System Cabling Solution for Process Industry

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One of the challenges which panel builders in the process industry face would be space saving on control cabinets. Many Process retrofitting jobs require panel builders to ensure the quantity of cabinets remain even though additional I/O’s are added. System cabling is one of the best solutions to save space in control cabinets.  One of our panel builders solved their problems by replacing terminal blocks with our VARIOFACE Interface Module for the project.


  • Additional 150 I/O’s on current system
  • Additional Controller Module
  • Cabinet Quantities need to be remained

After going through the product technical information, panel builder engineers decided to replace most of the signals with our VIP Interface Module due to space constraints. There are a total of 115 units of VIP-3/SC/D37SUB/F installed in this project. Photos of the panel are shown below.

Control Cabinet

Fig 1: Control Cabinet

VIP Interface Board

Fig 2: VIP Interface Board

Features of Interface Module:

  • Compact design of control cabinet space
  • I/O marking for field wiring clearly identified
  • Flexible marking of modules
  • Metal mounting foot allows for easy installation and removal on din-rail
  • Allows flexible module mounting positions

In addition to the space saving advantage, the site engineer shared that it is also time saving and fault free during the wiring termination. When the panels are delivered, the end user saves valuable time when installing and troubleshooting

If you need any technical advice on your current project, feel free to contact us or drop us feedback below. I believe we can be your trusted partner to provide suitable solution to fit your application!

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LV Compartment for MV Switchgear

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Box by box towards Smart Grid 1: LV Compartment for MV Switchgear

The gradual shift towards the much vaunted Smart Grid structure has been gathering steam in the last few years. While much of the excitement has been generated from the immense potential of what a fully completed Smart Grid system can bring (for example, higher reliability at reduced cost), Grid operators, independent power producers and their team of engineers are facing real difficulties in implementing such systems today. It is easy to talk about wanting to implement technologically advanced systems, but when it comes to actually executing the projects to implement such solutions, the complexity surrounding such implementations comes to the fore.

Much of this complexity arises because of the vast variety of applications within the industry. It is particularly difficult to find the right set of products that are suitable for the application, reliable, fast to set up and easy to manage. For example in Transmission and Distribution substations, there will minimally be systems for transformers, shunt reactors, switchboards, intrusion detection monitoring systems and each of these systems can consist of smaller sub systems. For example, in monitoring a switchboard, we can monitor downstream load current for energy balancing; micro current fluctuations for signs of partial discharge or even for predictive maintenance; door contact monitoring for physical security and the list goes on. Each of these systems will require the right set of products and will have to be linked in this web of madness. Imagine the chaos!

At Phoenix Contact, we recognise this difficulty. While we have many solutions for Energy Industry that we are always sharing with the various stakeholders, in this series of blog articles, we will be examining how we help to simplify the implementation of Smart Grid. We will do so by examining the building blocks of a system – the individual panels which form up a system; and we will do so box by box. This first article will be about LV Compartment of MV Switchgear and we will delve straight into the 3 problems switchgear builders and grid operators are facing!

Problem 1: How do I collect signals from my switchgears and transform it into IEC61850?

The completed substation topology will involve decentralised controls where IEDs are placed at high voltage equipment (on transformers and switchgears) itself. Even when it is not completed, communications from the bay control cabinets and protection devices to the substation control system are being converted to IEC61850 as IEC61850 has proved to be a superior communication protocol and standard to reduce downtime and increase reliability of the grid. Therefore, it is only a matter of time before all switchgears are converting signals from the circuit breakers and all other auxiliary signals into IEC61850 data. However, examining the LV compartment of switchgears today, the signals are still being passed out with many copper wires or connected to numerical relays. These present two clear drawbacks:

  1. There are a lot of copper wires going out of the panel or into numerical relays. The associated cost includes requiring marshalling or pilot cabinets and related components and regular maintenance to check if the connections are good. In addition, it is difficult to isolate where the fault is when there is a loss of signal. In the worst case scenario, there might even be accidental shorting resulting in severe downtime!
  2. Numerical relay and its I/O cards are expensive.

These result in higher initial cost and higher eventual maintenance cost with downtime not necessarily minimized, especially in the event of loss of signal.

