An introduction to Shielding

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Written by Scott Mulholland, Product Manager- Industrial Components

To be clear, this blog is not about the shielding you now have to do when you return from a foreign country due to the COVID-19 threat. We are going to look into the other type of shielding.

So, what is shielding?

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Re-shoring PCB production

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Written by Duncan Nicol, Sales & Marketing Manager- Device Connections

Are we about to experience a resurgence in UK manufacturing? The current crisis has put a spotlight on supply change management and the inherent risks of manufacturing goods in far flung locations at a time when supply routes have become disrupted.

In the early noughties, around the time of the dot-com bubble, a significant proportion of PCB production off-shored from the UK to Eastern Europe and Asia. Driven primarily by lower costs of production in those territories and largely due to lower labour costs.

In the years since the mass migration of volume manufacturing, many small EMS and OEM business continued to serve the UK market locally with just in time manufacturing and short lead times, but at a premium. At the same time PCB production has become highly automated and thanks to new material technologies, larger components such as PCB terminals and headers are now available for automatic pick and place reflow assembly.

Fast forward to 2020 and there are several factors that favour a re-shoring of production to the UK. First and foremost, labour cost differences between the UK and Eastern Europe and China have narrowed as those markets experience sustained growth resulting in the emergence of an affluent middle class. The highly automated production process requires fewer personnel to operate and therefore the cost of manufacturing varies less between east and west.

Logistic costs have increased over the years, both in terms of moving product around but also in storing finished goods ready for market. As a result, supply chains are finely tuned to have just the right amount of product in the logistics chain and capitol is not tied up in stock on the high seas or in warehouses. This does however have inherent risk when supply chains become disrupted as we are experiencing now.

And the final factor is in the rise of the internet and the associated speed of change in technology. Just-in-time manufacturing is critical now in order to keep up with the competition and innovate quickly to meet an ever-changing market.

And so, all the evidence suggests we are entering another golden age of UK manufacturing but only time will tell if this becomes a reality. At Phoenix Contact, we are well placed to support this resurgence with much of our portfolio manufactured in Europe and with a UK based warehouse and local distribution partners holding stock.

For further information on design for manufacturing and how component choice can significantly reduce production costs visit www.phoenixcontact.co.uk/dfm

For more information, contact Duncan on 07799 072059 or email dnicol@phoenixconctact.com

You get what you set with MACX-TR

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Written by Fraser Cowie, Product Manager- Interface

Most timer relays are quite fiddly to set up and you often need some minutes and a technical data sheet to do it. The new MACX Smart Timer from Phoenix Contact can be set up in seconds and does not require access to a data sheet or a technical brochure!

MACX-TR timer relays are multifunctional timer relays with an OLED display and push buttons. Users benefit from both the intuitive handling and the precise time function setting options. You can adjust the time parameters either via an app on your smartphone, or directly using pushbuttons on the device.

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A compact solution for creating local mains power

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Written by Mark Lloyd, Senior Product Manager- Power Suppies and Surge Protection

This is a first for Phoenix Contact…our offering in the field of power supplies up until today is single, 2 or 3 phase AC to low voltage DC, or DC to DC. As far as I am aware, this is our first product that converts low voltage DC to a pure mains sine wave.

So, why is this device different from many of the lower cost DC to AC inverters that are on the market? Quite simply its design is based upon the already established QUINT4 UPS and is electrically and mechanically robust, so suitable for industrial applications. Additionally, the vast majority on the market are usually either chassis mount or rack mount format. As far as I am aware this is the first Din Rail mountable inverter on the market.

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The Axioline P Process I/O Platform

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Written by Tony Deane, Technical Manager

“One small step for Phoenix Contact. One giant leap for the Process Automation industry”

In today’s current climate of digitalisation and IIoT, there is a major trend going on across all industries. Namely users are demanding more information from their plant with the goal of optimising assets to improve operating performance.

The increased demand is pushing Ethernet to move further out into the plant, closer to field devices. However, in terms of integrating Ethernet into process instrumentation at the device level, we are some way from that point.

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How safe do you need to be?

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Written by Andy Maskell, Product Manager- Safety & Networks

Earlier this year the new PSRmodular safety system was launched. Since then the benefits of this new platform have been realised and implemented into a wide range of applications. Every time I get involved with a new application I learn more about how flexible this system can be and how important it has been to simplify making machines safe.

