy adoption than a conventional grid, with IoT-based energy storage able to smooth out load fluctuations occurring from the dynamic shifts in wind power. Non-renewable sources also benefit from decreased emissions because of optimized energy management using artificial intelligence (AI).

IoT brings autonomy to smart homes, where appliances and devices trade data with hubs,


media servers, or voice-based assistants. Utilizing the cloud to analyze, train, and devise inference algorithms, IoT can predict the needs of inhabitants and respond to them. For instance, a smart refrigerator can process the grocery consumption trends of family members and download inference metrics to know when their favorite items will be running out. With the help of onboard storage, any device – light, curtain, home appliance, door, window, smoke alarm, thermostat, lawn mower, or security camera – can implement IoT while offline. Manually tedious tasks like the monitoring, planning, and regulation of electricity and water usage can be automated, resulting in enormous cost savings. For occupants, the autonomy affords them complete control of the house through their cellphones, as well as a sense of safety, security, and wellbeing. The concept of Industry 4.0 sprouted with the implementation of IoT in smart factories, where planning, operation, production, and maintenance of factory operations are delegated to AI. Machine- to-machine communication, a direct use case of

IIoT, uses embedded sensors to network with each other so production and delivery schedules are sped up through asset and inventory tracking. They further train on real-time data using the external cloud for predictive maintenance, employee training, and front-line worker safety. Lighting, both indoor and outdoor, zaps a major chunk of energy supplied to an office or establishment. IoT is seen here as a primary necessity to keep energy costs at bay. Motion sensors can alert the control circuit to adjust lighting based on people’s presence. And machine learning can be used to modify the brightness or warmth of the luminaire based on available daylight. Dedicated LED lighting standards like DALI and Zhaga allow for a modular and upgradeable approach of linking the sensor and communication gateway to a controller/driver board neatly packaged inside a luminaire fixture. CONNECTIVITY THROUGH THE IOT TRAIL Tracking the information flow in an IoT application from the sensor to the cloud reveals interesting

FLH Mini Sealed 2.5 mm pitch wire-to-wire connectors from Amphenol used in a Zhaga/DALI based smart lighting interface (Image credit: Zhaga Consortium; Amphenol).


attains a high-quality plug-in connection to the backplane for the failsafe performance of the unit. Standardized industrial backplane connectors with a wide operating temperature range and conformance to IEC and DIN safety norms are ideal contenders for this type of connection. Yet another application of interest concerns harsh environments, like oil rigs, that are off limits to humans. IoT allows maintenance of the rig machines to be predictive and fully automated with the help of edge computing. Processing at the edge helps bring down latencies and deliver split- second alerts based on predictive data that can save lives as well as millions of dollars in revenue by averting dangers like oil spills or explosions. Single Board Computers and Industrial PCs deployed at the edge process, filter, and analyze real-time data

insights. The notion of a billion devices being able to operate over-the-air in low-power mode for years is rather hyped up, for they are not standalone entities. To operate wirelessly, they need background equipment, connectors, and associated wiring. One such example is a lighting solution that makes use of wire-to-wire connectors like the Amphenol FLH Series, fully compliant with Zhaga standards for maximum safety and efficiency. Take the case of a smart utility grid, where fault monitoring and load management are handled by an array of IEDs like Bay Control Units, Phase Measurement Units, and Numerical Protection Units. Inside a typical IED cabinet, various interface modules are plugged into a common PCB backplane. It is essential that each module board

aggregated by sensors and devices. IPCs contain high-end GPU or TPU cards for AI training and inference. As these versatile devices can double up as network gateways for multiple protocol conversion and routing, they come with communication cards as well. Considering the huge compute bandwidth involved, the

Fiber Optic Terminal Equipment used in Smart Grid (left) and Building Access Door Controller (right) use standard industrial backplane connectors like Hardmetric 2mm and DIN 41612 to make backplane to daughterboard connections.

cards are serviced by standardized PCI Express card edge connectors tuned to PCIe Gen 4/5 data


Solving Your Design Challenges for IoT

Building Automation




Industry 4.0


PCIe 16x and 4x slots found in a smart grid substation automation computer.

