The GigaDock1 connector from Multi-Contact has been nominated as a top-five product for the 2015 Automation Award. GigaDock1 is a Gigabit Ethernet connector for automated docking systems in tough industrial environments. It is designed for more than 1,000,000 connection cycles and transfer rates of 1 Gbit/s.

The connector is easily integrated into Gigabit Ethernet networks. It is supplied as a fully readymade assembly for installing in docking plates or tool changers. Standard M12 x-coded network cables for Ethernet CAT 6A can be easily connected via plug & play.

In automated production lines, GigaDock 1 serves as a GigE Vision interface for image data transfer. Today, a small number of 3-D cameras and 3-D laser scanners can map out the robots’ working environment – rather than a large number of sensors. The image data is transferred and evaluated in real time. In the area of vehicle construction, production processes can thus be optimized and doors and wheels, for example, attached to moving vehicles. Commissioning and maintenance, as well as storage, are made considerably easier, as fewer parts need to be attached and fewer of the various spare parts stocked. It also saves on space and weight.

For multi-couplings, GigaDock1 can be combined for specific applications with signal, bus and power connectors as well as with media couplings for air and liquids. This enables individual modules in modular production lines that are converted for different tasks to be connected swiftly and safely via connectors. All modules require a reliable energy supply and need to communicate both with the control system and with each other.

GigaDock1 opens up new applications for Gigabit Ethernet in docking plates with extremely high numbers of connection cycles, such as those used in testing systems and test beds, for example for gearboxes, engines, or transmission. The heart of the connector is the patented MC MULTILAM technology. It ensures efficient energy transfer with low performance loss and thus a long Fig. 1: GigaDock1 is available as a straight or right-angled version; Ethernet network cables can be easily connected via plug & play.

Multi-Contact at SPS IPC Drives: Hall 10.0, stand 230