Topics 11 August 2022
Safety Circuits - Easy to Wire Using WAGO's Pluggable PCB Connectors With Levers

Conventional industrial robots perform countless tasks, which can be monotonous, complex or dangerous. To make sure they present no risk to humans or the environment while they work, they are located in a protective environment whose access zones are monitored by safety switches or sensors. To make it easier to put a robot into operation in its future work environment, robot manufacturers rely on pluggable PCB connectors with levers from WAGO for wiring the safety circuits.

WAGO PCB Connectors with Lever

  • Intuitive and fast: tool-free wiring thanks to lever technology
  • Tight and safe: stable fit of the PCB connector
  • Convenient and easy: wiring by hand in hard-to-reach places

Industrial robots can lift objects, turn them over, carry and move them, screw or weld components on or paint them; their uses are limitless. They automate processes in automotive manufacturing, food production, logistics, medical device manufacturing and much more. Almost every industry uses robots; the product the robot produces can be tiny or enormous. The customer selects the appropriate robot size for the task at hand according to the required load capacity, reach and speed. But industrial robots aren’t the only element that has to be able to adapt to different tasks and environments – in addition to the robot controller, the control cabinet also has to be flexible. This leads to difficulty of access in many cases – for example, it might be located especially high up or low down within the robot’s protective environment. Furthermore, space is tight in the control cabinet. To accommodation this, the connection technology also needs to shrink. WAGO’s compact MCS MINI Pluggable PCB Connector with levers provides the solution.

Jumpers Simulate a Closed Circuit

As a rule, system manufacturers integrate industrial robots directly into a production system. The industrial robot is often located behind a protective fence or window. The robot can do its work when the doors and windows of the protective environment are closed, but, in order to protect humans and the environment, the robot has to stop as soon as a fence, door or window opens. This is ensured by special safety circuits that interrupt the power supply. When the robot and its controller are first delivered, these safety circuits are not yet connected to the corresponding switches and sensors of the safety fences and doors. To ensure that the robot axes can still be moved for installation and commissioning, the safety circuits are initially closed by jumpers, so the robot can also work in the state in which it is delivered.

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PCB Connection Technology: Small lever, big effect

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Successful Wiring with No Tools or Extra Hands

After commissioning, the jumpers are replaced with safety switch cables and protective fence sensors, for example. Pluggable PCB connectors with levers make wiring these cables especially easy. An installer can raise several levers simultaneously without tools and remove the jumpers. Then the installer routes the safety switch cables to the corresponding clamping point and lowers the lever. “The lever speeds up the wiring process – successful installation requires no extra hands,” says Jörn Picker, Product Manager for PCB Connections at WAGO, explaining the advantage of the variant with levers. It also offers safety during the process of connecting conductors. If the lever is up, the clamping point is open; if the lever is down, the clamping point is closed reliably. “The installer can tell the wiring status by just looking at it,” explains Jörn Picker. The Push-in CAGE CLAMP® connection even allows solid conductors and fine-stranded conductors with ferrules to be plugged in directly without the lever being raised. The MCS MINI Pluggable PCB Connector with levers, with a cross-section range from 0.14 to 1.5 mm², is particularly compact: Its pin spacing is just 3.5 mm, and it is less than 10 mm tall.

The installer can tell the wiring status by just looking at the lever.

Jörn Picker, Product Manager for PCB Connections at WAGO

Easy Wiring in Hard-to-Reach Environments with Pluggable Connectors

It is also important for the system manufacturer to have a pluggable PCB connection for wiring the safety circuit in the control cabinet. After all, the control cabinet may be installed very far up or down, making the corresponding wiring location difficult for the installer to get at. In addition, space in the control cabinet may be so tight that wiring is difficult or impossible once the connections are already plugged in. WAGO’s pluggable PCB connectors with levers are a great help, since the installer can simply pull them out of the male header and wire them in hand.

Whether for automobile or medical equipment manufacturing or for handling items in logistics – for wiring industrial robots’ safety circuits, the MCS MINI PCB Pluggable PCB Connector’s levers contribute to safer and easier use.