0.6 mm Mini Cool Edge (left) vs.1.0 mm standard PCIe.

rates of up to 32 Gb/s. The connectors are also customizable on pitch size. For example, 0.6 mm pitch proprietary solutions like the Amphenol Mini Cool Edge performs to PCIe Gen 5 specifications in a much smaller form factor than standard 1 mm PCIe. Single Board Computers are miniature IPCs that also pack their share of PCIe compute through mPCIe or M.2 PCIe slots. More and more devices are joining the IoT fleet, with 25 billion active connections expected by 2025, up from around 14 billion in 2022 with a massive 133% CAGR growth according to IoT Analytics.

With this, comes the added responsibility of safety, security, reliability, and foolproof performance. Tracking the IoT trail from the sensor to the cloud makes us see the rugged and reliable backend connections designed for these challenges, like the Zhaga/DALI interconnects. Instead of the wired giving way to the wireless, the former will expand considerably as a support medium for the latter, fortifying the IoT trail.

To learn more, visit Amphenol Communications Solutions.




The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) continues to grow at a steady pace. It provides real-time visibility of operations across factory floors and supply chains, yielding big gains in efficiency, safety, and uptime. The IIoT market is forecast to reach $263.4 billion by 2027 at a CAGR of 16.7%; some estimates even put the figure at $1.1 trillion by 2028. This aggressive growth rate has been galvanized by the COVID-19 pandemic as many OEMs implemented more machine-to-machine and human-machine digital interactions to maintain staff safety. Despite the advantages of connecting industrial machines and tools, and teaming factory data with cloud apps and supply chain systems, barriers to joining the IIoT remain. Manufacturers, mining operations, energy producers, and other

The IIoT is a major shift away from SCADA, but it brings huge gains in productivity, serviceability, and flexibility as part of digital transformation.

established industrial users have had difficulty integrating IIoT technologies into their existing operational technology and IT systems. That integration barrier can be overcome, however, through the adoption of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), microservices, and the Open


Platform Communication Unified Architecture (OPC UA) standard for industrial automation communication. IIOT OFFERS VISIBILITY, DELIVERS VALUE A plethora of third-party apps that extract data from industrial equipment and utilize the cloud are proving the value of the IIoT. One example from the agriculture sector collects data from tanks on nitrogen fertilizer concentration, temperature, pressure, drain-liquid level, and other indicators and sends it to the cloud for analysis. This helps farmers avoid government fines and the need for contamination cleanup services. For many markets and processes, building equivalent applications in house without IIoT-friendly frameworks and standards would be complex and expensive. Companies would need expertise in embedded software, industrial-communication protocols, IIoT cybersecurity, and cloud APIs. Technologies that address system integration, application design, and industrial communication are emerging to make the IIoT more attractive. Together, they allow machines to exchange data, and developers to create applications with highly specific functions. When paired with a standard interface, the data becomes a service that can be more easily shared. This approach will enable

assembly lines to access parts on a just-in-time basis, or trucks to be safely controlled from the cloud, as networked devices report data ranging from their location to their operating status.


SOA, or service-oriented architecture, was conceived in the 1990s to make software components interoperable and reusable via service interfaces. This means the “services” can be more easily used by new products without them understanding exactly how the service is generated. For the IIoT, sensor outputs become services that any device can access. The interfaces used are loosely coupled, meaning it is easier and safer to share services. This practice has found a new purpose in the IIoT. Thanks to the loose coupling provided by the defined service interface, manufacturers can choose from a variety of software components or services and team them with their industrial data and machines. This makes it an affordable and low- risk way to innovate and implement smart ways to run plants and processes.

Microservices complement SOA as “an application architectural style and an application-scoped


concept,” according to IBM. This effectively decouples the components used, which is said to improve scalability by enabling a component to be replicated in a cloud service, in accordance with the workload. And because the microservice only exists while needed, it makes better use of compute resources. Agility is also improved, by allowing developers to include and evaluate new microservices independently without impacting the rest of the system. Furthermore, overall resilience increases because the system isn’t dependent on just one instance of a microservice. A microservice enables the internals of a single application to be broken up into small pieces that can be independently changed, scaled, and administered. It doesn’t define how applications talk to one another; that requires the enterprise scope of the service interfaces provided by SOA. Together they play a key role in enabling and releasing value in the IIoT. The third piece of the service-oriented puzzle that enables participation in the IIoT is the OPC UA standard for machine-to-machine communication in industrial automation. UA stands for Unified Architecture and it was developed by the OPC Foundation to improve cooperation in an industrial environment. It achieves this using an extensible service-oriented architecture that can be embedded into microcontrollers on the factory floor as easily as it can be integrated into cloud-based servers. It brings essential features to a network, such as server identification, data hierarchy, and read/write permissions.

