Hybrid connector with NFC-Interface


binder logo

binder 2

From passive connectors to active system components

Interfaces for medical device technology require an enormous variety of functionalities in a very small IP-protected space. The signal and data pins, power and protective earth contacts, as well as shielding and protective measures often pose design problems to developers. High-frequency electronics integrated into the circular connector can help reduce the density of electromechanical functions inside the component’s housing, promote miniaturization, and still create more space for optimized power transmission.

Miniaturized interfaces for signals, data, and electrical power are an engineering challenge per se. When it comes to components for medical technology, developers face even more stringent requirements: Failure protection, signal integrity, as well as functional, operator, and patient safety make their design tasks even more complex.

The increasing functional complexity places tight physical limits on the miniaturization of interface components. In state-of-the-art M12 circular connectors, for example, which comply with the draft standard 63171-7, power pins, protective contacts, shielding, and data ports coexist in a very small space. Although this is appropriate and desirable for overall functionality, it immensely restricts freedom in the design of individual functions. In the case of medical devices, this is particularly challenging. The compactness of the connectors is thus generally limited here, and many of these interfaces have already reached the boundaries of practical feasibility.


Questioning the contacts

Traditionally, in connectors, signals, data, and power are all linked via electrical contacts, whose mechanical and chemical properties fundamentally determine the performance, quality, and efficiency of transmission. In order to keep losses to a minimum, such direct electrical connection is absolutely essential for the power supply – but is not required for signals and data.

In the world of data transmission, there are proven standards for both wired and wireless connectivity. The use of the corresponding technologies depends mainly on the type and amount of data to be transferred, but also on the environmental conditions. While broadband wired Ethernet is becoming more and more established in instrumentation and automation technology, the low-energy Zigbee and Bluetooth LE – or high-speed WiFi – are good examples of widespread wireless communication standards. For data rates above this spectrum or in environments with electromagnetic interference, optical transmission methods such as fiber optics are also used.

In view of this variety of possibilities, the question arises as to what extent they can contribute to solving the problem of limited miniaturization of interface components in combined signal, data, and power connections. For example, what if signals and data could be transmitted between the male connector and the device without occupying space for electrical contacts? Without having to shield them from supply pins and from supply wires? What if the IP-protected installation space inside a connector housing could in future be used exclusively – or at least much more than before – for power transfer? What if the connector could accommodate an even wider range of functions?


Formerly a connector, now a micro device

With the NeaCo² technology demonstration, binder explored this question and successfully merged the two worlds of electromechanical and wireless interfaces. Using NeaCo², the engineers from Neckarsulm/Germany have shown how electromechanics and Radio Frequency (RF) electronics can be combined in a small hybrid connector. While power is transmitted via the traditional pins, they have implemented wireless Near-Field Communication (NFC). NFC has a significantly shorter range than Bluetooth or WiFi, for example, but allows the NeaCo² to be used in numerous new applications, such as device identification, predictive maintenance, and fault prevention. In short, binder has used the integration of RF electronics to transform passive hybrid connectors into active system components, so-called micro devices.

These offer tremendous advantages. Developers can use the entire installation space within the connector for the power pins, widening their design options. And this helps them optimize the efficiency of the compact and protected power port. Electronics integration also adds options to the development of product variants. The respective connector itself can be equipped with additional features, but can also act as a communication node – or even as a controlling device.

The possible new features that can be integrated into the hybrid connector thanks to NFC include:

  • Identification of approved devices; only approved devices receive power
  • Identification of devices for optimized power transfer
  • Counting of mating cycles and recording of electrical resistance in order to predict faults
  • Metering transmission power and temperature
  • The function as an access point for live data traffic
  • Safety shutdown if operating limits get overrun
  • Minimized susceptibility to errors caused by contamination thanks to contactless data transmission
  • The use of an additional data channel for migration systems



By integrating RF electronics, engineers are able to transform passive connectors into active system components. Thus, these receive new characteristics and distinctive features. The performance and communication capabilities of the hybrid interfaces may improve, and additional application scenarios arise. The new connectors can be used across all industries beyond medical technology – from industrial automation to e-mobility.

About binder
binder, headquartered in Neckarsulm, Germany, is a family-owned company characterized by traditional values and one of the leading specialists for circular connectors. Since 1960, binder has been synonymous with the highest quality. The company works with more than 60 sales partners on six continents and employs around 2,000 people worldwide.

The binder group includes the binder headquarters, 16 affiliated companies, two system service providers as well as an innovation and technology center. In addition to Germany, the binder sites are located in Austria, China, France, Hungary, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the USA.

Figure caption:

Hybrid connectors with NFC – developers can use the entire installation space inside the connector for the power pins, expanding the design options.Photo: binder



  • Home Care
  • Fernüberwachung/IIOT
  • variable Energieversorgungssysteme
  • Predictive Maintenance
  • mobile Anwendungen
  • Monitoring

Fields of application:

  • Home care
  • Remote monitoring, Industrial IoT
  • Flexible power supply systems
  • Predictive maintenance
  • Mobile applications
  • Monitoring


  • IP-protected interface
  • Connector selectable from the binder portfolio
  • Customized additional functionalities may be implemented
  • Contactless communication is possible
  • Very good media resistance


Company address:

Binder UK Ltd.

Unit D, ATA House, Boundary Way, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP2 7SS, UK

Tel. +44 1442 257339

Fax. +44 1442 239545






 Graham Ellis

Graham Ellis

Graham joined binder UK when it was first established in 2009, having previously been involved for over 30 years with some of the major names in the connector industry.

He was initially responsible for OEM sales across the UK, until January 2022 when he was appointed Sales Director for the UK and Ireland, a role in which he continues to this today.

Having worked in the industry for over three decades he says, “In their market sector, the quality and range of the products manufactured by binder are second to none”.