24 Jul 2024

AUTOMATION FOR MANUFACTURING

NFC-equipped connectors will talk to smartphones

TE Connectivity’s NFC-equipped connectors will help to provide data for Industry 4.0 applications

At the recent SPS IPC Drives show, TE Connectivity was demonstrating industrial connectors with built-in NFC (near-field communications) chips, allowing them to communicate with NFC-equipped smartphones and other devices. TE suggests that this capability will help to provide data for Industry 4.0 applications such as preventative maintenance.

TE envisages the NFC connectors being used to send two forms of data: generic “type” data, providing 3D models, datasheets and other information related to the connector; and application-specific “instance” data, such as temperatures, mating cycles, cable ages, and so on. The data can be displayed on Web pages on a smartphone or elsewhere.

“Connectors with NFC chips will help industrial companies respond to many new challenges they have to face if they want to make their factories truly smart,” predicts TE Connectivity’s motor connectivity application manager, Siegfried Funk. “Among those challenges is the need to make manufacturing more flexible and production more efficient.”

Data-driven decisions, he adds, lead to greater efficiencies in how manufacturers use energy, raw materials, people and money, while increasing quality and flexibility.

“It all starts with the connector, because so much information passes through it,” Funk points out. “If we can tap into that information, communicate it and record it, we are well on the way to the digital factory. Our goal is to transform the concept of the smart factory into an operational reality.”

The smart connectors could verify the authenticity of hardware to simplify registration management and reduce time needed for machine documentation and spare parts management.