InnoTrans: HARTING solutions for weight reduction and fast data transfer

At this year's InnoTrans (September 18-21, 2018 in Berlin, Hall 12 / Stand 203), the world's leading trade fair for the rail industry, HARTING will once again be showcasing numerous innovative solutions and products. At the same time, the technology group will focus on the three trend topics of Weight Reduction, Easy Handling and Data Increase.

Weight reduction plays an increasingly important role in rail vehicle construction, and connectors can make a measurable contribution here. For trains and trams, the continuous transition from metal to plastic can reduce the weight of connector housings by up to 50% from one generation to the next.

HARTING has further developed the Han-Eco® B lightweight plastic connectors to make them compatible with metal housing connectors of the same size.

Consequently, HARTING has extended the Han-Eco® plastic connector series by adding housings in Han B® size. The advantage: the housings are plug-compatible with Han® connectors in metal housings. This makes HARTING's connectors even more flexible. HARTING offers the largest selection of contact inserts for industrial connectors. More than 100 different modules and at least as many monoblocks are available for the transmission of power, data, signals and compressed air.

The plastic housings are not only lightweight, they can also be mounted quickly. For standard connectors, cables must be routed through a mounting cut-out in order to assemble the inserts on the control cabinet. With the Han-Eco® B, monoblocks and modular inserts can be pre-assembled and snap directly into the mounting housing. The new option makes work easier: harnesses and control cabinets can be prepared separately for final assembly.

More functions, small space requirements

Modularisation and miniaturisation open up new possibilities in numerous areas. By using increasingly smaller, at times modular connectors, more functions can be combined in a smaller space. This not only reduces the weight of the connectors, but also their space requirements. This gives users more flexibility when designing rail vehicles and opens up further opportunities to save costs in this area.

Given this, the past few years have seen HARTING in particular develop the High Pressure Railway (HPR) housing series in such a way that more connector modules fit into one housing. One of the largest HPR housings, the Han® 34 HPR, can now accommodate up to four 650 A high-current contacts or twelve Han-Modular® single modules. In the past, two housings each had to be equipped with six Han-Modular® individual modules to supply a comparable data volume.

Higher power density in the High Pressure Railway series: the Han® 34 HPR housing can now fit up to four 650 A high current contacts or 12 Han-Modular® modules.

Another HARTING solution that can help to reduce weight in railway applications is the Han® 22 HPR Slim motor connector, which is particularly suitable for underfloor applications due to its compact, flat design. Through miniaturisation, HARTING succeeded in creating space for four contacts in the connector – without sacrificing performance.

Ethernet over Single Twisted Pair

In order to save weight and still be able to handle the same volume of data, for rail technology HARTING will in future rely on Ethernet via Single Twisted Pair and small T1 connectors according to IEC 61076-3-125. For cable lengths up to 40 meters, IEEE 802.3bp (1000 BASE-T1) can transmit 1Gbit/s, while the cable length is about one-third lighter than conventional 8-wire Ethernet cable. Commercially available Ethernet cable with four wire pairs for 1/10Gbit/s Ethernet weighs about 45 kg per kilometre. A single-pair cable with the same bandwidth weighs only 30 kg per kilometre. Since several kilometres of cable are installed in the cars of passenger trains alone, there is considerable potential for saving vehicle weight here.

Tool-less assembly via PushPull

HARTING offers its PushPull solutions in order to simplify assembly and service in the railway sector (Easy Handling) and make it more reliable. The M12 circular connector is now also available with PushPull locking. For device connection technology, there is also the easy-to-use PushPull system in the square connector variant 4. Both with M12 and with variant 4, the secure transmission of power, signals and data up to Cat. 6A can be managed problem-free.

To simplify assembly, HARTING offers PushPull locking systems for the circular connector M12 and the square connector variant 4.

The advantage of PushPull connectors is their tool-free installation, regardless of whether round or square versions are used. They are simply gripped and mated. An audible click signals that the connectors have been securely locked and correctly connected – and thereby saves up to 75% of assembly time.

Service-friendly drive control with the Multifibre module

In trains, IGBT semiconductor elements control high-performance electric drives, which are connected to the required insulation via plastic fiber optic cables. The previous connection between controller and driver board, i.e. control and motor side, was managed using single fibers. The electro-optical conversion of the signals takes place in the transceivers of the printed circuit board, wherein optical contacts make the connection to the fibres. Each optical fiber has a single connector on both the driver and controller boards that house the transceivers. With this previous solution, all transmit and receive elements on the controller board require significant space, and the board is unnecessarily enlarged.

HARTING offers users a new, miniaturised solution in IGBT control – the Multifibre module. The technology group has thus developed a transmission principle that includes the transfer of the transceivers of the controller board into a pluggable module and in this way integrates the optical interface according to the principle of "plug electrically and transmit optically". In the future, only a robust interface will need to be serviced in the event of maintenance, and not up to sixteen sensitive optical contacts.