and DCOM protocols, as well as the OPC Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). In resource-constrained devices, binary UA is recommended as it needs less compute power. Die casting is one example of a critical industrial process that could benefit from this development. Normally, proprietary interfaces to peripheral equipment do not allow information exchange between the various manufacturers involved in the cell. Using OPC UA enables fast assembly and commissioning, optimal productivity and quality monitoring, and cell participants to connect to external systems. OPC UA promises to deliver what the manufacturing automation protocol (MAP) dreamed of back in the 1980s, and way more. General Motors designed the MAP communication protocol stack to link islands of operational automation on the factory floor. OPC UA reaches higher, enabling manufacturers to plug their operating machinery into the cloud and harness data analytics and machine learning to gain visibility of machinery performance and improve uptime and efficiency.


An early demonstration of the value a service- oriented approach to Industry 4.0 came from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) services in conjunction with Fraunhofer. HPE demonstrated its Converged Plant Infrastructure, which included a virtual “Fort Knox’’ app store of cloud-based industrial services. These featured a dashboard to view, fine-tune, and optimize distributed factory operations. Another app used algorithms in the cloud to teach designated robots on the factory

OPC UA uses binary UA and XML formats to secure and exchange messages, and Microsoft’s COM


floor how, where, and when to select components, while cloud navigation taught heavy-goods vehicles how to self-drive.

As the IIoT evolves and grows, more and more entities will embrace this technology for safety, efficiency, and productivity.

Edgeline from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is one example of how operations and information can be successfully and productively combined. (Image credit: HPE)

To learn more, visit Avnet.




Industry 4.0. Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Smart Factory. These aren’t just buzzwords; they are generation-defining trends that are changing manufacturing. Connectors play an important role in enabling the future of industrial automation. That raises the question: how can a single component play such a huge role in revolutionizing the entire manufacturing process? More than just a component in Industry 4.0, connectors are a fundamental building block to realizing its potential. FIRST, WHAT EXACTLY IS INDUSTRY 4.0? The term “Industry 4.0” is filled with promises: unparalleled operational efficiency, total production transparency, implementation of predictive maintenance models, and more. However, these promises are often presented as the result, without a concrete description of how to achieve it.

implanted into manufacturing processes. In 2016, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) defined four key themes for Industry 4.0: 1. Interconnection: The ability of machines, devices, people, and sensors to communicate with one another. 2. Information transparency: The ability for operators to access and utilize information gathered during all parts of the manufacturing process to identify places where efficiency could be improved. 3. Technical assistance: The ability of technology to assist people in decision making or performing unsafe tasks. 4. Decentralized decisions: The ability of cyber-physical systems to perform tasks autonomously and make decisions on their own.

Industry 4.0 refers to specific technologies


The cloud was a game-changer in enabling large amounts of data to be stored and processed without interfering with local servers and processes. The ability to keep data off-site in dedicated servers at an affordable price made it practical for companies to retain and use the data their machines were producing. As a result, companies started to rethink their industrial networks. Old serial bus protocols began to decrease in popularity in favor of Ethernet, which is already widely used in cloud networks. The reason for this is that serial bus protocols would need to eventually be translated to Ethernet. Moreover, they are highly specialized and require years of experience and training to properly implement and support. Over the past years, Ethernet connectors have evolved from miniaturized versions of four- to eight-wire


COMMUNICATION FROM SENSOR TO CLOUD Industry 4.0 is for all devices, sensors, and machines, with a critical aspect being the communication between them. Machines have used data for decades; however, the data was locked away at the individual machine or device level. Data was not collected, collated, or used to make decisions. Industry 4.0 flips this practice on its proverbial head and allows all data to be used to build a complete picture of a system or machine. Previously, data was important for “in the moment” functionality. Devices that use different data protocols, in a sense, didn’t speak the same language. Translating and collecting data was expensive, and storing it was even more of a challenge. Therefore, data existed in silos.


