About connecting things together...

On Friday, a whole gang of us went over to the Woodhead facility in Northbrook, IL. Last week was clearly about connectivity, with visiting Turck and Woodhead in the same week. Woodhead makes connectors and cable sets, as do their parent, Molex. So they compete with Turck, with ifm efector, with Lumberg, and a host of others who make connectors and cord sets. They make them for power, too. They have a demonstration "machine cell" that has all of its AC power connections "connectorized," as well as its sensor and digital network connections. Woodhead makes some nice stuff. But what I really want to talk about is that there is no reason why more connectorized stuff and more cable sets aren't being used in process automation. I think we're going to see lots more of it. I know that Turck, et al., have taken dead aim at the process automation part of the manufacturing industries. Why is this important? This is a mindset change in the process area. In the past, hardwiring of the "wire it and forget it" school has been the norm. However, what we have now is plants where the plant personnel do not know where the wires go.  If you think I'm kidding, ask around. "Reliable 'as-builts'?" asked one plant engineer of my acquaintance, "You wish!" What this means is that electricians have to go out with plant maintenance folks to troubleshoot wiring issues, or re-wire things. If you use a Turck or Woodhead or Lumberg or efector or whothedickenseverelse connectorized cordset, you can send any useful idiot (and we're hiring more of them every day, because we have to) to replace a busted wire. Not to mention the savings in FAT time, and error correction; after install troubleshooting and maintenance, especially of industrial networks and sensor and final control element connections. Now that process industries are becoming more interested in agility and mobility and are moving to skid mounted process components, like pharma and food have done already, you'll start to see more connectivity using connectors and cordsets. It makes sense.

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