Using of a Bus coupler capable of communicating via GOOSE and MMS will solve both of these problems. Using Phoenix Contact bus coupler as an example, the signals can be easily inserted and aggregated as IEC61850 data. It certainly reduces the number of cables leaving the cabinet and with the light indicators, you can see clearly which connections are good without requiring extra tests. It is also of lower cost compared to numerical relays’ IOs while communicating perfectly with them.

Problem 2: There are too many wires, how can we manage them better?

Being the founder of the original ceramic terminal block, it is already tempting to say that Phoenix Contact is the best at solving this! But in the last few years, we have developed more data connectors to put us in a better position to solve this for switchgear builders!

We have an extremely wide range of terminal blocks for every applications and needs. We have demonstrated to be able to meet each and every customers’ unique demands, be it requiring pluggable solutions, fastest connection technology, space saving, you name it, we’ve done it!

In this article, we would just like to highlight how a commonly used connector for switchgears has developed to adapt to Smart Grid. In the past, our Heavycon (heavy duty connector) was often sold to connect the LCC and Bay cabinets. This enabled quick connection on site.


However, these connectors are usually for loose copper wires only. Although you can strip an Ethernet/serial connector to use such connectors, these connectors does not cater very well for the shielding required for data connector. Therefore, Phoenix Contact has developed a modular connector, allowing you to use your data connectors directly! This modular connector even allows you to have connectors which allow for high power!

Problem 3: With more signals being collected, there will be more testing to be done. How can we ensure we are safely doing the testing all the time!

Every so often, testing needs to be done on the current transformers and voltage transformers regularly. For current transformer especially, if not done right, explosions can happen. Currently, the shorting and breaking of circuits are done manually by hand (yes you read that right) and as you can imagine, explosions lead to death.

To solve this, Phoenix Contact has developed our test disconnect system (FAME) where shorting is done automatically and it is fool-proof!


Instead of using terminal blocks that are switched manually, you can replace it entirely with FAME and from then on, every testing procedure will be done how it is meant to be done: SAFELY.

We have assembled this product into a demo box along with other products that Phoenix Contact offers for LV Compartment for MV Switchgear. If you will like to have a look at the demo box up close, do contact us using the form below and we will get in touch!

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CUTFOX 10 Automated Cutting Device

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Are you still using cutters to manually cut wires? Of course it would be practical if the job scale is small, involving less than 480 pieces of wire of length 0.5m daily.

What happens when you have a bigger job, where you are required to cut more than 1000 pieces of wire of length 0.5m every day?

One possible solution would be to buy another cutter to fulfil this requirement.

However, in doing so, you have an increased the labour cost to that of 2 well-trained operators.

Also, this does not account for human errors as well as quality issues. Are humans capable of repeatedly cutting wires of fixed length with an acceptable precision? Are they capable of running non-stop without tiring, constantly producing an output of virtually identical wires for extended periods of time? All of this would lead to increased costs and wasted materials.

With that in mind, what could cut wires with a consistent precision and can operate for long durations on end without rest? The answer is simple – a machine. Introducing Phoenix Contact’s CutFox 10.

Compared to the same range of automatic wire cutting tools in the market, our CutFox 10 has 2 additional functions with regards to its Speed & Software:

  • SPEED – Maximum Throughput of wire is 8mm with 0.5m/s max. feed rate.
  • SOFTWARE – CUTSOFT allows the CUTFOX 10 to read Microsoft Excel files, which can be exported to the machine. You can create a table of data with records of cutting jobs, containing information on the number of wires and length desired. These data records are then processed sequentially by the CUTFOX 10.

The Cutfox 10 not only cuts your labour costs, it also removes the costly element of human error and fatigue. In doing so, quality output is assured. In addition, it is also safe to use, compared to a manual cutter in the hands of a tired and weary operator, minimizing the risk of an accident.

This piece of automation ensures Return of Investment (ROI) in less than 6 months of constant usage, in addition to solving your manpower, quality and safety issues. If you are sick of cutting many, many wires, then this device is perfect for you!

If you are interested to find out more about our automatic cutting and crimping tools, feel free to contact me via the form below!






