Looking for more flexibility when designing electronic devices?

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Written by Karl Fazakerley, Product Manager- Device Connections

In this blog I would like to bring your attention to our Finalist in the Electronics Industry Awards 2021 – SPT MODULAR PCB TERMINAL BLOCKS. 

Design Engineers are looking for more flexibility when designing electronic devices.  They require highly individualised connection solutions and, at times, with very special requirements.  With that in mind I would like to tell you more specifically about a product range which enhances our own capabilities and also benefits the design engineer. With the SPT modular PCB terminals, moving to a fully digitalised, customisable platform is our first step in this direction.  In order to make the almost unlimited variance manageable and quickly available, Phoenix Contact has, for the first time, implemented a continuous digital process chain of the SPT modular- from configurator to production .   

Today’s world of electronic devices have become more diverse and colourful, so to speak. The product life cycles of these new devices are becoming shorter and shorter, and with increasing technical requirements. 

An example of this is the trend towards higher electrical voltages.   The higher the voltage, the lower are both transmission losses and the required use of copper materials.  In the areas of renewable energies, dielectric strengths of up to 1500 V are now required- in both EV and Solar industries.  

At the same time, the newly developed devices are becoming more compact (by no means more expensive), but the ease of installation and connection is important. 

With the particularly flexible product architecture of the SPT modular line, Phoenix Contact offers the possibility of adapting PCB terminals specifically to the design and technical requirements of the device. So, for example, the dielectric strength of each individual connection terminal can be individually defined by inserting spacers at any point. In this way, the above-mentioned dielectric strength of 1500 V can also be achieved.   

On request, even hybrid blocks are available in which different terminal sizes are combined in one block. This saves up to two manual assembly processes in PCB production. 

To blend in visually with the device-Design and, at the same time, facilitate device installation, each individual element can be coloured with a choice of 25 different colours. Thanks to the proven and advanced push-in technology, the actual conductor connection is efficient, safe and error-free. 

The configurator serves as a control for the downstream processes. It can be operated intuitively, and it guides the user through the various options as part of the configuration logic. The 3D visualised configuration is fast and fluid.  When configuration is completed, all article data is available. 

Just like you were shopping on Amazon, more and more industrial customers are starting to use online ordering options for components.  So far, however, this has been used almost exclusively for “catalogue goods” like articles without any customer-specific characteristics.  With SPT modular, Phoenix Contact goes one step further: As soon as a logged-in customer has completed the described configuration process and placed the article in the shopping cart, it is pronounced in the background in the IT subsystems and made orderable. 

For the efficient and error-free control of variant production, a certain degree of digitisation as well as automation is indispensable, especially when implementing special customer requirements, sources of error can be effectively avoided by the “human factor”. The order from the above process arrives as a digital production order in the paperless smart factory. 

The digital chain must not break off after delivery to the customer, especially with a varied article. For this reason, there is a QR code on every PCB terminal.  If you read it, you will be redirected to a technical article detail page where you will find all technical information. The QR code is an important element to close the gap between the physical and the digital world.  

What began as a vision with buzzwords such as Industry 4.0 and digitisation has long since arrived and established itself in industrial business. The SPT modular configurable PCB terminals make an important contribution to the electrification and digitisation of many areas of life such as industry, infrastructure and buildings due to their individuality and diverse application possibilities.   

For more information, contact Karl on 07919005153 or email kfazakerley@phoenixcontact.com



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