Ethernet connectors to single-pair Ethernet (SPE), which transmits Ethernet over two twisted wires, resulting in lower weight and copper costs. SPE is a financially viable option for every device on an industrial network.

Ways that industrial connector manufacturers reduce connector size vary but can include removing latches for internal locking mechanisms or push tabs, reducing the overall profile of the connector, reducing the space needed between connection points, or combining functions like magnetics directly into the connector. All these design choices can enable device designers to do the seemingly impossible – reduce size while increasing functionality.

T1 Industrial is the standard mating face for SPE and allows the transmission of Ethernet over two wires.

INFORMATION TRANSPARENCY: SMALLER CONNECTORS ENABLE TRANSPARENCY WITHOUT INCREASING DEVICE SIZE Devices are becoming smaller. This is true for cellphones and other consumer electronics, and for the human-machine interfaces (HMIs) people use when programming a robot on a machine. The components inside a device often limit how small the device can be. For example, 3.5 mm headphone jacks have been eliminated from many cellphones because, in addition to the rise in popularity of wireless earbuds, this connection point is a limiting factor in how slim the phone could be. In Industry 4.0 networks, every device is expected to produce data, offer more functionality, and be connected to an operations center. This means the number of components is increasing on devices that are becoming smaller. Therefore, the components must become smaller. As a result, the demand for hybrid and smaller connectors has increased.

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE: CONNECTORS ENABLE COBOTS TO WORK ALONGSIDE HUMANS Collaborative robots, or cobots, were once the thing of science fiction. While that helpful at-home robotic butler is still some years out, workers in manufacturing plants may find themselves working alongside small cobots. In the past, robots tended to be fixed in place. Hardwiring a robot instead of using a connector was suitable for some applications where the robot was intended to perform the same function repeatedly for the duration of its lifecycle. Now, cobots are designed with flexibility in mind, both in the tasks they perform and the location they inhabit on the production floor. Connectors let the robot be moved quickly and without reliance on skilled labor. The PushPull uses an internal locking mechanism, which helps reduce the space required for a connector.


DECENTRALIZED DECISIONS: CONNECTORS MAKE DECENTRALIZED SYSTEMS POSSIBLE Decentralized systems have become the preferred structure when designing a production floor. These systems contrast to older centralized systems where all machines and devices are connected to a single control panel and room. Decentralized systems are far more efficient by allowing decisions to occur at the site of the application (or the edge). By keeping controls near the application, parts of the system can function independently. This is extremely important when flexibility is needed. Changing a centralized system is time-consuming and expensive because all connections and cables must be pulled and rerouted to a new location. Likewise, changing a centralized system often requires troubleshooting to ensure that new processes don’t interfere with older ones. Decentralized systems operate independently of each other, so changes can be made easily and without endangering the rest of the system. In a decentralized system, hardwiring is not a viable option. On modern production floors changing a layout or even switching out parts of a machine is a common practice. Connectors prevent expensive downtime by making these adjustments easy and fast for workers to accomplish without specialized tooling. The most efficient connectors are modular

connectors that allow multiple connection points to be combined into one housing. The next level of connector modularity allows the customization of the module itself, ensuring all space is used as efficiently as possible.

Connectivity is a critical area of Industry 4.0 and connectors are no longer optional when designing machines, devices, or sensors used in modern manufacturing equipment. Well- designed connectors that offer space-savings and modularity help manufacturers realize the promises of Industry 4.0 while using reliable, time- tested technology. The Han-Modular® Domino is the next level of modularity. Users can customize modules with the specific interconnects needed for an application.

To learn more, visit HARTING.

T1 Industrial for Industrial Single Pair Ethernet

The T1 Industrial is the standard mating face for industrial Single Pair Ethernet, which enables the transmission of Ethernet over a single pair of wires rather than two or four. This allows lightweight, economical and seamless communication from sensor to cloud.

