Automating the factory

Industrial automation has come a long way in recent years and covers everything from connectivity to control and protection. Many of the products needed are found in the ranges from RS Components.


Automation is the technique of making an apparatus, a process or a system operate automatically. Industrial automation provides benefits to a wide range of industry sectors such as manufacturing including food and beverage, transportation, telecommunications, and facility operations including security and energy management.

Users of industrial automation include machine and panel builders and maintenance engineers working on industrial panels, industrial enclosures and cabinets, human machine interface, drives and controls, industrial Ethernet, industrial communications, plant and machinery, production equipment, robotics, and industrial thermal management.

A comprehensive range of such products can be found from one supplier – RS Components – which can reliably service just about all industrial and factory automation application requirements. Key products in this range include industrial connectors, rectangular and network connectors, switches, indicators and relays, fans and thermal management, fuses and circuit breakers, and circuit protection devices.


Industrial connectors

For industrial machine and panel interconnect requirements, the RS range includes power, circular, automotive, heavy duty, M12, Han D, IEC, DIN and panel connectors. Take, for example, the bulkhead surface mount Han 16B EMC 2 by 40mm connector range from Harting. These are based on the Han B standard hoods and housings with identical dimensions and panel cut outs. The electrical contact between hood and housing is achieved by means of a metal adaptor frame. This frame is fixed on the bulkhead mounted housing and replaces the sealing. The housing has a large contact surface towards the panel. IP65 rating is achieved by O-ring sealings. They use the Han Easy-Lock system.

Also popular are the SL61 19-pole female straight cable mount industrial and automation circular connectors from Amphenol. These are for industrial and electronic applications and there is a choice of straight or angled connectors and accessories such as blanking plugs and sealing sleeves.

The RS line of industrial connectors also includes products from Mennekes, Lumberg and Hirschmann.


Rectangular and network connectors

Aimed at data network and industrial Ethernet interconnect requirements are the RS range of RJ45, Cat 5E, Ethernet, telecoms, USB, and D-sub connectors and cables. This range includes an AMP 8/8 way RJ45 data plug from TE Connectivity. This can be used for voice and data applications. These modular plugs come in standard and small conductor, unshielded or shielded, with two, four, six, eight or ten terminals. They are also available in line and keyed housing styles and contain solid wire terminals or stranded wire terminals; each terminal design is optimised for its specific design.

Other network connectors can be found in the ranges from Harting, Molex and ERNI.


Switches, inductors and relays

Machine and panel switch indicator and relay requirements can be handled by RS’ range of panel, key, push button, emergency stop, joystick, rocker and toggle switches, panel mount LED and neon indicators, and retro-fit LED lamps. For example, the IP65 rated 3000 series of contactless joysticks from Apem are rated at 40mA and 5V and have a mechanical life of five million cycles. They are available in two or three axes formats and are designed for performance, strength and robustness. The EMC-shielded products come prewired with cables and connectors and use Hall Effect sensing. Typical applications include remote control, industrial, CCTV, wheel chairs, motor control and remote booms for movie camera.

More switches, inductors and relays are available in the ranges from market leading brands such as EAO, Saia Burgess, Marl, Oxley and Cherry.


Fans and thermal management

There are many options for enclosure and cabinet cooling including axial and centrifugal fans, blowers, filter fans, finger guards, fan controllers, enclosure heaters and thermostats. From ebm-papst is the D3G133-BF03-06 133mm, 230V EC (electronically commutated) dual inlet blower. The external rotor motor is integrated within the impeller, therefore reducing installation dimensions. EC motors are extremely quiet and operate at efficiencies of up to 90%. A harmonic filter is available. They are powered via the DC output from the fan and provide a 0 to 10V signal to enable infinitely variable speed control.

Other fan and thermal management products can be found in the ranges from Sunon, Pfannenberg and Stego Elektrotechnik.


Fuses and circuit breakers

Machines and equipment need to be protected and for that purpose RS has an extensive range of cartridge, automotive, British Standard BS88, European DIN standard and bottle fuse and fuse holders, as well as equipment circuit breakers. Developed by Littelfuse for the automotive industry, the ATOF fuse has become the original equipment circuit protection standard for cars and trucks. Readily identifiable and easily replaced, this fuse can be specified for a variety of low voltage electronic applications. Also available are products from brands such as Bussmann, Mersen and ETA.


Circuit protection

For equipment and data network circuit protection requirements is the RS range of power line, IEC inlet, chassis, fused, EMI and RFI filters, surge arrestors and surge suppressor units. Voltage surges, often referred to as spikes or transients, are typically caused by switching of fluorescent lights, fuses blowing, or nearby lightning activity. The worst voltage surges are usually caused by lightning and can reach up to 6kV, with current surges of over 3kA.

Available in the Dehn range are the DEHNguard modular type two surge arrestors, supplied as a pre-wired base with plug in modules. They are energy coordinated with other Dehn Redline products in accordance with BS7671 amendment one. They have a high discharge capacity using heavy-duty metal oxide varistors and spark gaps. Status indication is given using thermo dynamic control. Other circuit protection products are available from Schaffner and Epcos.



RS Components can provide a comprehensive product and brand offering to reliably service industrial and factory automation application requirements.