M12 connectors power industrial applications

Author : David Phillips | Managing Director, binder UK & Director of International Sales, the binder group

01 July 2022

Industrial_Robot binder article image
Industrial_Robot binder article image

In the competitive world of industrial connectivity, the M12 connector is a highly popular solution. Part of the metric connector family which includes the smaller M5 & M8, the M12 has found a huge range of applications within industry & beyond, says David Phillips, Managing Director of binder UK & Director of International Sales for specialists in circular connectors for industrial & automation technology, the binder group…

This article was originally featured in the July 2022 issue of EPDT magazine [read the digital issue]. And sign up to receive your own copy each month.

The M12 delivers a range of features that make it ideal as a connectivity solution for the tough environment of the factory floor. The key to the M12 series is its screw locking system, using the 12mm metric thread that gives the connector its name. This threaded locking system creates a secure connection, and the cylindrical design is both compact and strong, making the M12 ideal for the tough conditions found in industrial applications. Many M12 connectors even offer protection against harsh environments and are sealed against moisture and chemical ingress.

Popular & versatile

The features of the M12 have made it a popular choice for designers of industrial automation equipment, who value the connector system’s versatility. The ability of the M12 to deliver power, data and signal has led to its adoption for a wide range of devices. However, the possibility of mating a connector carrying power to a delicate sensor or a network router creates the potential for dangerous situations.

To minimise this risk, the M12 connector employs features that will prevent incorrect employment. Each application uses a different combination of contact arrangements and keyways that are unique to specific applications, governed by a series of codes. Each code has been created to suit a particular type of use.

AC & DC power

M12 cable-mounted connector
M12 cable-mounted connector

The M12 Power family from binder delivers connectors that are suitable for both AC and DC power applications. The 814 and 824 series are suitable for power installations up to 630 V AC. The 814 series features S-coding and is available with 2 poles or 3 poles, plus a leading earth pin to provide electrical safety in AC applications. They are capable of currents up to 16 A, while the K-code 824 series features 4 poles and an earth contact (4+PE), capable of carrying 12 A.

For connectors intended for direct current, the 813 and 823 series are designed to provide 63 V power. The 813 series uses T-coding and is fitted with 4 contacts that can carry currents of up to 16 A. Its partner is the L-coded 823 series that offers an extra earth contact and is rated to currents of 12 A.

All members of binder’s M12 Power family share a number of key features. All are sealed to IP67, which means that they are protected against the moisture typically found on the factory floor. This makes them ideal for demanding industrial processes, while also providing solutions for connectors in a wide range of other exposed installations, from architectural lighting to security equipment.

Virtually all M12 installations will include a cable-mounted connector. The M12 Power family offers installers a range of choices to suit different requirements. For new equipment, designers can make extensive use of pre-made cables. These cables feature cable protection that is overmoulded directly onto theconnector to create a slim, sealed termination that is fully-tested and ready for use. This saves an enormous amount of time during installation and makes the task simpler.

Not all applications can make use of ready-made cables. Some installations take place in hard-to-reach locations, while others require repairs and maintenance to be carries out on a machine already in use. For these occasions, the M12 Power family from offers field wireable solutions. Using screw clamp connections, they can be installed in the field with common hand tools. This makes the M12 Power family ideal for maintenance personnel who must repair or reroute cables in-situ.

M12 panel-mounted connector
M12 panel-mounted connector

Panel mounting options

Alongside cable connectors, the M12 Power family includes a comprehensive range of panel-mounting connectors. These are used for equipment and bulkhead-mounting applications, and are available in wired and printed circuit board (dip solder) versions. Offering the same environmental protection as the cable-mounted connectors, these panel mounting solutions are ideal for providing power to the machines and equipment that must be installed on the factory floor.

The M12 Power family also features a range of control cabinet feed-throughs. These are panel-mounted, double ended connectors that allow the easy mating of cables from the modules in the control cabinet to the equipment installed in the field. They are available in the same range of coding options as the conventional connectors, adding a great deal of flexibility to installation.

There will sometimes be occasions on which designers cannot find the perfect solution. While the M12 Power family offers a range of options and contact arrangements, some applications require a mix of small, signal connections with the robustness of power contacts. Drawing upon its extensive expertise in providing customised solutions for custom applications, binder can design and manufacture custom M12 connectors. These combine different contact types to create a connector solution that is tailored to customers’ requirements, while taking advantage of the features and familiarity of the M12 family.

The M12 Power family from binder offers a comprehensive solution to the problem of providing power connectivity in harsh conditions. With features that are ideal for the factory automation industry and beyond, the M12 Power family delivers reliability and versatility, even in the most demanding applications.

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