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Mar 1, 2015 - Building

Interview: Stefan Gräfen on WINSTA® MINI Pluggable Connectors

These small, well-established connectors can be soldered onto PCBs.

Why was it necessary to produce another connector in the WINSTA®MINI family of products?

Gräfen: Because in the building automation field there are some electronic units in which space is very limited. Up to now, manufacturers of these types of devices have had to specially prepare the housings manually to make them “pluggable”, and this was very time-consuming and complex. WINSTA® MINI is the solution to this: Our smallest connector has a pin spacing of a mere 4.4 mm —which, by the way, is a decisive distinguishing feature on the market. It can be soldered directly onto the PCB and is therefore the ideal component for making devices and lights pluggable, and for offering these as space-saving alternatives.

In general, other types of connections are also possible in building technology. Why is it so important that devices be “pluggable” in building automation?

Gräfen: Pluggable connections are the future. They are already established as a solution in building wiring installations. And for a good reason: pluggable connections save time during installation and are especially safe and reliable, particularly when it comes to error-free connections. The electrical consumer elements are lagging a bit behind this development. They have to catch up quickly in order to be easily integratable into complex systems. Many planners swear by the security and efficiency that pluggable connector systems offer. And this means that they will tend to use devices which fit into this concept at an ever increasing degree in the future.

In your opinion, which device manufacturers will have to get on this bandwagon?

Gräfen: No one is forced to get on board. But any company that wishes to follow this trend and remain relevant to the market in the future should seriously consider joining up. This offers manufacturers the opportunity of making their products more attractive. We see the potential here in control systems for ventilation, air-conditioning, and cooling equipment; providers have already expressed a keen interest in this, and some are already procuring WINSTA® MINI connectors. It would also make a lot of sense to make pluggable control units for pumps or sun blinds. Our miniature PCB connectors are predestined for LED applications, as these applications always use a PCB, onto which our connector can be easily integrated.

If numerous connections in building installations are pluggable, what impact will this have on topics such as safety and flexibility?

Gräfen: Safety will be enhanced by pluggable connections, because mechanical coding options will rule out mismating or incorrect connections. We support electrical installers by offering WINSTA® MINI in different colors, while recommending a certain application for each color. Ultimately, users can utilize the different colored versions as they wish, and the connectors can be individually marked.

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