Connections...

Remember that great PBS show, "Connections"? The one that showed that modern computing came from making linen, or that the space program came directly from the invention of gunpowder? Well, connections can be really prosaic, too. One of the largest manufacturers of connectors in the world, Lumberg, is showing at SPS, and I spent time looking at what they have. I was all primed to look at their stuff because of the visit of the Turck Caravan last week...Turck also makes connectors, as does ifm efector and a couple of others. Lumberg is different in that they ONLY make connectors, while the rest of the pack makes lots of other stuff, too. I've used Lumberg connectors for years as an integrator and vendor. (Used the other ones too, so this doesn't sound like a Lumberg sales pitch). The Europeans began connectorizing the discrete manufacturing environment years ago, and the connectorizing trend has made it, via the automotive and food industries, into the North American mainstream. As the expertise and institutional knowledge melts away from both process plants and service companies, it is becoming a very attractive proposition to connectorize EVERYTHING. You can't make wiring mistakes if you don't have to wire terminal strips. Lumberg and their competition also makes terrific cable concentrators, and networking tools. Lumberg said that the cost of wiring a process automation skid is much lower using connectorized cables, and the maintenance cost is also lower. They announced an innovative shipping program for even highly customized cables, overnight, anywhere. Nice. This is the sort of thinking that will keep companies growing.