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CT Testing with FAME

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Test disconnect terminal block might not be an alien term to you, especially if you are in the power industry and dealing with switchgears. This is the most common component you will see in a control relay panel, which allows you to do testing and short circuiting of current transformers. At Phoenix Contact, we incorporate different connection technology into our test disconnect terminal block series, namely the screw connection, spring cage connection and push-in connection. Of course, the changes to our test disconnect product series do not end there.

Figure 1: (From left to right) Screw connection, spring-cage connection and push-in connection

While test disconnect terminal blocks offer flexibility to the user, as well as the benefit of saving space because of its modular design, it still has a slight disadvantage when it comes to testing. During function testing of current transformers and voltage transducers, performing combine switching operations across several points is often a requirement, and thus there will be limitations when it comes to such situations when modular terminal blocks are used. With all the constraints and limitations that comes with using a modular test disconnect terminal block, it opens up greater possibilities for the product development team to explore creative designs to solve the problem while maintaining the benefits of the modular terminal block. With that, ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you FAMEFast And Modular Energy System, a solution specifically designed to cater to the need for performing complex switching operations, all at once.

Figure 2: FAME Plug and terminal strip

Figure 2: FAME Plug and terminal strip

If you find any of the above foreign to you, no worries! I have got you covered with quality posts by our product specialist. In this post, you will learn the fundamentals behind the make-before-break principle of a CT testing, as well as the reason for using test disconnect terminal blocks in such applications. Next, we look at FAME in detail from its basic operation to the difference between FAME 1, 2 and 3. These few posts will lay down the foundation for your understanding of the field of test disconnect systems.

While FAME is created for CT testing, and several versions of FAME have been developed for the different requirements of relay testing in different countries, we came to realize that there is room for other applications that FAME is able to offer. One specific example that best illustrates this is our recent product approval in Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), Malaysia’s national grid operator. It all started with a product presentation of FAME 1 to the product approval committee members of the Protection Department of Transmission Division, with the purpose of having Phoenix Contact to be specified in as the test plug. However, things started to side track from our original plan when FAME 1 was proposed to be adopted as a secondary safety check in their Control Relay Panel. This is part of the initiative of TNB in the implementation of live maintenance. In this new add-on design, our FAME 1 will be sitting in between the first isolation (terminal block) and the trip coil.

Figure 3: Diagram of group isolation link in protection panel

This secondary isolation, also known as the group isolation link is used to isolate trip contact in a group.

  • It consists of two components, the power plug and the terminal strip.
  • During normal operation, the power plug is inserted into the terminal strip, forming a closed contact between the terminal block and the trip coil
  • When live maintenance is carried out, the power plug will be disconnected from the terminal strip, leaving an open contact.


Figure 4: (From left to right) Power Plug and Terminal Strip

This application in Malaysia is a good example and reference of how FAME can be adapted to serve different applications from its original design purpose. If you have a bright idea of how you can use FAME while reading this post, we welcome you to contact us using the form below. Who knows, your idea could be the next new application of our FAME!

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Back to Basics – basicline Series

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Phoenix Contact is well known for its terminal blocks and connectors. Phoenix Contact’s success was also partially attributed to its Back to Basics campaign, which aimed to drive the business to meet all market requirements.

One particular Back to Basics product series worth mentioning is the basicline series – great quality connectors and terminal blocks that are also cost competitive.

The basicline series had helped many Phoenix Contact customers to have reliable and robust connectors at affordable pricing. This enabled customers to produce devices that are both cost competitive and reliable.

Many customers that have faced challenges in producing cost competitive devices for building automation, door access, security etc. are satisfied with what basicline has to offer.

In addition, basicline has helped to solve problems arising from using Asian-branded connectors with lower quality and reliablity issues.

Below is an example of a basicline series product.


  • Tin plated surface contact prevents rust overtime and provides consistent current rating
  • Non-frisky plastic housing and strong PA 66 provide robust and reliable usage
  • Strong price to performance ratio
  • Available in 3.50mm, 3.81mm, 5.00mm and 5.08mm pitch
  • Pluggable connectors and terminal block
  • Comes in green, black and grey. For other colours, kindly contact our salesperson
  • Optional marking and profiling
  • Available in 2 – 16 poles
  • Pluggable header available in horizontal and vertical positions

Interested to find out more? Contact me via the form below!