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Exp Connect

In a world of uncertainties, technology is the one constant that continues to move

Nowhere is this more evident than with the emergence of the Internet of Things (Io transmit and share data over wireless networks. Bridging the gap between the phy linking these devices to everyday settings and tasks that help individuals, business And it’s growing fast.

TE Connectivity and Heilind Electronics provide product sol

IoT Smart Surveillance

Smart Metering Sensors


plore Smart tivity Solutions


us forward to create a safer, sustainable, more productive and connected future.

oT), the system of uniquely identified interconnected devices that are enabled to ysical and virtual worlds, the IoT is helping to create smart environments by ses and potentially whole societies, live in a smarter and more comfortable way.

lutions for the following IoT applications and environments:

IoT Antenna Solutions

HVAC (Smart Building)




limits receive sensitivity, lowering the cellular system’s reliability, data rate, and capacity— counterproductive to the promise of 5G. WHAT CAUSES PIM? Connectors, cables, and termination quality all have the potential to play a role in PIM. Performance degradation may occur as a result of the non-linear junction of components and materials, or in other words, in junctions where the current does not increase linearly with voltage. To minimize PIM, ensure connectors are properly and securely tightened and choose suitable materials and platings to help reduce potential PIM issues. Eliminate non-linear contacts within the RF interconnect and poor electrical contacts. PIM issues can also occur as a result of loose parts, ferrous materials, parts with rough surfaces, residual flux, oxidation, etc. If conductive material is used, particulates on the

5G is currently the fastest growing segment of the wireless infrastructure market. 5G small cell and DAS systems will play a critical role as the telecom industry increasingly builds 5G infrastructure, substantially increasing demand for RF interconnect solutions that accommodate essential connections in smaller, more compact installations while minimizing passive intermodulation (PIM) effects. PIM is the result of a distortion generated by two or more high-power signals that interact with non-linear characteristics in the RF path. When multiple high-power frequencies occur on the same RF interconnect, additional frequencies may form and raise the noise floor. PIM is an issue for a multitude of wireless systems, but it is more noticeable in cellular applications such as 5G because its high frequency bands are very close to each other. The resulting PIM effects can create interference that


face of the dielectric or within the interface itself will cause problems and may move directly within the connectors when installed. TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR CHOOSING LOW PIM RF INTERCONNECTS Utilizing low PIM coaxial cable assemblies can help alleviate PIM effects. Various options are available depending on the type of 5G subsystem being designed. These include semi-rigid low PIM cables, low loss, low PIM corrugated copper cables

cable may be damaged if the maximum bend radius is exceeded.

This could create a kink, which would require the cable to be replaced. However, the damage may not be apparent until the system degrades and the troubleshooting process begins. New low PIM cable assemblies use a tinned, copper, flat-braid outer conductor construction to create an ultra- flexible cable with a durable FEP outer jacket to help alleviate this issue.

(which also come in a fire-retardant version), and helically corrugated designs that create a more flexible and rugged cable. On the other hand, installations within smaller internal packages with less physical space increasingly require coaxial cable assemblies that can accommodate tight bend radii. Unfortunately, flexibility does not typically go along with PIM performance, and a low PIM corrugated copper

Additionally, the connector is an integral component within the RF cable assembly. As cables get smaller, connectors need to do so as well. As a result, miniature connector configurations, including the NEX 10 or 1.0-2.3, are increasingly being used. These connector types are designed for low PIM performance and are available with a threaded coupling. Snap-on designs are emerging as well.


LOW PIM ASSEMBLY TESTING Testing RF assemblies for PIM as a type of quality measurement is also a critical step in the process. Reputable manufacturers will perform both static and dynamic testing on all RF interconnects. A standard test is to place two 20-watt signals on the RF interconnect to look at the third-order harmonic, typically the harmonic of the largest magnitude. Most testing requirements are looking for -153 dBc or better. There are two types of tests. The first is a static bench test that is performed with no movement of the cable. This is a relatively easy test if the proper materials and platings are used and all threaded connections are appropriately tightened. The second is a dynamic test, where the connectors are tapped to detect any conductive particles within the interface, and the cable is flexed or side- loaded behind each connector. The dynamic test is a much higher bar to meet. The flexing of the cable will transmit a force to the electrical transition between the cable and the connectors and detect any non-linear contact within the shift.

