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Quick power disconnect solution for roadside lighting

Molex Incorporated has introduced a quick-disconnect power connector that is designed to meet new EU legislation for roadside lighting and electronic signage. The passive safety pole connector can speed up installation, repair and temporary removal of street furniture.

New road safety legislation, which is expected to come into force across EU, stipulates necessary changes in roadside furniture construction and materials to better absorb impact and lessen personal injury of motorists in the event of a crash. Changes in safety regulations will require that all powered signs, lights and signals include a power quick-disconnect system; standards relative to the product include TA 89/05, BS EN 12767 and BS EN 60309-1&2. In the event of an accident, whereby a vehicle hits roadside equipment, the system must disconnect the electrical supply within 0.4 seconds of impact. Motion sensors and circuit protection devices available on the market do not prevent tearing or tethering of wires on impact with a pole.

Molex worked closely with manufacturers and suppliers of roadside equipment and furniture to design and develop a connection system that resolves these problems. The passive safety pole connector includes safety devices and systems that operate without need for human input or action.

Following successful crash tests, Denis O’Sullivan, global product manager at Molex Incorporated, said: "The initial crash test demonstrates that the passive safety pole connector works well and the pole safely disconnected upon impact.."

Installation of the Molex pole connector is a two-step process. Step one occurs at ground level. The base fixtures of the pole are cemented into the ground. The first cable, fitted with a connector sealed by a water-tight cap, is installed into the ground at the main circuit-protection device. The integrated protective cap remains in place until the connector is mated with the pole side connector, and provides mechanical and environmental protection for the interface (IP68). This is an important feature, as there can be several weeks or even months where the ground side connector is installed without the pole being present. In the event of a pole being destroyed, the cap can simply be pushed onto the connector providing protection for the contact interface and ensuring the safety of the public and construction crews.

The second step is to install the pole and connect the pole cable to the ground cable. A flexible tether attaches the pole over or underground. The connector and cable are pre-assembled when manufactured to protect them fully from external elements, while saving considerable time and money during installation.

In addition to roads, highways and motorways where power is used, the Molex passive safety pole connector can be used in any application requiring a quick release safety connection. Low extraction forces combined with IP68 sealing and superior electrical and mechanical performance capabilities ensure that the passive safety pole connector is suitable for generators at docks, electric cars, and golf buggies and carts, emergency vehicles, as well as for temporary speaker and lighting installations at open air concerts.

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