Light and sound

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Written by Andy Maskell, Product Manager- Safety & Networks

Light and sound has been used for centuries as a means of communication. In amongst all of the complex state of the art automation, we still use light and sound to communicate the status of machines and production lines.

Automation efficiencies mean there are less people on the shop floor to attend individual machines, so when there is need for intervention a simple LED indicator or sounder can help keep things moving and reduce expensive production downtime.

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Maximum connectivity in minimum space

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Written by Gary Nelson, Senior Product Manager- Device Connections.

When creating DIN rail assemblies how do you ensure your connectivity needs are met without compromising valuable space in the cabinet?

The scenario is nothing new as no matter how well planned the layout of your cabinet is, the interconnection needs always take valuable space between the DIN rails. The reason is mainly due to the location of the connectors and the cable bend radii needed to prevent damage to the connection points. In traditional electronics enclosures the number of connection points is also limited unless the physical width or height of the housing is increased which then takes up even more valuable space on the DIN rail.

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Shrink sleeve marking and pizza…all from your smartphone?

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

Morning everyone, welcome to another one of my Monday morning blogs!

First of all, I hope you are all safe and well as we find ourselves in national lockdown again. If nothing else, I have here something to take your mind off the pandemic for a few minutes as I’m going to talk to you about a product which you can download and play with, right now!

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The green light for Clixtrab surge protection

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

Safety-related systems, such as signalling systems found on our railway networks, require reliable lightning and surge protection. You could imagine the outcry if a lightning strike was to take out a trackside signalling system and stop trains in their tracks (no pun intended)!

Our new family, CLIXTRAB, is specifically designed for use in the kind of safety-related systems you find in the railway industry but is also suitable for many other industry sectors.

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Don’t get caught out with Interbus master obsolescence

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Written by Tony Deane, Technical Manger

Start planning and taking action to mitigate for obsolecence now!

How many times over the years have you had to say to someone “I told you so!” Just recently this has become a recurring theme for me.

Three years ago, I did my first blog on the demise of the Interbus Master for Siemens PLC systems manufactured by Phoenix Contact. The IBS S5 DSC/IT termination board for S5 115U systems had already been replaced by the S7 300 DSC/IT and S7 400 DSC/IT.

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Introducing the Smart Camera Box

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

Many of you might be thinking “Wait, what?” Yes, a Smart Camera box! Then people have asked if Phoenix Contact is entering into the Security Industry? Well that’s a yes and a no.

Phoenix Contact had a lot of success in the Building Management System (BMS) industry. Where we have seen many great applications using many of our well known and trusted products. For example, our managed switches and fibre Splicing technologies. Also, with the rise of usage of PoE, customers have been trying to make their networks a lot more efficient.

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The developing world of Electric Vehicles and Infrastructure

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

The sales of battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars tipped over the two-million-vehicle mark for the first time in 2019. During 2020, and within Europe, the effects of Covid have not slowed the sales of BEVs and PHEVs drastically.

With more new cars being added to the manufacturers’ lists of options the future looks exciting. But it’s not just the main car manufacturers investing in this development, we are seeing commercial vehicles being launched from busses and vans to boats and motocycles!

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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

For more information, contact Duncan on 07799 072059 or email