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Solar String Combiner Box Selection Criteria

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“I would like to have a quotation for a solar string combiner box. Please give me the quote ASAP.”

Two of the many possible options

This is the request that we always receive from customers when they want our proposal on solar string combiner boxes (SCB). Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer anything with such a brief statement like this. With that being said, we would like to take this chance to explain to the customers what information is required in order to help us to propose the right SCB for you.

  1. Maximum open-circuit voltage (Voc)
    First, we need to know the maximum open-circuit voltage (Voc) of your solar system design, whether it is 600 / 1000 / 1500V DC. The most common Voc in the market now is 1000V DC and we are also moving towards 1500V DC in Malaysia. This Voc is totally dependent on the system design.
  2. Maximum short-circuit current per string
    So where can we find this info? We are able to know what is our maximum short-circuit current by identifying the short-circuit current of the individual solar module that you have selected, and then multiplying it with the maximum short-circuit current multiplier. Every country has their own specific requirement for the maximum short-circuit multiplier; it can be 1.25 or 1.5 and etc.
  3. Input and Output
    Input here is referring to the number of solar strings going into the SCB and output is referring to the number of MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracker) involved. You will be able to find the info on the number of MPPT from the inverter that you are using in your system. Once this is confirmed, we will know the configuration you need for your SCB.
  4. Fuse holder Polarity
    We need to also find out from the customer whether they would like to have fuse holder at positive polarity only or at both positive and negative polarity. From protection point of view, we encourage our customers to have fuse holder at both positive and negative polarity because this will give higher protection to the SCB on the incoming side. However, it is still fine to have fuse holder at only positive polarity to fulfil the local standard requirement.
  5. String termination at SCB
    Sunclix Connector

    Sunclix Connector

    Phoenix Contact SCB always comes with Sunclix plug-in connectors instead of normal cable glands. This is because our Sunclix connectors make string cable installations fast and efficient. No additional tools are required to connect our Sunclix connectors. Our SCB are customizable, if the customers are more comfortable with cable glands, we can always revert back to using them.

  6. Monitoring features
    Our SCB is able to monitor both voltage and string current if these are required using our Solarcheck modules, which uses Hall’s effect.

Other than the above, our SCB comes with many other great features that will help you in your solar PV system. If you are interested in our solar string combiner boxes, please feel free to contact us by filling up the form below.


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Why Use Safety Relays?

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Let’s say you are asked to be a Design Engineer for a day and are tasked to come up with a Process Control Safety System. What are the questions you should ask? 

  • What happens to the Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS) when the relay contact is welded?
  • When did it happen?
  • Where can you find this faulty relay?
  • Why did this happen?
  • Who will be responsible for monitoring this fault?

Safety Relays are devices that implement safety functions. In the event of a hazard, a safety relay must work to reduce risk to an acceptable level. The safety relay must initiate a safe and reliable response as well as monitor the integrity of its function.

The Process Automation Fire & Gas System is always on standby mode and it becomes more important to have multiple diagnostics to make sure the relays used in the Fire and Gas System Safety remain functional with all wiring connected.

7 Functions the ideal safety relay should have for Fire & Gas Systems:

  1. Power loss diagnostics to field devices such as the Beacons, Solenoid Valves and Fire Sounders.
  2. Field devices disconnection diagnostics.
  3. Alerts when Field Devices short circuit.
  4. Welded relay contacts diagnostics.
  5. Able to Proof Test relay points without the use of external power.
  6. Diagnostics via the same cable to the relay coil by the use of test pulse filtering. This also saves money as there is no need for additional DI cards and cables for monitoring function.
  7. Option for redundant connection to the relay coil.
Safety Relay Connections

Safety Relay Connections


PSR-PC50 Series SIL Coupling Relay

PSR-PC50 Series SIL Coupling Relay

The Phoenix Contact PSR-PC50 series SIL Coupling Relay has the 7 functions you are looking for and it can also be used for power adaptation and electrical isolation in Safe-State-ON applications up to SIL 3 according to IEC 61508 as well as IEC 61511.

