Activate the ‘laser’

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Written by Andy Neat, Product Manager- Marking & Installation

Applications for lasers seem endless from medicine to measurement and communication to cutting….Buzz Lightyear had one on his suit and seem to remember Goldfinger shining one between James Bond’s legs in the 60’s! They’ve been around a long time too with Eintstein having an early part to play in developing the first laser and in fact did you know ‘Laser’ is an acronym of Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation?… (you’ll sleep better now you know that).

So where do we at Phoenix Contact fit into this? Well like Goldfinger, we use them to cut and burn stuff! And, to be more specific, mark stuff! We have a marking system called the Topmark NEO, and it’s a very good one too.

It’s a class 1 fibre laser etching system which can mark stainless steel, aluminium and multiple plastic labels in seconds! It can also cut custom shapes and labels out of transply ABS and Polyacrolite material with the biggest size being 180mm x 180mm. With the ability to laser etch onto multiple materials it goes without saying that the Topmark NEO is perfect for most applications from panel building to machine building, plant marking and even food & beverage and offshore applications.

It doesn’t stop there either. If you’re used to our old faithful UCT and UC cards for terminal and cable marking, then guess what? It can laser etch those cards and stack them for you too! It genuinely is the complete marking system!

And of course it’s all driven by our Project Complete software to mark directly to the Topmark or to export onto USB stick and import onto the Topmark itself, eliminating the need to use a PC all the time.

But the best bit is we now have a Topmark NEO in our UK office to demonstrate. You can book to come and have a play with it yourself where we can treat you to a biscuit or doughnut or two 😉 and who knows, we may even be allowed some of ‘Becky from Marketing’s’ special coffee! 

For info on the Topmark NEO click here and to book to see the Topmark NEO click here.

Thanks for reading and I hopefully look forward to talking lasers with you soon!

Now excuse me whilst I catch up on what happens to that laser between James Bond’s legs…

For more information, contact Andy on 07786 252414 or email aneat@phoenixcontact.com

A new exciting world of EV Infrastructure

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The adverts on TV for full EVs and Hybrids are becoming more widespread- even oil and gas companies have been adverting their clean fuel and EV charging services on prime time TV !

My view on this massive change? I believe it is the same as the change that packaging industry is currently experiencing. The automobile industry and the associated infrastructure needs to make changes for our future on this planet, so we don’t pollute the seas and the air we breathe.

So why am I talking about the planet ?  My last blog was dedicated to renewables- solar– this one is e-mobility. We have been involved in this industry for approximately 10 years and some would say that Phoenix Contact is all about connectors- yes, that’s where we started in the infrastructure of EV charging but we have now developed a full product range and we are, as I see it, the technology behind the charge point.

I have joined the new world of hybrid cars recently and plugged into the charge point at one of my favourite pubs (at the weekend) and was pleased to find I had plugged into a Phoenix Contact socket !

Phoenix Contact continues to develop the range, and during 2020 we will launch new sockets, connectors and controllers which will help support the infrastructure you will need to power your hybrid or full EV in the coming years.

One aspect of this industry which is particularly exciting for me is the different ideas that our customers develop to solve the requirements we will all have in the coming years such as:

  • not having a driveway – leads to the need for on-street charging
  • taxis need to charge during the day – leads to inductive charging for taxi rank parking
  • the need to travel the length of the country – leads to high power charging.

Phoenix Contact has products and solutions to help – please get in touch for further information. Email: ndawbarn@phoenixcontact.com or tel: 07584 514958

The humble unmanaged Switch

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

Me, being a cyber security aware sort of guy, the first thing you might say about my blog this time is: why on earth is Phoenix Contact still developing unmanaged switches?

The answer is there will always be a need for unmanaged switches. If you look to the IT sector, they are still using unmanaged switches to connect to the network- but it is all about how you use the switch.

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Monitor and test your surge protection

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

In the relatively short amount of time I have been involved with the “Dark Arts” that is surge protection, one of the main misconceptions is that a SPD is a kind of fuse that acts once and then needs to be replaced. This is not true. The SPD acts more like a valve that only conducts when a transient overvoltage rises to a certain level, at which point it conducts to earth and limits the voltage the load sees, therefore protecting it. So a SPD is good for multiple transient events- however, the semiconductor components within SPDs will eventually wear out and unless there are regular visual checks or there is feedback to the system in the form of a remote contact, then potentially the SPD will not be doing its job.

