ERNI, represented in Australia by Erntec , has released a four-pin M12 automation connector with D-coding. The connectors can be used to implement a flexible input-output (I/O) or field-bus connection on the circuit board. They meet Industrial Ethernet standards (IEC 61067-2-101, Amendment 1).
M12 connectors are recommended for nearly all field-bus specifications and meet the IP67 protection standards rating (IEC 61076-2-101). They are traditionally used to connect sensors and actuators in automation systems. An expansion (Amendment 1) of the IEC 61076-2-101 standard describes a four-pole, D-coded variant specified for a higher protective class of Industrial Ethernet applications. From the perspective of transmission technology, these requirements correspond to those of a Category-5 modular jack (RJ45) connector, according to the EIA/TIA standard. The D-coding prevents the connector from being confused with the A-coding used for sensor-actuator wiring, or the B-coding used with some field buses.
The connectors' modular design concept makes it possible to produce connectors in different sizes and versions. Customers may choose the desired connection technique (surface mount [SMD], press-fit, or through-hole reflow [THR]). The black insulator is made of high-temperature-resistant plastic and is suitable for soldering with all the usual SMT procedures. The M12 connector's contacts are so robust that a vibration device can be used to feed them in bulk-material packaging. Tape-on-reel packaging is also available. The new M12 connectors are already designed for lead-free processing, which will be mandatory beginning in July 2006.