Connectors

The benefits of our plug connections are clear: they create detachable connections, for example between a cable and a device, and withstand hundreds of mating cycles. EPIC® industrial plug connections are used for power supply as well as signal and data transmission in various industrial environments and support the cable in its tasks: they supply another piece of equipment with energy, control the signal transmission and guarantee data exchange. We offer a variety of plug connection variants for a wide range of applications and with different ordering options. Receive individual parts, kits or customised assemblies.

What are the plug connections used for?

While electrical connections were previously fixed, soldered installations often subsequently left for long periods, this task is now adopted by plug connections that can be disconnected and reconnected again thousands of times, always creating reliable contact. A plug connection is therefore the elementary component of a detachable, secure plug connection between two cables or for connecting a cable to a device or machine.

Overview of possible plug connections with connectors:

An industrial connector is, so to speak, the icing on the cake at the end of a cable that supplies another piece of equipment with energy, controls it, reads signals or transmits data from a transmitter to a receiver.

Plug connectors can be found in all industrial environments: in mechanical and plant engineering, in control cabinets and of course in outdoor applications. The different shapes, sizes and variants enable a wide range of applications.

Whether you want to connect the field level to the control cabinet, the control unit or machine-to-machine communication, you are sure to find the right product at LAPP, including all the necessary comprehensive information.

The trend towards miniaturisation and performance compression is not only evident in the cable area, but is also reflected in the plug connectors. Ideally, new connectors should be all-rounders, take up less space in the application, be PROFINET-compliant and vibration-resistant, and have comprehensive shielding for maximum electromagnetic compatibility.

At LAPP, we do everything we can to tackle new challenges with you as a customer and to develop the perfect plug connector for your respective operation site.

Two that fit together like a pot and a lid: cables and plug connectors

Cables and plug connectors are simply in perfect symbiosis. This is what Oskar Lapp (1921-1987) thought when he founded the LAPP family company in 1959 and brought the first industrially produced ÖLFLEX® power and control cables with coloured cores to the market. Shortly afterwards, the first rectangular connectors from the EPIC® product brand appeared and rounded off the portfolio. EPIC has always stood for "Environmentally Protected Industrial Connectors".

EPIC® plug connector from LAPP – as steeped in history as our cables

Anyone who, like us, can look back on a long history and develops and produces a wide range of cables, will also be very familiar with plug connectors!

Our EPIC® products also meet your individual requirements:

 

And if these properties are not enough for your challenges, we'll also take on your discerning specifications!

Video: LAPP EPIC® Industrial connectors - We Connect Innovations


Which plug connectors are available at LAPP?

Not all plug connectors are made equal. The shape defines the function. Below you will find an overview of our plug connector range; from there, you can navigate much more easily to the product of your choice.

Find out on the respective sub-pages how industrial plug connectors are structured, which connection technologies are suitable for assembly, which areas of application result from the respective product group and much more.

  1. Rectangular connectors
    Suitable for industrial applications in mechanical and plant engineering, control cabinet construction, lighting and sound technology, etc. as they are robust in harsh environments and easy to use. They are largely used to supply power and transmit signals. However, the modular rectangular connector systems EPIC® MC modules and EPIC® MH enable flexible mixed assembly and are therefore also used for data transmission.

Housings and inserts: There are robust, versatile and highly corrosion-protected housing series available. With the inserts, you can choose between fixed pole or modular, and thus absolutely customised inserts.

  1. Circular connectors
    These are particularly suitable for special applications in measurement, control and regulation technology, servo drive technology, conveyor technology or industrial robots.
    In this product group, you will find power connectors and signal connectors in the sizes M12 to M58, as well as single-pole EPIC® POWERLOCK connectors for use with mobile and stationary energy or emergency power generators or battery storage systems.
  2. Solar connectors
    Suitable for direct current applications within photovoltaic systems, i.e. for cabling solar modules, inverters and stand-alone systems. The plug connectors can be freely assembled.
  3. Data connectors
    Suitable for data transmission with copper-based electrical data cables (fieldbus, sensor-actuator, Ethernet) as well as optically transmitting fibre optic cables. In this product group, you will find the most common plug connectors for harsh industrial environments, structured building cabling, and use in data centres or control cabinets.

