Wireless – Forever evolving technology

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

Wireless- it really is an amazing technology. The ability to send data from a PLC to remote I/O still surprises me, especially when customers bring a new application to me with what they want to achieve.

There have been some changes regarding our wireless portfolio which I would like to talk about today to bring you up to speed on what is available and achievable.

First, the bad news. I think you would be surprised to find anyone who does not know about the global semiconductor shortages and one of the articles that we provide has fallen victim to this, but of course we have a replacement for the item.

Our old faithful, FL WLAN 5110 is to be made obsolete with short notice. This is due to the aforementioned component shortages.

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What is Edge Computing?

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Written by Andy Ellis, Field Application Engineer – Automation & Renewables

In recent years, there has been a heavy focus on utilisation of the cloud. Using the cloud has revolutionised how people store and use their data. Everything from process data, calculated efficiency and quality for industry can be handled in the cloud.

But…

Latency, bandwidth, security, or a lack of offline access can be problematic. To solve this problem, users need robust, secure and integrated on-premise infrastructure for edge computing. Edge computing is the practice of capturing, storing, processing and analysing data near the client where it is generated!

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What makes a smart building tick?

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Written by Karl Fazakerley, Product Manager- Device Connections

A building automation system (BAS) is a network designed to connect and automate various functions inside a building. In your own homes, if you enjoy telling your Alexa off for playing the wrong music, then you know Alexa gives you the ability to interconnect your heating, lighting, cameras, and various other interfaces through one set of controls. Albeit it far more complex, the same principle applies in commercial and industrial settings. 

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Mark up your PCB, the Phoenix Contact way!

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Written by Andy Neat, Senior Product Manager- Marking & Identification and Toolfox

Welcome to my latest blog on all things marking and labelling!

When we talk about terminal marking, those little white rectangular pieces of plastic that clip in the top of terminals spring to mind. But what if your terminal isn’t mounted on a din rail, but on a PCB? Then we have a whole different portfolio for that to save to time and money!

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Quality you can rely on

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Written by Scott Mulholland, Product Manager- Industrial Components

With regard to our terminal range, it’s quite a common occurrence that I get asked to prove conformity to a certain standard or the adherence to specific test parameters. Thankfully, we have a wealth of information readily to hand.

It may be the case that your end customer needs assurances that the terminal components are up to the job, especially when the application is situated in harsh/extreme environments. We can help with those assurances. In addition to the standard tests in accordance with the Low Voltage directive, IEC 60947‑7‑1/‑2/‑3, we also undertake a comprehensive range of tests that ensure our terminal products are as good as they possibly can be.

If your customer has din rail terminal questions relating to any subject listed below, we will have the information to give them confidence.

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Power to X explained

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Written by Andrew Ellis, Field Application Engineer – Automation & Renewables

Following on from Andy’s blog post on the All Electric Society. I thought it would be a good time to talk about one element that will be critical to this future change and that is Power to X.

For the All Electric Society to become a reality, a lasting solution is needed that addresses the storage and transportation of energy generated by renewable sources – although liquid and gaseous fuels will still be needed in the immediate future, primarily by the mobility sector. However, in the future, these fuels will also be produced using renewable electricity.

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All Electric Society

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Written by Andy Mills, Sales & Marketing Manager- Industrial Components & Electronics

Save the planet…sustainability…eco-friendly…green…  

All words that can often lead to debate on what the correct path is for us all to take with our lifestyle and daily decisions.  Whilst we can debate on the current state of the planet, one thing that we can’t deny is that it cannot hurt to try.  To try to do things a little differently and, hopefully, better. 

With this being said, I would like to introduce the All Electric Society

The idea of the All Electric Society is a World where everyone has access to affordable, unlimited, renewable energy.  To not only utilise renewable electricity for our daily uses, but also for travel and industrial purposes. 

This concept sounds relatively achievable until you ask the questions about aspects like air travel – can an aeroplane really utilise solar/battery power?

Maybe, maybe not.   

The solution for air travel from a renewable perspective is utilising renewable jet fuels – “Power to X” 

To learn more about Power to X, click this link or do a quick Google search and you’ll find yourself an abundance of information on how electricity can be converted into heat, electricity, or synthetic fuels.  This concept is truly fascinating and could potentially change the planet for the better. 

Phoenix Contact is working with the Power to X concept and sharing our own dream of an All Electric Society, where we have a multitude of solutions to help our partners in creating a better future for our planet.   

After all, Electric is our business… 

From electric vehicle products, to solar energy solutions, to the simple terminal block that is used in nearly all electrical and renewable applications.  We believe we have the widest portfolio of solutions to help achieve the goal of a sustainable future. 

Look out for future communications from Phoenix Contact as we go on our All Electric Society journey. 

For more information, contact Andy on 07810 556667 or email amills@phoenixcontact.com

Power and data…wirelessly!

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

With 2021 now ending, it is a great time to reflect on what we have achieved in the outgoing year. With the supply chain still suffering from the events over the last couple of years we all have found ways to adapt. Phoenix Contact, of course, has not been exempt from the current component shortages, but when customers have needed a solution from a networking point of view, in most cases, we have been able to help our customers where needed.

So, what can you expect from Phoenix Contact networking in 2022? Our most anticipated product has just been released: NearFi – with the ability of transmitting power and data in the centimetre range.

But what do I mean by this?

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A merry DC Christmas!

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Written by Chantelle Lane, Product Manager- Device Connections

Welcome to the last DC blog of 2021.

As this is my first ever blog I’d like to use this time to give you all a brief introduction of myself – although many of you may know me already, albeit maybe only via phone or email! My name is Chantelle Lane and I’ve been with Phoenix Contact for 11 years. I’ve had numerous job roles within the company, starting as an apprentice processing orders at the beginning of 2011 and became part of the DC team in 2015 as internal technical support and customer services, looking after all of the DC customers from an internal point of view and the external sales team – who need more looking after than our customers!

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PLCNext – Limitless Possibilities

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Written by Andrew Ellis – Field Application Engineer, Automation and Renewables

As an automation engineer with nearly 20+ years of experience with multiple automation systems across many industries,  you would think that answering questions on automation products would be easy. However, having recently joined Phoenix Contact, one of the more difficult questions I get asked is how would I describe PLCnext?

My first thought is to equate PLCnext to a blank piece of paper. With a pencil you can draw and create plans. Scissors allow you to cut out shapes, and folding the paper with your hands allows you to build. Tools are what make PLCnext so flexible. With the ability to program in IEC 61131, C++, Matlab, Python, Rust, Node Red etc you can find the right tool for the job. PLCnext provides the flexibility of Linux, with the reliability of a PLC.

Then I think to myself, maybe a better analogy would be with a multitool. PLCnext provides a single platform for small scale systems, through to full scale decentralised systems and also edge computing. Extension modules provide further functionality with PROFIsafe, IO link, Machine learning and of course, compatibility with the full range of Axioline IO modules and remote IO.

Or maybe it should be likened to a mobile phone. The PLCnext store allows you to extend the functionality of the system with pre-built software extension, or you can download fully realised apps directly to your controller. Furthermore, if you have an app you wish to commercialise, then let us assist you to take advantage of our eco-system and sell your app on the PLCnext store. Phoenix Contact also provide a social space to exchange ideas and support each other within the PLCnext community.

For more information about PLCnext, contact Andrew on 07584514958 or email aellis@phoenixcontact.com

Or maybe I just need to ask what ideas do you have for your next product? Then we can demonstrate how PLCnext can be open to your automation possibilities, rather than limit your solution.