Monthly Archives: December 2018

5 Ways to Terminate Cables into an Electrical Panel

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There are several criteria when it comes to choosing the right cable entry method into an electrical panel, such as ingress protection (IP) rating, ease of connection/ disconnection, cost of the connector etc. In this post, we have sorted out 6 different cable entry methods that Phoenix Contact has to offer.

  1. Cable Gland

The most common way to terminate cables into an electrical panel would be to use a cable gland. It is easy to use and comes in many variants such as different sizes, materials and with additional certifications such as ATEX. Cable glands are probably one of the most affordable cable entry methods mentioned in this article.

However, cable glands have its limitations too. It is difficult and time consuming to do multiple connections/disconnections with cable glands as the cables are terminated directly into the components within the electrical panel. In addition, the pre-cut holes on the gland plate are irreversible. It provides limited flexibility for mistakes and modifications.

  1. Heavy-duty Connector

As the name suggests, it is rugged and enables fast and easy connection/disconnection to the electrical panel. Cables are prewired into the connector base, which is mounted onto the panel while the field cables are prewired into the connector hood. The hood is then plugged into the base on the electrical panel for a complete connection up to IP 69K.

Heavy-duty connector is especially useful for portable applications and testing facilities as it allows quick connection and disconnection. Although heavy-duty connectors are more expensive than cable glands, it minimises time and labour needed for onsite installation and commissioning up to 80%. It also reduces errors that could occur during onsite installation.

Heavy-duty connectors are typically made from Aluminium. However, Heavycon EVO from Phoenix Contact also comes in plastic (polyamide with reinforced fibre glass) to support applications that do not require metal housings and provides cost savings of up to 30%. Besides that, the dual entry cable gland enhances the flexibility for onsite installation. Phoenix Contact’s well known Push-in Technology is also used in Heavycon to further reduce the installation time.

  1. Cable entry system

Cable entry system (CES) is similar to cable glands. However, it helps to arrange the cables neatly and systematically into the electrical panel. By better managing the cables, the gland plate can be better utilised. It works in a modular form where the cable sleeves can be flexibly combined depending on the wiring. The slotted sleeves also allow the use of sensor actuator cabling while cone sleeves come in handy when the cable diameter is not predefined.

The cut-out of CES is the same as that of heavy-duty connectors. Thus, they are interchangeable. However, CES is not a pluggable connector. Thus, it is not suitable for applications that require frequent connecting/disconnecting.

  1. CES Multigate

Similar to CES, multigate offers great cable management. However, unlike CES, multigate has prefixed cable entry. Each cable entry is a cone-shape membrane that is able to accommodate a range of cable diameters. This is especially suitable for panels with defined cable specifications. As the cables are well arranged, it is easier to isolate faulty lines, if any.

  1. Service interface

Service interfaces make maintenance, servicing, and diagnostics easier than ever. The front plate comes in different configurations of D-SUB, RJ45 and USB, offering numerous combinations.  The mounting frame offers up to IP 65 protection with locking mechanism for extra security. This reduces the need to open up the panel during programming or configuration.

There are many factors to consider when it comes to choosing the most suitable cable entry method to your electrical panels. Let us help you with the selection by leaving us an email at marketing@phoenixcontact.com.sg!

Mini Analog Pro – the Innovative Signal Conditioner

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The Mini Analog Pro is the latest and most innovative signal conditioner from Phoenix Contact. It replaces the proven Mini Analog series but with a slew of additional features that will benefit the user and the industry.

The most advanced feature over its predecessor and perhaps other makers is the introduction of communication adapter. By using the adapter, the user can replace all its hardwire connection to the the analogue cards of the controller with just a simple communication cable. No more overwhelming hardwire from each analog point to each and every signal conditioner. The protocols supported are Modbus TCP and RTU, Ethernet IP and Profibus with more to come in the near future. Besides saving cost, this can save space in the panel as there is no more need for analogue cards. Furthermore, there is also a backbone power supply accesory called the TBUS where one can power up just one of the signal conditioners and all the connecting units in the same row will be powered up. No more overwhelming power supply cables to each individual signal conditioner.

Mini Analog Pro offers additional configuration options compared to most, if not all, of the other signal conditioners in the market, which can only be configured with the laptop or dip switch setting which requires the accompanying data sheet for reference. More frequently than not, engineers are met with situations where it is inconvenient to bring the laptop to site, or worse, unable to find the configuration cable when you need it. If one is not using Mini Analog Pro, this will means one has to delay the work, thus affecting productivity. With the latest Mini Analog Pro, one can use a smartphone with NFC technology to perform the configuration. The software is easy to use and can be  pre-downloaded from the Google PlayStore in preparation for sites where internet connection is not available.

There are times when one has to measure the current values of  field devices that are in operation for verification or troubleshooting. With the previous version or with signal conditioners from other makers, one would have to disconnect the cables in order to prevent parallel connections that will affect the actual reading. This adds extra work  and effort. The user can now measure the current directly without removing the cables. This is realized technically with the Mini Analog Pro by integrating a diode into the circuit and therefore, parallel measurement is now possible with great accuracy.

