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Cooper Crouse-Hinds has launched a range of connectors that enables continuous, uninterrupted Ethernet and USB-based communications in hazardous environments.

The Exlink Ethernet and Exlink USB connectors are said to combine the safety of an explosion-protected connector system with the advantages of having a continuous communications infrastructure between the main, control and process levels of production plants.

Conventional fieldbus systems are designed exclusively for data communication in process and manufacturing controls.

The Ethernet communications protocol enables a continuous infrastructure between the main, control and process level.

In hazardous industrial environments, Exlink connector systems can replace conventional connectors found in the IT office environment.

Therefore, in addition to high safety standards, this system also allows the real-time performance of Ethernet networks in hazardous areas.

Controls can be adapted to suit changing production processes by allowing hot-swapping.

Installing Exlink connectors is said to be straightforward, as Ethernet and explosion-protected components are both modular in their design.

This means that the plant’s information architecture can be updated without having to change explosion-protected equipment by replacing the components in the flameproof enclosures.

Commercially available industrial components can be used here, as the explosion-protected connection to the network is undertaken by using the Exlink connector built into the enclosure, which also allows the hot-swapping of devices without the user having to isolate them from the mains and without obtaining a hot work permit.

The safe transmission is guaranteed at all times using Exlink.

Independent tests have shown that the Exlink four-pole + PA is safe to use up to 100MHz and with transmission rates up to 100Mbaud in accordance with the requirements of TIA/EIA-568-B.2, Category 5e.

In many cases, the values were lower than those of the limiting curves.

The Exlink four-pole + PA system can therefore be used in Fast Ethernet or Ethernet networks and for explosion-protected USB interfaces.

Cooper Crouse-Hinds’s Exlink range includes connectors, plugs, receptacles, inlets and elbows, which can be used for any instrumentation device or electrical apparatus.

Exlink plug connectors are used to connect and disconnect electrical equipment in hazardous environments – including actuators, motors, submerged pumps, liquid level sensors, floating switches – quickly, without compromising the safety or integrity of the electrical installation.

The connectors allow users to maintain apparatus on a proactive or predictive basis, without using special tools and without having to isolate the apparatus from the mains or disconnect the terminals.

Cooper Crouse-Hinds

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