This category 3 device is designed for installation in zone 2 potentially explosive areas. By filtering the controller test pulses, premature failure of the safety relays is prevented. The contact side is fully monitored for open circuits and short circuits as well as load and diagnostics supply voltage. If an error occurs, the internal device input impedance is affected. As such, the test pulses sent from the controller are disrupted and the error is reported to the corresponding digital output without additional wiring effort.


If you have any questions or want to know more about this product, please feel free to send me an enquiry via the form below and a product representation can be arranged to discuss in more detail.


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Information on the Go

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The mobile phone is one of the best inventions in our modern era and it has become such an integral part of everyone’s lives. A large population of the world is becoming increasingly dependent on this small electronic device which we put in our pocket.

A quick check on the internet reveals that there are estimated to be more than 5 billion mobile phone users currently and more than 50% of them are smart phone users.

With the current world population standing at approximately 7.6 billion, this works out to more than 30% of the world population having access to a large pool of information at their fingertips. High speed accessibility to critical information is very often the deal breaker in game changing decision making.

With this in mind, Phoenix Contact developed a plethora of mobile phone apps that seek to address this hunger for faster and highly efficient apps. Old bulky catalogues are slowly becoming a thing of the past, when an entire encyclopaedia can be retrieved and searched within seconds.

One of my favourite apps is our very own Phoenix Contact marking apps where it provides the user with the capability to scan the barcode of the marker and the user will know what printers it is suitable for. Our clear and concise product information with photos speak a thousand words.

The apps provide us with great amount of flexibility and high speed access to information.

Phoenix Contact’s mobile phone apps are easily available for both Iphone Appstore and Google Playstore users.

when you search of the word “Phoenix Contact” on the Google Playstore, there will be a wide range of apps developed by the different product groups ranging from power supply to marking and also general catalog.

With the general catalogue app, you will have easy navigation to the full range of products within Phoenix Contact product structures. The information provided will facilitate ease of communication when you place the order.

Phoenix Contact Catalog app

I believe the best way to understand what the Phoenix Contact apps can offer is to experience it.

Improvement is a continuous process, we welcome all users to provide feedback via the form below so that we can improve and enhance the Phoenix Contact experience.

Go ahead and download it and enjoy the Phoenix Contact experience.






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DIN Rail Plug-in Terminal Block

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Today I would like to share a bit on the little guy that usually goes unnoticed in our daily life.

The UMSTBVK Series – DIN Rail Mounted Plug-In Terminal Block

This product seemingly portrays images of an underdog. It has never been in the limelight by nature. That is due to the limited exposure that the UMSTBVK connectors are exposed to.

Other products such as the “UT 2,5/1P” Terminal Blocks & “UM 25” Interface Module are more commonly used in market, whereas the UT 2,5/1P terminal blocks are mainly used for high power feedthrough, and UM 25 interface modules are mainly used for signal feedthrough.

UT 2,5/1P

“UT 2,5/1P” Terminal Block

“UM 25” Interface Module

“UM 25” Interface Module


Comparing the trio, the UMSTBVK is actually a hybrid between the two.


Where are these products commonly used?

It is commonly used as a middleman between the controller and the field devices.  As the controller is usually the “Heart” of the entire system, hence, the use of UMSTBVK will come into place as one of the essential parts of the system, being “The Bridge” between the Controller and the field devices.

It will allow easy testing, maintenance and replacement for users, minimizing the need to connect and disconnect the wires that are already installed onto the main controller and field devices.

What are the most common objections as to using the UT 2,5/1P or the UM 25 modules integrated into their systems / devices / instruments?

  • Indeed these are convenient, but take up too much space.
  • Nice products, but pricing not very competitive.
  • Connectors for UT 2,5/1P has only one direction of wire entry, it compromises on the space taken in terms of depth.
  • There are no other options except 10 / 18 position for the UM25 Interface Module.

