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Leading international trade fairs like HANNOVER MESSE have never just been a stage for "lone wolves" to prowl. In fact, they are increasingly becoming a high-profile platform for strategic partnerships that are driving technological progress. Just in time for HANNOVER MESSE 2019, five companies - Weidmüller, Phoenix Contact, Reichle & De-Massari, Belden and Fluke Networks - have decided to join forces and establish a technology partnership for single pair Ethernet (SPE). In an effort to deliver a coordinated infrastructure for devices, connectors, cables and measuring technology, the partners are jointly developing and supporting the standardized connector patterns introduced in IEC 63171 2 (office environment) and IEC 63171 5 (industrial environment). "Single pair Ethernet is one of the megatrends in industrial data transfer," explains Torsten Janwlecke, President Business Area Device Connectors at Phoenix Contact. According to the partners, SPE no longer specifies new cable and performance records, but instead forms the normative framework for application-appropriate streamlined cabling.

Data cables using just one pair of wires are set to support transfer distances of up to 1,000 meters and transfer rates ranging from 10 megabits per second to 1 gigabit per second. That would make SPE ideal for infrastructure applications in mechanical, plant and process engineering as well as infrastructure in buildings. The main advantage to SPE is that it's environment-neutral, meaning field devices, sensors and actuators can easily be incorporated into an existing Ethernet environment at company level. This eliminates the need for additional gateways and interfaces. "Unlike fieldbus protocols, Ethernet runs through all automation levels. It is more consistent, efficient and cheaper than fieldbus systems," Janwlecke adds.