Dynamic IEC- recommended tests to ensure jumpers meet or exceed PIM standards. For traceability purposes, test results should be made available in an easily accessible location or even individually barcoded on each cable for easy reference. testing should replicate As 5G networks become the telecommunications infrastructure of choice, new system designs that accommodate higher frequencies will be required. One of the critical considerations in 5G network design should be the use of low PIM RF interconnects to help maximize performance. There are a variety of innovative options emerging to meet these needs. Ensure that any RF assembly ultimately chosen meets the optimal materials considerations for each unique project, and that the products have undergone thorough testing by a reputable manufacturer with easy to find results.

To learn more, visit Times Microwave Systems.



High-tech machines are just one link in the production chain

The growing benefits and functionality offered by connected or intelligent devices has led to the proliferation of smart connectivity in all sectors. Businesses and users need better and faster devices, and often prefer them to be smaller as well. This implies more complex electronic systems. To address this trend, smart connectivity has become an important function in a vast range of devices. The interconnects that support this connectivity have also evolved to become more

versatile and powerful. Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities offer end-users, connector producers, and OEMs many benefits, including: Faster, more effective devices. • Ease of implementing device updates. • Reduction of cost and time. • More efficient maintenance and repairs at competitive costs. • These benefits come with certain risks that can only be prevented through collaboration with an electrical contact manufacturer that measures all


the issues at stake for the customer’s business. Before selecting or reassessing a contacts manufacturer, consider the basic criteria all suppliers must meet. All suppliers of standard or customized contacts should be able to deliver the following basic elements: • Technical expertise. Clear comprehension of electrical properties, plugging, and unplugging. • Deep understanding of the raw materials. Copper alloy and other alloys, aluminum, beryllium, brass, bronze, stainless steel, etc., as well as experience processing them and understanding their differences. The supplier should be able to guarantee the slots have adequate hardness and elasticity. Moreover, production must be resistant to any hazardous environmental condition considering that even small contacts play an essential role in the connectors’ functionality. • Plating. Understand the interactions of each coating (gold, silver, tin, etc.), as this element will play a crucial part in the contacts’ performance and connectivity transfer. • Performance. Be able to machine parts that comply precisely with market standards. Contacts must have tight tolerances under all circumstances, including in harsh environments. • Adaptability. The supplier should be able to handle different volumes, including prototyping. • Flexibility. Have the ability to customize production to the customer’s specifications. • Cutting-edge technology. Ensure high- precision with high-speed transfer machines, Swiss-screw high-speed machines, multi-

axis CNC machines, and others. High-tech machinery provides a balance between product flow and complex operations. • Ability to meet deadlines. The ability to consistently deliver on time is essential. To meet smart connectivity requirements, however, an electrical contact manufacturer should go beyond meeting the basic criteria and provide these additional elements.

The right engineering support guarantees outstanding contacts production.

1. Engineering support The right technical guidance makes all the difference. Having a contacts producer with a technical support team of engineers who can provide reengineering, design for manufacturing, and review and adapt technical drawings is essential. They should have the skills to work on a wide range of technical developments, help resolve technical issues, and turn your ideas into successful products and solutions 2. Co-design experience Customers tend to collaborate closely with precision contact suppliers, as the quality of the part greatly impacts the final connector product. The electrical contacts partner should participate in every aspect of the technical design process


in order to gain a better understanding of the product and supplier needs and pass on valuable instructions. The suppliers’ technical teams must be involved at an early stage of the project. In addition, they need a clear vision of the connector’s requirements and lead prototype production. 3. Solid knowledge of connectors and electrical contacts The best contacts collaborators have a deep technical understanding of PCB and connector designs, whether they be RF connectors (coax, twinax, triax, quadrax, octoax), fiber optics, circular, rectangular, and triangular, ARINC 400 & 600, D-Sub, micro-D, or nano-D. The best producer must be capable of processing all types of parts (e.g., pin and socket, bent, multi angles, extreme small size) to meet specific needs. This expertise can be reflected in the mastery of socket production, including slots repositioning. Search for a partner who is familiar with production of complex parts. To address smart connectivity specifications, a contact supplier must also be an expert in dealing with, long and thin contacts with small diameters, along with being able to co-design and manufacture miniature contacts as devices get smaller. This in-depth knowledge of both connectors and contacts is necessary for perfect positioning and smooth assembly, taking into consideration mating and unmating cycles in addition to power transmission.

the design, production, and assembly of contacts, contact suppliers should understand some of the challenges connector providers and OEMs face throughout the life cycle of connected devices.