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Connectivity behind the meter

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

The energy market is changing rapidly as the cost of renewables and battery technology continues to fall. As a result it is becoming more cost effective to generate and store electricity locally to where the demand is.

The connected home
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The sun is shining

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

I write this with the sun blasting in the window – it’s cold but sunny, the best of winter days. We have experienced increased activity in the solar market over the last few months and with our improved range of solutions available, the outlook is a sunny one!

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Building automation- the future is already here

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Written by Karl Fazakerley, Product Manager- Device Connections

First and foremost I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year and I hope it turns out to be a successful one for you all. 

For this year we are focusing into the world of building automation, the big trends which we are beginning to see come in to play and of course where Phoenix Contact and our vast range of products and solutions sit in this arena.

Building automation has been around for some time but it is evolving rapidly.  Communication between devices, communication between protocols, and communication between whole cities is here and moving fast. We are lucky that we now have the technologies to diminish many of the shortcomings we have had and make great leaps and bounds forward.

Cities are undergoing what could only describe as a wave of digital transformation.  To understand the needs, we have to manage our ecosystems.  It is estimated that by 2050, 66 percent of the global population will be located in cities, that is an additional 2.5 billion people to our current number.  With rapid population growth and urbanisation transforming the way we get on with our day to day lives, we need to find methods of improving and maintaining our current quality of life by using our resources more efficiently.

Smart cities work by using IoT sensors, actuators, and different protocols to connect components across the city.   With these devices, which monitor everything from the air to the street to the Underground,  cloud based IoT applications receive, analyse and manage data in real-time to help businesses and the general public make better decisions that can, in turn, work towards making their (and our) lives that bit easier.  Another huge benefit is that smart cities also benefit the environment. Pairing devices and data with a city’s physical infrastructure and services cuts costs and improves sustainability with both water and energy usage, which in turn reduces CO2 emissions.

A massive step forward will be the further deployment of 5G technology.  This will be a turning point to propel smart city technology and development into the mainstream.  5G will allow larger amounts of data to be communicated across networks much faster than we have been able to achieve so watch that space.

Where do we fit in? At Phoenix Contact we have a vast range of products that are perfectly suited to manufacturer’s who specialise in this arena.

Everything from BMS control system solutions right down to the Printed Circuit Board, we have something that will help you with your design of a complete system down to the design of a device.  For example, if you are looking into board to board connectivity for high pole counts, look no further than our robust Finepitch range of connectors with both shielded and unshielded options.  It is the perfect solution to use when designing future proof devices suitable for use in building automation device applications.

For more information, contact Karl on 07919 005153 or email kfazakerley@phoenixcontact.com

Keep up to date with product changes

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Written by Darren Hack, Distribution Manager

I recently passed 16 years with Phoenix Contact and as you can imagine there have been a lot of changes within that time.  The waistline has expanded, the hairline is fighting a losing battle, at least my football team continue to be frustratingly average! 

However we are here to talk about the changes at Phoenix Contact, and specifically with our products.  In this area there are always plenty of changes, something you would expect from a company that prides itself on innovations!  An example being our Quint power supplies, where we are currently on our 4th generation- a PSU you can now program using NFC!   In addition to technical innovations there are also many changes made to products to improve design, streamline manufacturing processes and the additions of approvals.

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Smart solutions for a smart world

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Written by Rachel Boyd, Digital Marketing Specialist

The first Monday of a new year isn’t usually everyone’s most favourite day of the year, so to ease you into the first full working week of 2020 take a look at what we have in store through-out the year.

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Maximum protection for your electronics

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Written by Gary Nelson, Senior Product Manager- Device Connections

When the weather is so challenging how do you ensure your outdoor electronic device remains protected?

It’s the most commonly discussed subject and the main ice breaker in conversations and yet it can cause significant issues when designing electronics based products to be used outdoors. If you are looking at protecting a printed circuit board (PCB) based electronic device, finding an enclosure to house your product can be even harder. The location and access to the unit needs to be taken into account for maintenance and you may need wall mounting  fixing points or to be able to mount it on a pole.

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