Compact, high-reliability and rugged connectors


David Phillips, Managing Director of binder UK, looks at some recent developments in the field of M12 sensor connectors.

M12 connectors are circular connectors with a 12mm locking thread and are universally used in factory automation systems for sensors, actuators, Fieldbus and industrial Ethernet. Often with ratings up to IP67 and beyond, they have now become ideal for multi-contact applications across a wide range of difficult environments.

M12 connectors are designed and built to be tough and robust, can be shielded and can offer protection up to IP69K. M12 connectors are the most commonly used connector for automation applications and are the industry standard for sensors for monitoring, measurement and safety systems, including inductive, capacitive or photoelectric devices, pressure transducers, light curtains and encoders.

The connector specialist binder has recently added to its wide product range with several new developments to meet the growing trend for M12 connectors to operate in ever more arduous conditions.


Outdoor applications

Originally intended for indoor applications, M12 connectors have now begun to be used successfully on outdoor equipment with field attachable versions generally rated to IP67 and moulded versions and receptacles to IP68. This makes them particularly ideal for wet and dirty conditions.

To meet the increasing demand for sensors and instrumentation for the most extreme conditions like those experienced in the offshore oil and gas industry or where resistance to ice, snow, salt spray, UV and ozone is required, binder has introduced a new range of M12 connectors specifically designed for outdoor use.

A UV plastic body and high-grade stainless steel provide high temperature and chemical resistance, polymeric seals protect to IP69K, and a tough protection cap with a lanyard ensures sealing even when unmated. Screw clamp terminations make them ideal for field assembly.


Food and beverage industries 

The more stringent hygiene requirements for machinery, systems and components in the food and beverage markets can be met with new binder connectors designed specifically for this market. These M12 A-coded connectors will be highly suited to applications in all types of industrial food processing, including milk and cheese dairies, abattoirs, bottling plants and food storage and will also find use in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries.

binder has used high-quality materials such as stainless steel, and special plastics are used with very smooth contours to prevent dirt adhesion. In addition, a high protection class (IP68 and IP69K) is provided to meet the requirements of high-pressure cleaning with the aggressive chemicals widely used in the industry.

The new range includes moulded and angled male and female cable connectors and connecting cables with M12 threads. The moulded heads are made from cream coloured RAL 9002 polypropylene plastic, and the cables have a grey PVC jacket. This specification ensures that these versions look different from the standard connectors and that the light-coloured surface means dirt and residue are easy to see. In addition to the existing tests and the UL certification under preparation, the connectors have been subjected to the Ecolab test seal that confirms the material’s resistance to detergents and disinfectants.

Tomorrow’s sensors will be required to operate in ever more difficult conditions with protection from harsh environments and aggressive chemicals. At binder, we are only too aware of the need to develop connectors to match.


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