Double bended socket with PCB tail termination by Lemco Précision.

The contact production procedure must be adaptable to different technologies. For instance, screw-machining, cutting clips, or cold heading may best serve a particular design. This versatility is important, as suppliers that can treat all types of pieces can provide a more custom solution to

4. Versatility, innovation, and solutions In addition to addressing the issues related to


meet the specific needs of the customer or device.

who will contribute to the performance of smart equipment should be sensitive to the following benchmarks: Product compatibility with smart electronic systems Electronic component suppliers must consider how their products work as part of a larger entity. This applies to electrical contacts and how the connectors they go in play a significant role in the bandwidth transmission on connected devices. Contacts manufacturers, therefore, must understand crimp and termination challenges. With this perspective, while conducting screw machine parts operations, a producer must be able to commit to vetting and ensuring that the parts are compatible with underlying electronic systems in the final device. This can only be achieved with the involvement of engineers from the contact production plants.

The contacts provider must also anticipate the customer’s future needs and provide solutions. For instance, connectors sometimes can be damaged or become faulty. Replacement may be required or individual contacts might need repair, which can be time-consuming and expensive. Alternative solutions, such as innovative contacts that can be repaired or changed without involving other parts of the electronic system save connector OEMs and

Micro-Isostatic removable pin reducing size, space, and weight of applications by Lemco Précision.

Security at all costs: stringent quality procedures

their customers time and money.

Elements of the IoT can be vulnerable to hacking, which is especially dangerous for vital information transmitted through medical, mil/ aero, and civil aviation applications. Stringent quality controls, such as forces control, slots,

5. An understanding of smart connectivity needs The IoT brings lots of benefits but smart connectivity is not free of risks or challenges. A contact supplier


and minimum weight and length inspections, must be in place at every step of the process. In addition to human verification, automated controls (i.e., camera inspection with two cameras in cascade, especially for checking symmetrical parts) help support the target of zero faults. These checks must cover not only the manufactured parts but also their integration into an external support, for example, testing with customer cables. Avoid suppliers who outsource operations, as they cannot guarantee a high level of security and quality controls in their partners’ workshop.

Master the production chain and keep control on all components’ traceability.

High performance and cost-efficiency Too often, connector providers and OEMs will sacrifice the quality of their components for lower costs. However, now some contacts suppliers can help reduce the overall costs of production without compromising high quality and performance. One solution is to reduce the amount of gold used; selective plating is one way to maintain high quality without exceeding the budget. 6. All-in-one: vertical production plus all ancillary essential services For better results, connector manufacturers may use contact producers that can apply vertical production, although very few exist. These suppliers can execute all production steps, from co-designing to final production. This includes conducting all activities such as retrofitting, screw- machining, secondary-operations machining even on complex operations (notably on extremely small sizes), bending, partial annealing, plating, assembly, color coding, surface treatment, 100% forces control, and more. Bringing together in one place all the trades involved in bar turning is essential for optimum production. In addition to engineers, the company should have technicians with solid knowledge beyond machining, i.e., reparameterization of machines to upgrade a system for better performance. A full-service contact manufacturer offers OEMs and connector suppliers a great advantage, as centralizing design and production eliminates

Innovative, efficient and exclusive alternative solution do gold-plating – by Lemco Précision


Vertical integration production is a guarantee of high performance parts.

the need to manage different subcomponent suppliers. In addition, an all-in-one solution saves time and money. A first-class producer should deliver additional services, such as engineering expertise for constant study of market evolution, research & development, technical support, packaging, and vendor managed inventory (VMI) and stock management.

You are in the best position to choose a supplier of electronic components for your company and product needs. However, when it comes to selecting an electrical contacts manufacturer, look for a company that provides more than screw- machined parts, one that can anticipate your future needs and challenges, and provide you with more services and effective solutions.

To learn more, visit Lemco Précision.




