Consider your last home improvement project. If you had to pick between the following two options, which would you choose?

  • Driving a car that could only transport half of your materials
  • Driving a car that could move all your materials in one load—all at the same time

If you want to save time and money, you would likely choose the second option: drive one car to move all your materials from point A to point B at the same time!

This leads us to a similar question we’ve been pondering about I/O modules: Why use two ports and connectors to move power and data signals separately when a single hybrid port and connector can get the job done just as well?

3 Benefits of Industrial Hybrid Solutions

Industrial hybrid modules, connectors and cables—which transmit Industrial Ethernet protocols (data) and peripheral voltage (power) simultaneously vs. requiring separation—help you save space, installation time and money.

  1. Save Money

This one-cable technology reduces expenses in several ways:

  • It eliminates the need to purchase two types of cables and connectors and instead requires only a single, eight-pole cable
  • It reduces investments in costly copper connectivity by decreasing the amount of materials required
  • It cuts the amount of time spent on assembly and installation
  • It lessens the amount of time spent troubleshooting due to human error during deployment
  1. Reduce Stock

By investing in hybrid modules, connectors and cables that transport power and data together, you will automatically save on storage space. Instead of keeping two kinds of connectors and cables in stock, you only need to keep one on hand.

  1. Save Space

Picture some of the spaces inside your plant that call for data and power connectivity.


Clearance around machinery and equipment can be tight—and some applications may involve moving parts, such as robotic arms, making it more difficult to connect cables. As sensors and actuators continue to get smaller to integrate with robotic and artificial intelligence (AI) applications, space limitations will continue.

To conserve space and tidy up cable trays, hybrid solutions reduce the number of components that need to connect. Many hybrid modules, connectors and cables are also designed with a slim footprint to take up as little space as possible.

Although they are specifically designed for limited-space applications in industrial environments, hybrid solutions are versatile enough to be used anywhere inside your plant.

Hybrid Characteristics to Look for

When it comes to dependability and uptime, not all hybrid modules, connectors and cables are created equal. To make the most of your investment, look for options that...

  • Can Be Deployed in Phases
    If you only have the budget or desire to replace a portion of your architecture, you should be able to do so. Hybrid solutions don’t have to be used across the entire plant. Search for a solution that allows you to separate power and data connections when needed so you can integrate hybrid solutions with your existing infrastructure when and where it’s most convenient.
  • Withstand Industrial Environments
    As with any connectivity solution you deploy inside a plant, the hybrid modules, connectors and cables you select should be built to last amid temperature fluctuations, impact, water and dust, vibration, etc.
  • Support Standardization
    Search for solutions that use standardized wiring components, such as M12 Y-connectors, which are commonly used in industrial environments. This streamlines and simplifies installation and management for everyone.

Hybrid Solutions from Belden

To support Industrial Internet of Things—and the growing need for high performance in small form factors—Belden has created the world’s first multiprotocol I/O module that combines M12 hybrid technology, power and data.


LioN-Power Hybrid I/O Modules feature the same form factor as traditional Belden I/O modules and features I/O Link master functionality so each port can be configured as needed: standard digital input, digital output or IO-Link. A T-splitter provides seamless integration between hybrid applications and existing infrastructure by allowing the separation of the hybrid connector (M12 Y-code) into distinct power (M12 L-code) and data (M12 D-code) connections.

Benefits of IO-Link

As with other Belden industrial solutions, LioN-Power Hybrid I/O Modules are also designed to withstand dust and moisture, with IP65, IP67 and IP69K ingress ratings. Want to learn how you can start using hybrid solutions to save time, space and money? Start here.