Monthly Archives: January 2017

Signal Conditioning – Why we need to isolate, convert, filter and amplify control signal

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When dealing with Measurement and Control signals, Signal Conditioners are crucial for the healthy operation of the whole system. Let’s find out why:

  1. Electrical Isolation – The most important task of a signal conditioner is the electrical isolation of signals. A reliable Signal Conditioner offers consistent isolation of input, output, and supply. As such, ground current loops can be prevented in the event of potential differences, which would otherwise lead to a distortion of the measured process values.

    MINI Analog Pro isolating signals

    MINI Analog Pro Isolating Signals

  1. Convert – An advantage of signal conversion is the conversion of sensor signals into a signal that can be read by the controller, such as PT100 in 4…20 mA. In addition, failure-prone signals such as 0 – 10 V, for example, can be converted into non-prone current signals.

    MINI Analog Pro converting signals

    MINI Analog Pro converting signals

  1. Amplify – Signals always need to be amplified in the event that cables are long or if high loads are to be driven. It is here where the signal conditioners must provide a high output power at a low input power.

    MINI Analog Pro amplifying signals

    MINI Analog Pro amplifying signals

  2. Filter – In industrial environments, interference often occurs as a result of high-frequency signals. The input filters of the signal conditioners therefore reliably filter out such interference signals.

Getting cold feet? No fear, Phoenix Contact has the all in 1 solution to save the day. To find out more, click here:

Ethernet HART Multiplexer – Transmit Process Data Via Ethernet

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Process plant with engineersDid you know that in the Process Industry, there are more than 40 million devices that are running on the HART Protocol and more than 75% of them are HART-enabled. However, up to 90% of these HART-enabled device are being under-utilized, used only to read the 4…20mA signal.

In the current trend of IIOT, there is a growing need for diagnostic data to be analyzed in order to reduce operating cost and increase system availability. The time from obtaining the diagnostic data to analyzing and determining the next course of action has to be almost instant.

In the past, if access to the HART data was needed, users typically installed an RS485 HART multiplexer connected to a PC. Whenever data from a particular field device is needed to be read, it can take a long time depending on the number of field devices connected to the RS485 HART multiplexer. This is because RS485 HART multiplexer works on a “master and slaves” principle.

Ethernet HART Multiplexer

HART Multiplexer

HART Multiplexer

Instead of using the RS485 HART multiplexer, Phoenix Contact introduced the Ethernet-based HART multiplexer. Our Ethernet HART multiplexer allows the user to easily parameterize and monitor field devices on the Ethernet network. The modular Ethernet HART multiplexer accesses other HART-enabled field devices using Ethernet-based fieldbuses such as PROFINET, Modbus/TCP, and HART IP.

Each device is an individual HART master which can be connected to higher-level, fast Ethernet network infrastructures. Up to 40 HART devices can be connected to existing configuration tools such as PACTware, Simatic PDM, Honeywell FDM, HART OPC server or HART server. End users therefore save time and costs since configuration and calibration, e.g. partial stroke test, process monitoring or current loop tests, are controlled via Ethernet and everything can be performed during active operation.

To find out more about Phoenix Contact’s HART Multiplexer, click here.

Reduce the Cost of Manufacturing A Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCBA) with THR technology

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Pick and place machine

‘Pick and Place’ Machine with THR components.

Do not judge a connector’s cost-effectiveness just by its price. Its ability to improve the overall efficiency of the manufacturing process counts as well. This is where THR technology shines.

The most common method of manufacturing  a PCBA (Printed circuit board assembly) typically requires 2 process flows. Reflow soldering is used to mount the Integrated chip (IC) and passive components in the first process flow. This is then followed by a second flow utilizing wave soldering to mount the terminal blocks and connectors.

The process can be optimized but that usually comes at a cost, e.g. installing a new machine. Hence, that eventually translates into a higher manufacturing cost in the short term. Is there a way to achieve higher efficiency in PCBA manufacturing without the accompanying costs?

Higher efficiency at Lower Or No Cost?

Yes. It can be done.

This is achieved by introducing connectors that are suited for the existing process line yet reduce the process flows to just one.

This is made possible by the integration of Through Hole Reflow (THR) components in Surface-mount technology (SMT) installations, which dominate today’s assembly manufacturing process.

Through Hole Reflow (THR) – Assembly In Just One Process

The benefit of THR is to use the existing Surface-mount device (SMD) machines and remove the 2nd process, the wave soldering, thus reducing the manufacturing a complete PCBA into a single process.

While it is the ideal situation to switch to an all-THR component solution, some components will still require wave soldering. Even so, there can still be a significant cost savings to make the switch.

Through Hole reflow Connector (THR)

Through Hole Reflow Connector (THR)

While there will not be a need to make changes to the existing equipment, some modifications will be required. For example it may require a change in the PCB design, an adjustment in the reflow profile, etc.