You can choose from two expandable controllers depending on the complexity of your application. Then, if required, you can decide on the expansion modules you need. There are plenty of I/O expansion modules to choose from in various sizes to suit your application, so you only order what you need.

All common input types are catered for :

  • Emergency stop
  • Two handed control
  • Safety light curtains (AOPD)
  • OSSD (Output Signal Switching Device)
  • Safety Mats
  • Zero speed monitoring
  • Over/Under speed
  • Safe analogue monitoring

The new PSRmodular software is intuitive and easy to use with pre-configured function blocks and built in monitoring for all of your safety tasks.

Current approvals:

  • Up to PLe/SILCL 3 (IEC 62061)
  • Lift application (EN81-20/EN81-50)
  • UL 508
  • Atex zone 2, CL1 Zone 2, IEC EX
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One of the many special features of PSRmodular is the Line E-stop function. This feature allows the user to link multiple safety controllers together and create a global emergency stop system whilst allowing local safety functions to operate independently. If an emergency stop device is operated then all controllers will detect this and react accordingly.

If you could benefit from some remote safe I/O then we have the TBUS extension modules. The TBUS module allows the din rail mount communication connectors to be extended by cabling. Just four cores are required to do this and up to six extensions can be used per controller.

And when comes to integrating the PSRmodular system into the rest of the machine we have that covered to with the optional communication gateway options. All popular communication protocols are catered for with non-safe bidirectional communication possible for all types.

The PSRmodular Software is “FREE” and can be downloaded from our website now.

We also have various support tools to get you started on your safety journey, quick start videos, product overviews and data sheets.

If you would like further information please feel free to contact Andy on amaskell@phoenixcontact.com or tel 07584 235440

Single Pair Ethernet- and why it will transform the industrial data landscape

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Written by Duncan Nicol, Sales & Marketing Manager- Device Connections

What is Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) and why is it so important for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)?

SPE is the new secure Ethernet protocol using just two wire cabling and is set to become the new standard for the IIoTs. Ethernet has been the leading communications protocol in LAN applications since the 1980s. The applications have been far reaching and critical to the rise in communication networks the world over.

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It’s GO time!

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Written by Andy Neat, Product Manager- Marking & Identification and Industrial Cabinet Solutions

Just like buses, it’s me again! Two blogs in three weeks. I hope you’re all well and healthy still and slowly getting back to normal life.

I’ve got a new marking system to tell you about, yes, another one! We (as Product Mangers) were shown these new products in the early part of this year with a vision to launch at the famous Hannover Messe 2020…but of course that was all not to be.

At the start of UK lockdown we were told there would be a delay in the launch of the new marking system BUT I politely asked if German HQ could send one of the new systems to my house so I could unbox it and show it to you all! Which they did, and I did! In fact I published the video online in April as a teaser so you may have seen it already. The good news is the printer is now ready for launch this month!

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Looking for system design solutions for Building Automation projects?

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Written by Deepan Patel, Industry Manager- Infrastructure

Look no further!

Project + is Phoenix Contact’s solution to providing the marketplace with a very easy and intuitive way to configure your PLC solutions. This extends also to our Building Technology solutions. In my previous posts I talk about ILC 2050 Building Intelligent controller. This is based on Tridium’s Niagara platform. You can see my previous blog.

Configuring your solution

Phoenix Contact designed Project+ to overcome challenges when it comes to designing which parts are needed for the project. Nowadays we retain so much information, but it is common to forget things, so we create solutions to help us. Say you had a part number missed or incorrectly entered, how about knowing what power supply to use? What about what size of the panel you need or when you need an extra power module to support the IO modules. What about pricing? These are the many challenges Design/Electrical engineers face in today’s world. Project+ addresses all of these!                 

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Let’s talk the torque!

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Written by Andy Neat, Product Manager- Marking & Identification and Industrial Cabinet Solutions

Good morning everyone! First and foremost, I hope you’re well and that your family and loved ones are too.

The last time I wrote a blog I could pop to Sainsbury’s without a queue or face mask among many other normal realities, such is the world we live in now.  Staggering how fast the world has changed…

The UK seems to be easing its way back to normal now with shops, bars & restaurants reopening their doors and with that a very healthy discount is being offered to those that do choose to venture out. Perhaps you’re slowly getting back to semi-normality by going back to work yourself and if you are (or even if you’re not) then we also have offers to help you out in the pocket if you wish to upgrade your toolbox!

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