An autonomous tractor with 5G connectivity generates and collects data using IoT networks. (Image credit: Adobe Stock)

SMART FARMING, THE IOT, AND HIGH- SPEED CONNECTIONS IoT technology has the potential to increase crop yield, improve agricultural commodity quality, and reduce costs in nearly every aspect of commercial farming. Reaching that potential depends upon fast, reliable connectivity throughout the network. Without this vital link, technology such as sensors,

Smart farming, sometimes called Agriculture 4.0, incorporates Internet of Things (IoT) technology into farming operations. Farmers used to rely upon historical data and their own experience to make decisions. Today, they use sensors, robots, drones, and artificial intelligence (AI) to initiate more informed, data-driven growing and harvest processes.


location systems, robots, and drones are unable to communicate, limiting their synergistic value to the farmer. Connected devices are useful in many key agricultural applications, such as: • Crop selection and planning

• Soil preparation • Soil monitoring • Seed selection

• Seed sowing • Fertilizer use • Irrigation control • Harvesting • Packaging and storing

REAPING THE BENEFITS OF SMARTER FARMING IoT technology helps farmers determine the optimal combination of water, energy, fertilizer, and other inputs. Real-time data allows farmers to detect problems, like plant diseases, as they develop. With this improved precision and control, yields can be significantly increased. By automating processes such as sowing, treating crops, and harvesting, farmers are less dependent on a fluctuating labor market. More precise weather forecasting and monitoring soil moisture help reduce water usage, which lowers costs and enhances sustainability. Overall, efficient land management helps minimize the impact on the environment through reduced energy consumption and gas emissions. M8 CONNECTORS: THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR SENSOR-BASED APPLICATIONS Compact and versatile, M8 connectors offer the most effective connectivity solution for smart farming applications that depend on sensor technology.

Robotic arm harvesting hydroponic lettuce in a smart greenhouse. (Image credit: Adobe Stock)


Connecting multiple sensors enables real-time updates, allowing data-driven responses to changing conditions. For example, M8 connectors are used in smart greenhouses to connect the network of sensors that prompt adjustments in irrigation, lighting, temperature, and spraying that is critical to these sensitive microclimates. They are also used in the remote monitoring systems that measure indoor CO2, humidity, soil moisture, soil pH, and air pressure. In addition to greenhouse applications, M8 connectors are ideal for chemical control, disease prevention, crop monitoring, irrigation control, and supply chain traceability. M8 FEATURES AND OPTIONS Finding the best M8 connector for an application requires the right combination of variations, such as pin number, housing, or IP level of protection. M8 connectors are available with 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, or 12 pins. The ideal pin count depends on the application. Most M8 sensor and power applications use 3 to 12 pins, whereas PROFINET and Ethernet use only 4. M8 connectors are extremely versatile and can be further customized by selecting other options such as: • Gender: male, female, male/female • Termination style: screw, solder, wired, PCB, or IDT (Insulation Displacement Termination) • Housing material: plastic, metal, or stainless steel • Contact plating material: Au (gold) • Degree of protection: IP67, IP68, or IP69K • Cable jacket: PUR or PVC

• Connector Type: Panel mounted, cordset, or field attachable

• Rated voltage: 30V – 60V • Rated current: 1A – 4A

M8-D CONNECTORS: THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR DATA TRANSMISSION APPLICATIONS The M8 D-code, or M8-D, is ideal for smart farming applications where fast, reliable data transmission between devices is critical. This connector provides a cost-efficient way to connect miniaturized sensors in Ethernet networks. The M8-D is easily adaptable to a wide variety of applications, meeting data transmission requirements while taking up minimal space. M8-D connectors deliver data rates of up to 100 Mb/s in almost a third less space than M12 connectors, making them the better choice for applications that use miniaturized sensors, such as: • Seeding and planting • Surveying • Vehicle and machinery control • Harvesting • Chemical control and disease prevention • Crop monitoring • Irrigation control • Soil management • Air pressure measurement and regulation in greenhouses M8-D FEATURES AND OPTIONS The M8-D is available with 4 pins, the ideal pin count for most data transmission applications using PROFINET and Ethernet IP Protocols, and Power over Ethernet (PoE and PoE+) technology.


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