The UMSTBVK Series terminal blocks might not be the perfect solution, but it has the best features of both of its predecessors:

  • Great Versatility – Multiple variant of different number of position to choose from, and can be used on both NS35 / G DIN Rails.
  • Time-Saving – Minimizes time needed for assembly of terminal blocks into desired number of positions & eliminates the need to purchase additional accessory like “End Covers”
  • Readiness – “Clip and Go” type of product.
  • Cost Savings – competitive pricing based on per pole, which can achieve savings up to 30% per pole for the whole set including the plug in connectors.
  • Spoilt for Choice – You have multiple types of connectors that are compatible to choose from, with various connection technologies & angle of wire entry that you may prefer.
  • Screw Connection
  • IDC Connection
  • Push In connection
  • Crimp Connection

Up to this point, I see great potential for the UMSTBVK product family to shine in coming years.

Do you agree with me? If you do…

Do feel free to contact us for more details to help you understand this better via the form below!






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New Year Resolutions

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It’s finally to an end to all the weeks of excess booze and food consumption and the end of the school holidays. The New Year is here.

When I reminded my daughters of the school reopening, they gave me a shocking look with an alarming “Oh no! C’mon…” And indeed, I felt the same because it’s time to turn my attention to the New Year resolutions.

While I pondered over my own 2018 resolution, I wondered where the idea of “New Year Resolutions” came from and I found my reply on Google:

I was surprised by the fact that the practice started 4,000 years ago and decided to find out more on the success rate of “New Year Resolutions” in modern times.

According to the research done by U.S. News, the disheartening fact is that “80% of New Year’s resolutions will fail by February”.

That’s hardly 1 quarter into the year and this piece of information was not to my liking.

So what would be a good “New Year Resolution”?

Personally, I’m not good at making big plans, like quitting booze for a year or switching to vegetarian food or maybe cutting down on my online purchases with online shopping platforms, and the list goes on… I believe some of us feel the same way.

Therefore, to help myself and those who are reading this, there’s a list of suggestions which I, in my capacity, have come up with to jumpstart the self-improvement for our 2018.

  1. No electronic devices at the dining table.
    Try putting away your electronic devices, particularly when you are eating with your family and friends. Spending more quality time with your loved ones is definitely more important than the Pokémon or your email. I started this “house rule” with my daughters at home and it seems a good practice to have as we are more engaged in talks. Remember, quality time waits for no one.
  2. Cook a different meal every month
    In the midst of the busy lifestyle that working executives have nowadays, when was the last time you stepped into the kitchen to cook up a storm? Try this to broaden your kitchen skills, it may be a salad or soup and you will be starring in MasterChef in no time! Your family or loved ones will enjoy the food as much as you enjoyed making it in the kitchen.
  3. Walk to work / school
    This is an all-time favourite. Although I drive to work, I have seen colleagues who have taken a walk up the stairs to the 4th floor where our office is. I think, maybe I shall start doing this too.
  4. Read a book
    When was the last time you supported the National Library or used that Kindle that you received from a friend? Try reading “Who Moved My Cheese?”, by Dr Spencer Johnson or “Getting to Yes”, by Roger Fisher & William Ury.

    Who Moved My Cheese? Getting to Yes

    I know of somebody who is always ready to and will gladly share his books with you. If you need more details, feel free to let me know.

  5. Plant some flowers or grow something to eat
    Trust me, I do not have green fingers. But I did not give up on this little greenery that I have been trying to build along my small narrow HDB corridor. So far, I managed to up keep these plants which are curry leaves, pandan leaves, chilli plant, mint and lime!
    Hence, if I can do so, you will be amazed by what you can harvest.
  6. Decide on your own
    Stop procrastinating over what happened in 2017, avoid all the negativity and put aside all the differences.Your life belongs to you. Do what you want, when you want, as long it doesn’t hurt anyone. You’re going to have a great time in 2018.

I offer to you, the above 6 potential New Year Resolutions for the awesome 2018 in front of us.

Start taking actions and F.O.C.U.S.  Start setting your goal on the sticky note on your board or on your lappie. Stay highly charged and truly make a difference with your achievements this year.

No more waiting for the perfect opportunity or perfect time.

It’s NOW.


P.S. Interested about those books I mentioned earlier? Fill up the form below to get in touch!






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