These changes, however, will reduce the amount of man-hours required for wave soldering. Based on a typical PCBA consisting of 80% of ICs and 20% of terminal blocks & connectors, the switch could achieve up to 20% of cost savings as THR components fully supports ‘pick and place’ machines.

If you would like to know more about Phoenix Contact’s THR connectors, just fill in the form and download a copy of our brochure.

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I would like to know more about THR Products from Phoenix Contact. Please contact me.

The Revolutionary Test Plug Redux – FAME , FAME 2 and now FAME 3!

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Phoenix Contact's FAME 3

It was 2 years ago when I have first blogged about our revolutionary panel testing system – FAME systems that helped many of our customers worldwide in simplifying their protection relay panel testing procedure and at the same time ensuring the safety of the person who is conducting the test.

Do check out my previous blog “FAME 2- Enter, Push, Twist and Remove”, I did explain why Phoenix Contact FAME system is such a revolutionary testing system.  If you are dealing issues with your protection relay testing or any needs of installing a panel testing component, make sure you stay with us in this blog as I will review some updates and features that might be beneficial  to you.  No worries if you have missed out the previous blog, you can still read it here. Continue reading

3 Good Reasons For An Intelligent PV Panel Shutdown

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solarcheck_rsdPhotovoltaic (PV) systems are becoming an important source of power in recent years. With the rise of installation of such PV systems, the risks of working with high voltages should not be ignored. In 95% of the installation, the PV panels are connected in series with strings and are capable of generating DC voltages of up to 1000 V. This can result in life-threatening DC voltages as it cannot be disconnected easily on the DC side. Continue reading

Fast, Safe and Error-free System Cabling for Control Systems

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How do we connect the Controller to the various Digital or Analogue signals? Answers: Either with cables or with a wireless transmission medium.

In a control plant, we can easily have a few hundreds to tens of thousands of cables for control signals depending on the size of the plant.

Bad planning / discipline of the cabling routing could look something just like a plate of messy ‘fried noodles’.

Fried Noodles

Fried Noodles

Same, same but different.

A proper planned cable routing would look nicely as follow:

Cable Routing

Cable Routing

But still, a considerable amount of effort is required during installation, maintenance and fault finding – should something go wrong with the application eg. Fault tracing, wrong labeling, wrong termination…

Realizing the connection between field level and control level by means of system cables from Phoenix Contact would mean fast, safe and error-free system cabling for your control systems and no more messy ‘fried noodles’ to manage:

Phoenix Contact System Cabling

Phoenix Contact’s System Cabling Solutions

Forget the messy cables, for there is Phoenix Contact’s System Cabling Solutions.

 

Marking @ Phoenix Contact

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Phoenix Contact Printers

Some call it marking, others call it printing. At the end of the day, we require objects in our lives to be labelled, just like how every of us have a name or identification number. Before I joined Phoenix Contact 2 years ago, never did I know that Phoenix Contact offers such a wide range of marking possibilities!

At Phoenix Contact, we have 3 different technologies involved in our marking systems:

  • Thermal Transfer
  • LED-UV
  • Laser

Thermal Transfer Printers

Our range of Thermal Transfer printers include Thermomark Roll, Thermomark Card, Thermomark Prime, and Thermofox.

Thermal transfer

Phoenix Contact’s Thermomark Roll, Thermomark Card, Thermomark Prime, and Thermofox utilise thermal transfer technology

This printing technology allows affording cost of printing, but yet allows text, graphics, batch numbers, and bar codes to be printed. Being economical and flexible, our Thermal Transfer printers allow users to do either batch printings, as well as continuous printings without wastage of materials!

LED-UV Printers

BLUEMARK CLED UV Printer

BLUEMARK CLED UV Printer

LED-UV: A revolutionary technology which is used in our Bluemark CLED printers. Not only does this marking system prints on plastic, it prints to aluminium too! The UV light will cure the ink and bond it to the material to ensure high resistance levels in various environments. The current markers allow marking of conductors, cables, and systems, covering the entire field of device and system marking!

Laser Printers

TOPMARK Laser Printer

TOPMARK Laser Printer

Laser: Another groundbreaking marking system which uses a top class ytterbium fibre laser to mark on more than 400 different markers, ranging from stainless steel to aluminium to plastic. No ink or toner will be required due to the fact that the laser marks directly onto the marker material. Therefore, the resistance level of the markings are able to withstand the harshest environments and conditions, as long as the base material lasts!

CLIP PROJECT Software

CLIPPROECT Software

CLIPPROECT Software

Just a single, free, software is required to design and send print jobs to Phoenix Contact’s range of printers. CLIP PROJECT has more functions that you can imagine, it even allows data to be automatically imported from Databases straight to prints. CLIP PROJECT and Eplan have been partners for quite some time, and this means that users can seamlessly allow direct printing in CLIP PROJECT straight from Eplan schematic. The CLIP PROJECT planning and marking software is all you need, and you may find more information of this software here.

Yes, it is free to download and free to use: No need to worry about having dongles for every computer, or annually paid subscriptions!