Author Archives: Rachel Boyd

Rachel Boyd

About Rachel Boyd

Digital Marketing Specialist

Phoenix Contact in the Rail industry

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Written by Nuno Vasco, Field Sales Engineer- Rail

I have been managing the Rail Industry for Phoenix Contact for over a year now and I can only look back and reflect on the challenges faced by myself.  Also how I have tackled these challenges and removed them from the equation.

In April last year I started investigating the signalling and infrastructure sectors of the rail industry here in the UK and after many discussions, events and networking evenings I have been put on the “right track”. Starting conversations with Network Rail and given guidance through many institutions of which I am a member of the Permanent Way Institution and the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers.

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Intelligent surge protection monitoring

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Written by Mark Lloyd, Product Manager- Power Supplies & Surge Protection

What use is the best type of surge protection if you don‘t know how long it will remain active?

When I took on the role of the UK Product Management for Surge & Lightning Protection devices, I thought I had successfully avoided any complicated Industry 4.0 or Industrial Internet of Things involvement. I thought you couldn’t possibly be able to monitor surge currents and transient over-voltages in real time over a network. Boy, was I wrong.

This month we have unveiled ImpulseCheck which is the world’s first intelligent assistance system for surge protection in the field of mains protection.

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Design for manufacturing

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

When it comes to designing a new electronic device, the initial considerations are function and aesthetics to ensure the device meets the requirements of the environment it is designed to function in.

Way down the list of things to consider is the connector(s). And this can be something of an issue if the layout is already defined by the silicon and enclosure design. By definition, a connector is a component that interacts with other elements in the device or with the outside world. It connects things together, and for this reason the connector(s) is an integral part of the design.

When designing in the connection technology it is important to consider design for manufacturing. This is more often than not completely forgotten in the design process but it has significant impact on the time and cost of manufacturing the device.

So what is design for manufacturing and why is it so important? Well, the vast majority of components on a typical PCB are surface mount which means they are picked and placed on an automatic reflow production line. However, certain component including connectors, are often too big for the automatic pick and place line and so are manually placed and soldered on either a wave or selective solder line.

But the world of connectors has moved with the times and now there is a wide selection of PCB connectors available for automatic pick and place, both rectangular and circular surface mount or through-hole reflow (THR). What does this mean for design engineers? More choice for a start but also space, time and most importantly cost savings.

So let’s look into the various advantages of connectors for automatic pick and place.

Let’s start with space saving. Changing from a through-hole to a surface mount connector saves space on the underside of the PCB for other components. This has significant advantages for double sided PCBs where space is in short supply. Anchors are often included to provide mechanical strength.

Time saving is closely related to cost saving so we can cover these benefits together. Automatic pick and place offers significant savings in production for several reasons. An automatic pick-and-place production line only requires one or two operators at any one time to monitor the process and add components to the feeders as required. Pick & place lines run extremely quickly and often feature automatic inspection to ensure that the populated PCBs are assembled and soldered correctly. So being able to include connectors in this process is very beneficial as it negates the need for a secondary manual assembly line.

Therefore it is important to consider component choice with a view to the production processes needed. Simply put, if a PCB can be assembled in one automatic pick & place reflow process instead of two the total manufactured cost will be less.

For more information, please contact Duncan on 07799 072059 or email

Why bother with derating curves?

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Written by Scott Mulholland- Product Manager, Industrial Components

When deadlines are approaching, and the pressure is ramping up, we can all be guilty of specifying components that we are pretty sure will be fit for the job at hand. If time is of the essence, and the clock is ticking, it can be all too easy to give the product’s technical data a cursory ‘glance over’ for fleeting confirmation of what we suspect the product’s performance characteristics are.

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Popular topics in smart networks

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Written by Gareth Chamberlain- Product Manager, Cyber Security & IT Automation

I have been surprised over the last few years on how a simple product whose technology has been around for the last 25+ years, can change an application and save so much time and cable costs.

Looking at the Smart Networks campaign we are running in the UK, I always thought that Cyber Security and Cloud based systems would be at the forefront of the demand, however, wireless technology is one of the most popular subjects I speak to customers about. There are so many different ways that wireless can be implemented that I am always amazed in what our customers can do with these products.

I would like to show you the top three wireless products and some of the ways they can be implemented.

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The missing link

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Written by Gary Nelson- Senior Product Manager, Device Connections and Gareth Chamberlain- Product Manager, Cyber Security & IT Automation

In the world of smart networks, communication is key. But when do you make the decision of which connection technology to use?

Designing a network is always an intensive process, planning out what is needed and how devices will communicate with one another. Talking to people involved with each process, talking to the safety engineer and talking to the controls engineer and many other people. You have planned out the subnet and if any other network protocols are to run across the topology. But the one thing most network designers forget is what media and what connection is going to be used.

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Electric vehicle charging

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Written by Nigel Dawbarn, Sales & Marketing Manager – Industry Management

I took on the responsibility for Phoenix Contact’s E-Mobility product range about a year ago, and wow! not a week goes by without several new enquiries from new contacts or new enquiries from existing customers.  The ideas and applications differ, making for very interesting discussions.

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Take control of safety

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Written by Andy Maskell, Product Manager, Safety and Networks

Safety monitoring using IO Link diagnostics

Last year we introduced the PSR SWITCH concept using transponder technology for the highest level of safety in your machine. This year we introduce the other half of the story!

The PSR-MC42 Safety relay

The PSR-MC42 safety relay has two dual channel input circuits allowing for example an emergency stop circuit and up to 30 PSR-SWITCHES to be monitored at the same time offering a complete safety solution in one relay. Continue reading

What is a Smart City?

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Written by Karl Fazakerley- Product Manager, Device Connections

A smart city is the re-development of an area or city using data and communication technologies to enhance the performance and quality of services such as energy, connectivity, transportation, utilities and others.  The adoption of smart applications can provide a range of benefits for residents, from public safety to health and transportation.  One such area is lighting and how this fits within the IoT world.

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