With our countless EPIC® products and the wide range of combination possibilities, you can easily lose sight of what you need. Let us help!

Use our connector finder to quickly assemble a plug connector for power supply/signal transmission.

Caution, risk of addiction! The rectangular connector housings alone allow for 138 million configurations. But just because we offer you these, that doesn't mean you have to order them all. Although you're naturally more than welcome to do so...!

From loose to assembled – you have the choice!

Kits and sets for minimised ordering effort

Don't feel comfortable researching and then purchasing all the individual components required for manufacturing a plug connector? Do you therefore want to reduce your ordering effort and eliminate the risk of incorrect orders?

Understandable – you're not alone in this! Many customers prefer assembled plug connector sets with optimally coordinated components.

That is why you will find our kits for rectangular, circular and solar connectors in each plug connector product group, consisting of a housing, insert, contacts and conduit gland, for example.

The worry-free ÖLFLEX® CONNECT package

If you like keeping things really convenient, effective connection technology also means we can produce plug & play solutions for you. Suitable for immediate use and perfectly assembled. Either with products from the standard range or customised. Get to your desired cable including a moulded plug connector in just a few steps!


Plug connector term definitions

In recent years, the wrong individuals have become involved in technical language relating to plug connectors. Things that are usually still easily understood in casual language and oral communication can often lead to misunderstandings in written communication. We're tidying up incorrect designations!

When used correctly, the commonly used term plug actually only describes the male variant, but not the whole plug connector. A plug connection consists of a male part, known as the plug, and a female part, known as the socket.

In the interior of the plug connector, a distinction is made between the pin and the socket:

What should you consider when it comes to plug connectors?

General information

Plug connectors are pieces of equipment that must NOT be plugged in or disconnected when used as intended, i.e. under electrical voltage (or technically under load). When connecting or disconnecting a plug connector under load, sparks and (briefly) high temperatures result which could destroy the contact surface and lead to the total failure of the plug connector.

  • Plug connectors may only be connected or disconnected when there is no current and voltage.

Soiling levels 1-4

The soiling level is a numerical value and indicates the environment for which the plug connector has been developed and tested. Soiling level 3 is typical for industrial environments, while soiling level 2 is typical for households.

Soiling levels and their significance

Soiling level 1  Soiling level 2 Soiling level 3 Soiling level 4
There is no soiling or only dry, non-conductive soiling. The soiling has no influence on the properties of the plug connector.

Only non-conductive soiling occurs. Occasionally, however, temporary conductivity due to condensation must be expected.

There is conductive soiling or dry, non-conductive soiling that becomes conductive because condensation is to be expected.

Contamination results in constant conductivity caused by conductive dust, rain or snow.
Examples of environmental conditions
Open, unprotected insulation in air-conditioned or clean, dry rooms. Open, unprotected insulation in residential, retail and other commercial premises, fine mechanical workshops, laboratories, test areas, medical premises. Open, unprotected insulation in rooms of industrial, commercial and agricultural plants, non-heated warehouses, workshops, boiler houses. Open, unprotected insulation in maritime or mining applications

 

EPIC® plug connectors are generally designed for soiling level 3 and therefore have high safety reserves, even if the connector is wet or dirty inside. The high reliability of EPIC® results from high quality materials and manufacturing expertise.

Rated voltage in volts

The rated voltage is the voltage according to which plug connectors are rated. It indicates at which voltage a plug connector can be operated continuously and without impairing its performance.

Rated voltage versus nominal voltage

Dependencies:

  • The rated voltage depends on the defined soiling level. If a plug connector was tested for soiling level 1, the rated voltage given in the technical data is significantly higher than if it was tested for soiling level 2.
  • The rated voltage depends on the insulating properties of the materials used and the creepage distance (the distance between contacts on a surface).
  • The rated voltage depends on the clearance (the distance between contacts through air).
  • The rated voltage depends on the pole configuration, i.e. the number of contacts. The more contacts are installed in a plug connector, the lower the rated voltage.

Rated impulse voltage in volts

The rated impulse voltage is the maximum voltage that a plug connector can withstand briefly under defined conditions without breakdown or flashover. At this specified voltage, there are no breakdowns or flashovers in the plug connector.

