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Wiring Technology: The Third Way

Modular Installation of Mobile Machines


Unlike industrial installation technology, the installation of I/O technology in mobile machines has not yet reached a standardized modular, decentralized level. There are two methods that are more widely practiced, but they present a series of challenges that will not be sustainable in mobile machine systems in the future.


The First Way

The usual wiring system in series machines for the mobile segment is the single-wire harness adopted from the automotive world. What works well in the engine compartment of a truck often proves unsuitable for construction, municipal, or agricultural machinery. The materials are incompatible with the operating media, and the unprotected single-wire seals cannot withstand high-pressure cleaning. In order to achieve a certain protection for the sensitive wire insulation, cable harnesses must be elaborately bandaged, braided, or laid in protective hoses. This incurs costs and makes routing in the machine more difficult.


The Second Way

Other machine builders use industrial terminal box technology (max. IPx5), or even domestic installation technology (IPx4) as an alternative to the cable harness, and mix these with automotive connectors and single wires by necessity. Unfortunately, such assemblies are often incompatible and must be helped with sealing compound, heat shrink tubing, or insulating tape and creativity. The installation of the boxes is time-consuming, and a large number of individual parts and tools are also required. An additional, and significant, drawback is the high space requirement of terminal boxes; because mobile machines have extremely limited space, this problem cannot remain unsolved without jeopardizing other required functionalities.


The Third Way

A key goal for Data Panel is to address the issue of installation systems in mobile machines by providing full support to machine builders in the planning, installation, and commissioning of their machines. This is achieved, among other things, by means of a standardized, pluggable modular system consisting of coordinated and, above all, extremely robust components. This kind of modular system can also harmonize the industrial and automotive installation worlds instead of relying on one-size-fits-all solutions.


xtremeDB Active

Active xtremeDB fieldbus modules with proven DT connection technology form the center of the Data Panel solution. The modules are available for SAE J1939, CANopen, or CAN Layer 2-B communication protocol. The Motor vehicle type approval (E-approval) for on road usage will be available in Q2/2021.


These robust modules offer eight ports for input or output signals and can be individually parameterized. Sensor signals can be read in digital, analog, or as frequency/counter/encoder signals. Outputs are available as digital, ratiometric, pulse width modulated PWM(I), or PVG-compatible signals.


With xtremeDB, series machines benefit on a modularly designed, pluggable extension level, opposed to the limitations of relying solely on wiring harnesses. Option management, evolving customer requirements, and future function expansions can be mapped much more easily in a flexible component-based system. Smaller machines, which only work with a display control, can be easily expanded with full-fledged I/O’s using xtremeDB modules.


Figure 1: xtremeDB bus module with connection cables

Up to 52A total current can be fused and centrally wired in four power circuits. The outputs can drive up to 4A, and two digital outputs per module can be loaded up to 10A. All outputs are overload and short-circuit protected, and the momentary output current amperage values for each pin can be read out via the bus. Integrated diagnostics via LED and CAN telegram ensure simplified troubleshooting.



The modules are addressed by means of jumpers in the 18-pin DT connector. The advantage of this method: When the module is replaced, the address setting remains in the connection cable. A replacement module is immediately ready for use after plugging in, no prior setting or parameterization required. The xtremeDB modules are equipped with two combined CAN and sensor supply connections, which allows easy expansion. Data Panel also offers professional solutions for a star-shaped CAN distribution.


Connection Lines:

The matching xtreme connection cables are of high quality and can last the entire life of a machine. They are the optimal choice for permanent media and resistance to high-pressure cleaning, additional advantages when flexible installation, e.g. on booms or other moving parts, is required. The system is supplemented with extensive connector accessories, as well as matching dummy plugs and terminating resistors, to make installation child's play.


The Best Way:

Your time, space, and resources are important, so that’s why it’s imperative to choose not just a wiring solution, but the right wiring solution. Investing in robust, smart technology for a decentralized system design is the best way you can reduce installation time, space commitment, and error probability, and additionally futureproof any machine for upgrades or module replacement. Contact us today to learn more about how our solutions matter to the success of your mission.



Image 2: BOMAG asphalt cold milling machine

Bomag cold milling machines are designed for the selective milling of road and floor pavements. Four xtremeDB modules are mounted near the milling drum to permanently withstand the extreme mechanical and thermal loads, as well as the media used during high-pressure cleaning. The decentralized concept immensely reduces the wiring harness complexity and the wiring effort of the machine electronics at this point. As a further advantage, the plug-in options open up a wide range of possible future customer requests and ensures their easy integration. Overall, the electrical installation on the cold milling machine is significantly improved and is well equipped for future optimization.

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