As technology advances and the proliferation of data-centric applications such as machine vision, factory automation, and robotics increases, the need for fast, reliable data generated by powered devices in distant locations has become a necessity more than ever before.
Unlike copper cables, limited by their conductivity and only able to carry a certain amount of data over short distances, optical cables use light to transmit data and are therefore not hindered by distance.
Active optical cables (AOCs) convert electrical signals into optical signals for data and video transmission, providing greater bandwidth than copper cables while also being thinner, faster, lighter, and more flexible. These qualities make them perfect for intelligent sensing devices and vision applications where reliability and speed are key factors. AOC offers all the advantages of optical fiber without the hassle of fiber termination.
The ruggedized version of AOCs maintains a focus on reliability for challenging environments. Features such as high duty & mating cycles, tether pull strength, torsional & rolling flex cycles, shock & vibration, EMI/EMC, are critical to maintaining a safe, secure, and robust interconnect system.
It is no secret USB-C connectors are quickly becoming the industry standard for many architectures and protocols. Hybrid active optical USB-C power delivery cables are becoming increasingly popular due to their ability to deliver significant power and data over distance.
How does active optical USB-C power delivery work, and what are its applications in industrial automation and machine vision? Read on as we delve deeper into this exciting technology, then contact Nortech Systems to collaborate with our engineering experts on your technological advancements.
Active Optical vs Traditional Copper Approach
Hybrid active optical USB-C power delivery cables are a fast and efficient way to deliver power and reliable data.
An AOC utilizes optical fibers to transmit fast and stable data over nearly unlimited distances with a much smaller footprint than a historical copper-based approach. That historical approach typically uses multiple shielded copper wires and cables over restricted lengths to support a comparable data bandwidth with marginal data integrity.
The combination of optical fiber and copper wire increases performance speeds and reduces multiple copper cables to a single hybrid cable for power, control, and data while preserving compatibility with existing electrical system designs.
Benefits of Fiber Optic as Compared to Copper
- Faster Data
- Far Superior Data Integrity
- EMI/EMS Immunity
- Highly Ruggedized and Flexible Options
- ‘Greener’ Technology Supporting Rapidly Growing Global Focus on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance standards)
Interconnections and cable assemblies are an integral part of any machine vision or factory automation design. Hybrid cable technology incorporating fiber optics offers high bandwidth and integrated power delivery in a single small cable assembly.
Machine Vision Applications
Machine vision is a technology that uses cameras, software algorithms, and other processing hardware to generate rapidly increasing amounts of video and still imagery for real-time analysis.
Vision systems are used in a variety of industries, such as automotive, semiconductor, and electronics, to inspect products for quality and defects. Other common uses include remote collaboration, human safety, security, target identification, automated sorting, measurement, process optimization and documentation.
Machine vision systems require high-speed data transfer with power and control to function efficiently in electrically ‘noisy’ environments. USB-C active optical with power delivery offers high-speed data, power, and control in a consolidated cable. Transmitting data over fiber optics offers inherent EMI and EMS immunity. Utilizing fiber optics within a shielded hybrid cable assembly further enhances data quality to create the superior choice for machine vision applications.
Machine vision applications employing Nortech’s Active Optical Xtreme (AOXTM) cables with a single, hybrid design, have achieved installed lengths of 30 meters and greater. The capability of the fiber optics within these hybrid cables eliminates the cost and complexity of adding Hubs, Retimers and Redrivers to your data path.
Machine vision and imaging applications are not only more diverse but are demanding more data, long distances, greater reliability, simplified interconnect architecture (smaller, lighter, faster), all at a lower cost. This growth leads to a need for video, data and power optimization, which is solved by employing hybrid fiber optic solutions.
Factory Automation Applications
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) integrates physical devices and machines with sensors and software to better monitor and control industrial processes.
It is a vital part of Industry 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution, characterized by the convergence of technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence, and the Industrial Internet of Things. IIoT uses actuators and smart sensors to enhance communication and collaboration between machines, humans, and suppliers.
Smart factories are equipped with IIoT technologies to enable a hyperflexible, adaptive, and intelligent production process. This allows for a more efficient and interconnected manufacturing process that can better adapt to changing conditions.
An active optical USB-C power delivery cable is a perfect fit for industrial automation and machine vision systems due to its high bandwidth, long-distance capabilities, and extremely low Bit Error Rate. Reliable and fast data transmission has become more crucial than ever as factories become increasingly automated.
This new hybrid cable technology replaces the need for separate data, power, and control cables, streamlining existing transmission methods and allowing for the continued implementation of IIoT automation and big data.
Why Choose a USB-C Active Optical Data and Power Delivery Cable from Nortech
Nortech Systems has over 30 years of experience developing high integrity data pipelines for technically challenging applications in harsh environments. Our commitment to research and development has produced the market’s best Active Optical platform. Nortech’s AOX products offer:
- World Class Data Integrity
- Power and Data over Extended Distances
- FCC Compliant EMI/EMS Performance
- Small USB-C Form Factor
- Standards Based Technology Roadmap
- Environmental Ruggedization
- High Flex/Torsion Durability
- Application-Centric Custom Solutions
Trust Nortech With Reliable Interconnect Solutions and Integration Services
Navigating the complex world of industrial AOC can be daunting, especially when trying to find the right supplier for your needs. Nortech Systems is a leading full-service electronic engineering and manufacturing services provider with over three decades of experience developing solutions for complex interconnect and cable assembly challenges.
We are well versed in IIoT and emerging technologies, high-mix manufacturing, prototyping, and boast an outstanding reputation for offering our customers best-in-class quality and service.
Our team of experts can help you design the best active optical solution for your application, reducing system complexity while incorporating unique design and supply chain considerations. Contact us today!