Our technological partnership with Fischer Connectors combines technical expertise, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit as well as the provision of connectivity solutions to reimagine what is considered possible in wearable technologies. Together, we’re creating human-centered next-generation ecosystems that will shape the future of electronics.
For more than 60 years, the people of Fischer Connectors have been reimagining connectivity, turning customers’ challenges into success stories with innovative technologies, quality products and collaborative customer support.
Fischer Connectors designs, manufactures and distributes rugged connectors and cable assemblies that help customers around the world produce reliable, high-performance electronic devices. The connectivity solutions are especially suitable for applications requiring faultless precision, durability and resistance to extreme conditions, including defence and security, medical, industrial, instrumentation, audio-visual, transportation and energy.
Headquarters in Saint-Prex, Switzerland (Canton of Vaud), where its R&D Centre and manufacturing facilities are also located, the Fischer Connectors Group has cable assembly sites in EMEA, the United States and Asia. The Group also includes local subsidiaries and a wide network of distributors and agents all over the world.
Video is copyright Fischer Connectors
The challenge faced by the connected worker world is that today’s personal sensors devices used by industrial enterprises for measuring elements such as gas, noise or physiology each with their own power and comms, are large, heavy, complicated and expensive. This limits the widespread adoption of connected worker solutions by industrial enterprises.
WTL and Fischer Connectors have come together to help to solve this problem and share the goal of designing inexpensive wearable solutions that are easy to use, enhance safety and truly ease the burden on the end user.
By delivering centralised power and comms via a Fischer Connectors’ smart connector™ to each sensor device, sensor devices themselves do not require power and comms to be built into each device. This makes them less complex, smaller, lighter, and cheaper to purchase and operate. In turn this will enable each worker to wear more devices and allow more complete monitoring of the environment in which the worker is working.
WTL CEO Mark Bernstein speaking at the Fischer Connectors’ stand at Electronica 2018, Munich, Germany.
Our technological partnership started in 2018 around the creation of an industrial variant of the the first connector of the Fischer Freedom Series; this rugged, low-profile, lightweight, compact and versatile connector sets a new standard in usability and integrability, as it blends seamlessly into compact, portable and body-worn devices and ecosystems with low weight requirements.
The Fischer Freedom™ Series was chosen specifically for our new “Connected” Solution because it offers:
- Plug & Use capabilities and easy 360-degree mating that make the smart garment’s electronic and communication equipment easy to use, clean and maintain, more ergonomic, more comfortable to wear, and lighter and faster to set up, thus enabling workers to save time at the beginning of every shift and allowing for freedom of movement in the field.
- Easy integration into applications operating in diverse and challenging environments, optimizing cable management and streamlining the delivery of power and data through portable and body-worn electronic ecosystems. The wiring of the low-profile Fischer LP360™ receptacles is embedded in WTL’s smart garment, and the plugs can be integrated directly (without wires) into the housing of such devices as a sensor, a camera, a light, or a GPS.
- More flexibility for design engineers when rethinking the design and packaging of multiple electronic and communication devices connected to the intelligent vest’s shared data and power bus, thereby saving weight and space. The wired garment works as a hub providing a single and central source of power to a variety of devices, thus reducing the need for multiple batteries and large components.
- Excellent value for money by reducing the design and production cost of wearable devices, using fewer or no cables.
Image: courtesy of Fischer Connectors. An open and evolutive industrial worker platform that interconnects workers wearing a growing range of communications and sensor devices with their supervisors, site offices and control rooms.
Image: courtesy of Fischer Connectors. Distributed data and power integrated into the garment eliminates the need for external wires or break-out cables
WTL’s smart clothing application is part of the overall trend to integrate more wearable technology into garments – hence the term “smart” – simplifying the use of electronic devices and connectivity solutions, while improving human-machine interfaces and ultimately increasing people’s safety and organizations’ efficiency.
Using Fischer Freedom™ connectors to take power up to the plug and use devices, and data back down from them to the Eleksen hub unit is expected to fundamentally change the economics of the “connected” industrial worker. This is because the sensor devices do not require their own individual comms or power – reducing their size, weight, complexity and most of all, cost. This cost reduction will allow each worker to be equipped with multiple small sensors, delivering more complete data sets back to the organisation for further analysis and corrective action. WTL expects this use of smaller cheaper sensors to be a game changer in the spread of “connected” solutions to lower-margin industries and economies around the world.
WTL’s unique IIoT system benefits workers using its smart vest by protecting their health and safety and allowing them greater freedom of movement. It also benefits design engineers by simplifying and speeding up the design and production of wearables. And it benefits organizations, as they can gain deep insight into longer term workforce occupational health and safety issues, identify training requirements, increase productivity and reduce corporate risk.
This project shows how, by working closely with its partners to find new connectivity solutions, WTL is opening up exciting new opportunities in IIoT applications for its customers in a wide range of industrial sectors.
In any Internet of Things (IoT) application, it is always the “Data” that matters more than the “Things”. Therefore, the seamless integration of the Plug and Use Solution is vitally important in optimising the collection of data. Once the data has been swiftly and securely acquired and stored in the Eleksen Platform, user organisations can interrogate and analyse it to reveal patterns, trends, causes and opportunities to drive efficiencies that previously were entirely hidden and incapable of being exploited to the benefit of the business.
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