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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

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Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics

Navigating the Seas of Change Toward Industry 4.0 Paul Golata

Sailing Ship During a Storm

(Source: NancyS/

Fothering a Ship

I am working my way through the 21 tales of the Aubrey/Maturin book series (1969–2004). English author Patrick O’Brian (1914–2000) wrote these works as nautical historical novels, peppering his fiction with historical intersections and contexts. I recently finished the fifth book in the series, Desolation Island (1978).

As part of the story, set around the year 1811, the two main protagonists—Naval Captain Jack Aubrey and physician/naturalist/spy Dr. Stephen Maturin—are in transit from England to New South Wales (NSW) on the eastern seaboard of Australia. Alas, disaster strikes and they hit an iceberg. The collision disables the ship by breaking the ship’s rudder and puncturing a leak in the hull. All the men aboard work shifts to pump out the water. To save the ship from sinking, the sailors cover the leak by drawing a sail under the hull of the ship and securing it across the gap with ropes, a nautical technique known as fothering. In essence, the sail acts as a cork.

The ship continues to drift east while the men must keep pumping around the clock. Things keep growing toward a state of desperation. A bold course of action is needed. Captain Aubrey adeptly guides the drifting ship into a safe harbor on an island far from civilization, a place known as Desolation Island. The men take to land to make significant repairs.

Sails and Socks

I did have the chance to sail the ocean blue in the 1980s. During that time, I had the opportunity to be part of a crew on a Santa Cruz 50 sailboat. Today, however, it is not often that I find myself out upon the seas. That does not mean I do not sometimes find myself in lots of water. Recently, we experienced a lot of rain where I live. I stepped out this morning to show you what it looks like in the surroundings of my backyard (Figure 1).

Molex Sox   

Figure 1: The author standing in water outside his backyard. (Source: Author)

You might be wondering why, like the men on board the ship that ultimately lands on Desolation Island, I am standing calf-deep in water in my pair of Molex socks. You see, Molex is at the forefront of all that is underway in the move to Industry 4.0. I was asked to write in unique and winsome ways about these ideas.

While staring at my blank screen and dreaming about what to write, I was staring at my Molex socks hoping for some inspiration. Slipping out of my office for a refill of coffee, I looked into my backyard and determined that I needed to step outside in them to experience a little of what had happened to the crew in the Desolation Island book I finished days before. With my wading and these pictures, it all became clear as to what I should write about for Industry 4.0 and Molex.

Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 encompasses a wide range of technologies positioned to revolutionize the industrial automation market. Flexibility, efficiency, operational safety, and secure network communications are all essential elements as Industry 4.0 progresses toward more open solutions and platforms. Demand exists for scalable and interoperable solutions able to bridge the gap between existing legacy platforms and next-generation architectures. Any solution worth investing in must be highly customizable. So, how does a leaky ship, standing puddles of water, and Industry 4.0 all connect together? Follow me further as I explain.

Molex Solutions for Industry 4.0

Molex offers a wide range of products and technologies to support the industrial automation market as it moves toward Industry 4.0. These solutions are ruggedly designed to provide protection from dust, moisture, and accidental or incidental contact in harsh-duty manufacturing environments. Molex Squba Sealed Wire-to-Wire Connectors represent an example of a product that supports Industry 4.0

You might know SCUBA as an acronym for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. SCUBA gear is hugely beneficial if you are out sailing on the ocean and wish to go into the sea and make repairs while you are sea on your hull. (An option that was not available to our resourceful sailors who had to fother their vessel instead.) But have you ever heard of Squba scuba spelled with a “q”?

Molex Squba Sealed Wire-to-Wire Connectors are compact 1.80mm- and 3.6mm-pitch sealed wire-to-wire connection system (Figure 2). Molex Squba offers an IP67 NEMA rating providing a dust-tight and water-resistant solution. It carries 6.0A (1.8mm) or 14.0A (3.6mm) of current. This capability allows it to deliver reliable power in a wide range of space-constrained applications, delivering more power over smaller gauge wires.

Molex Squba Connector

Figure 2: Molex Squba 1.8mm and 3.6mm pitch sealed wire-to-wire connectors. (Source: Molex)

These 2- to 10-circuit sealed connectors offer a protected, low-profile positive latch with audible click mating. The connectors have sealed caps with protective terminal channels while the primary lock enables 30N terminal retention. Wraparound insulation crimps provide security against seal punctures. It works in operating temperatures from -40˚C up to 105˚C. It finds extensive applications in industrial robotics, industrial machines, motors, food processing equipment/plant, industrial controls, the connected home, security and surveillance, smart appliances, home health and wellness, and home automation.


As we have learned, sailors aren’t the only ones who can come up with a solution to withstand harsh conditions. Molex has also engineered a unique solution of its own to help navigate the changing tides of Industry 4.0. As a result, you’ll never find yourself hopelessly adrift in a sea of change.

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Paul Golata joined Mouser Electronics in 2011. As a Senior Technology Specialist, Paul contributes to Mouser’s success through driving strategic leadership, tactical execution, and the overall product-line and marketing directions for advanced technology related products. He provides design engineers with the latest information and trends in electrical engineering by delivering unique and valuable technical content that facilitates and enhances Mouser Electronics as the preferred distributor of choice.

Before joining Mouser Electronics, Paul served in various manufacturing, marketing, and sales related roles for Hughes Aircraft Company, Melles Griot, Piper Jaffray, Balzers Optics, JDSU, and Arrow Electronics. He holds a BSEET from the DeVry Institute of Technology (Chicago, IL); an MBA from Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA); an MDiv w/BL from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Fort Worth, TX); and a PhD from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Fort Worth, TX).

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