Rated current in amperes

The rated current is the maximum current determined by the manufacturer that can flow continuously through all contacts of the plug connector without the upper temperature limit being exceeded. The rated current is specified at an ambient temperature of 40 C. It is determined for the largest conductor cross-section that can be connected to the plug connector.

The rated current depends on the size of the contacts in the plug connector. As the contact diameter increases, so does the current.

Contact

Contact layers made of high-grade materials are essential to ensure a secure electrical connection over the long term. The contacts are usually coated using galvanic processes. In order to achieve a durable coating, the following requirements are placed on the base material and its contact layers: LAPP primarily uses silver (Ag) and gold (Au) for surface coating.

Silver has the highest electrical conductivity of all metals. The passivisation of the silver surface delays the formation of an oxide layer and reduces the insertion and pulling forces. A brownish to black oxide layer of silver sulphide (Ag2S) forms due to sulphur or substances containing sulphur in the ambient air. However, this layer can be broken during the plugging process or is broken at high currents, so the required electrical conductivity is maintained.

Gold is the most resistant precious metal. The formation of oxides and sulphides can be ignored. Gold contacts are characterised by low insertion and pulling forces. They are mainly used for the transmission of signals with low current and voltage values.

EPIC® products only use high-quality stainless metal alloys for coating the contacts.

When selecting a connector insert, the insert that can accommodate at least the number of contacts required for the plug connection must be selected. Plug connector inserts containing more contacts are also selected in the application. This means that the same plug connection system can often continue to be used when the application is expanded.

Plug cycles

Each time a plug connector is connected or disconnected, this represents one mating cycle. If a plug connector is subjected to too many mating cycles, this will have negative effects on the contact resistance and also on the coating of the contact area. When determining the maximum number of mating cycles, a test is carried out to find out how many plugging and disconnecting actions cause the contact resistance to increase to an unacceptable level. It must not increase by more than 50% or exceed a maximum of 5 mOhm.
Owing to the high-precision manufacture of the contacts and the choice of contact materials, the EPIC® plug connector has a very long service life.

Electromagnetic compatibility

Electromagnetic compatibility, or EMC for short, is the ability of electrical equipment to function satisfactorily in its electromagnetic environment without impermissibly influencing the environment, which also includes other equipment, or being influenced by it (DIN/VDE 0870, Part 1).

In industrial environments, the interference frequencies normally lie in the frequency range below 100 kHz. In this frequency range, the most important factor is low-impedance, large-scale, 360° shielding.

Plug connectors that are protected from electromagnetic interference have housings with a metallic, conductive surface, a good electrical connection to the mating component and are equipped with a conduit gland that allows the cable shield to be electrically connected to the housing.

EMC plugs are mainly used in the area of circular connectors. For rectangular connectors, the EPIC® ULTRA housings have been specially developed to meet these requirements.

  • The EPIC® ULTRA housing shines with cutting-edge sealing and contact technology. The innovative design enables safe EMC contacting and the discharge of shielding currents. The 360° shielding connection is established using the SKINTOP® BRUSH conduit gland. Dive deeper into the topic of EMC

Coding

Coding is an arrangement which prevents plug connectors which are identical other than their different polarisation from being mixed up, i.e. incorrect plugging and cabling. This is suitable if two or more identical plug connectors are attached to the same device.

Coding can be performed with a coding key or coding insert, or using coding pins that can be screwed into the housing. With EPIC®, there is a coding option optimised for every connector system, such as coding-capable inserts and housing, as well as pre-coded circular connectors.

Temperature range

The temperature range is determined by the upper and lower limit temperature. The limit temperatures are the maximum and minimum permissible temperatures at which a plug connector may be operated.


Why plug connectors from LAPP?

Icon A Icon B Icon C

We have been offering cables, wires and plug connections from a single source since 1963. Benefit from our in-depth expertise for your application!

The plug connector range is developed, produced and tested almost without exception at the German headquarters in Stuttgart. After all, "Made in Germany" is important to us!

Experience millions of combination possibilities for one plug connector. It's impossible not to find the right one!

 

Here you can read the exciting projects in which LAPP is taking part:

Reference story teaser 1: https://lappconnect.lappgroup.com/de/sicherer-steckverbinder-fuer-leckere-pasta/

Reference story teaser 2: https://lappconnect.lappgroup.com/de/fliegende-filmballons/

 

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