Even when one has to absolutely remove the cables due to safety or space issues, the Mini Analog Pro offers an innovative alternative. Each module comes with 4 connection blocks for respective input, output or power supply connections. The connection blocks can be removed easily by using a screwdriver to twist the orange lever above or just by pulling it with moderate force. In this way, the connections are still in the individual blocks and can be reconnected back easily without any need to screw each of the individual cables again. Mistakes can also be avoided because all four of the connection blocks in the signal conditioners are fail safes. Only the right connection blocks can be fitted in its rightful place. Imagine if one does not have this feature and if all cables are disconnected, one would have to check and screw all of them back accordingly.

The Mini Analog Pro also has much improved signal quality due to the highest level of galvanic isolation. This increases the accuracy, making it more suitable for the increasingly demanding industry requirements. Furthermore, it has been subjected to 3kV test voltage and 300 V rated insulation voltage. This test ensures that the isolation properties are tried and tested before being deployed in the field. The temperature range it can operate in has also been extended. It can now perform perfectly within the range of 40C° to 70C°. This allows reliable operation in harsh environment.

These innovative features make the Mini Analog Pro one of the most advanced signal conditioners in the market now. These features not only make it easier for the user to work, but also increases the safety, performance and the overall project cost savings.

Phoenix Contact mGuard Secure Cloud

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What is Cloud Computing and why have people started to use it?

The usage of the internet has increased massively in last few years, which increases the cost of hardware and software. The new technology of Cloud Computing has been used to solve all these issues by providing online service, which reduces the cost of hardware and software effectively.

Cloud Computing is architecture or it can be defined as a type of internet service, which is designed to provide shared resources and computing services via the internet on demand over centralized server resources on a scalable platform. Cloud Computing allows customers to share resources like networks, storage, servers, services and applications without physical devices, on a pay-per-use basis.

There are three major cloud computing service categories:

Software as a Service (SaaS) Platform as a Service (PaaS) Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
These are applications hosted by third party providers. Customers are able to use them over the internet.

Pay-as-you-use model.

Examples:

Salesforce, NetSuite

Third-party application development platform and services built on its own infrastructure.

Again these tools are made available to customers over the internet.

Examples:

Google App Engine, AWS Lambda

Third-party servers, storage, computing resources available for customers. Customers can use IaaS to build their own PaaS and SaaS service.

Examples:

Google Cloud Compute, Amazon S3

Major security issues on implementing Cloud Computing Services

Cloud Computing is known as an emerging domain, the security of the data must be protected over the network. There are many issues in cloud computing but security is the major issue.

  • Misuse of Cloud Computing

Some criminals like Hackers and spammers can take advantage of the suitable registration, easy procedures and unspecified access to cloud services to launch malicious attacks like key cracking.

  • Insecure Application Programming Interfaces (API)

Customers handle and interact with cloud services by interfaces or API. Service providers must make sure that the security is integrated into their service models, while users must be aware of the security risks.

  • Wicked Insiders

Malicious insiders pose a greater threat in the Cloud Computing environment because consumers do not understand the providers’ policies and procedures. Malicious insiders may gain unauthorized access to the organization and its assets.

  • Shared Technology issues/multi-tenancy nature

This is based on a shared infrastructure and does not apply to multi-tenant architectures.

  • Data Crash

Compromised data may include deleted or changed data without backup, unrecorded with larger environments, lost encoded keys and illegal access to sensitive data.

  • Account, Service & Traffic hijacking

Account or service hijacking is usually done using stolen certificates. Such attacks include phishing, fraud, and exploitation of software vulnerabilities. Attackers can access key areas of Cloud Computing services such as confidentiality, integrity and service availability.

  • Unidentified Risk Report

Cloud services mean that organizations are less involved in software and hardware, so organizations should be aware that internal security, security compliance, auditing and logging issues may be overlooked.

Phoenix Contact mGuard Secure Cloud

A simple, secure, reliable solution to risks

mGuard VPN technology uses IPsec security protocols with strong encryption. This guarantees the confidentiality, authenticity and integrity of all information and data transmitted between the service personnel and the machine.

For any demo request or enquiry, feel free to contact us at marketing@phoenixcontact.com.sg!

Smart Buildings for the Future

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Smart Buildings and smart cities are continuously transforming how people carry out their activities on a daily basis. Smart cities will soon emerge with things like street lights and parking meters connected to commercial buildings and connected to the internet. At present, some cities have started implementing the smart city approach by connecting everything about their community to the internet. Along with conserving energy, smart buildings will help save money. Here are some of the biggest IoT smart building trends likely to take shape this year.

Phoenix Contact designs robust and high-speed controls for the most demanding applications using the Niagara 4 Framework. The ILC 2050 BI goes far beyond building automation, providing industrially hardened control and modular I/O running the Niagara 4 Framework. Gain maximum flexibility from a large variety of I/O modules Connect up to 63 I/O modules on the local bus. Get support for DALI, MP-Bus, and M-Bus maximum 16 (RS‐232, RS‐485, M‐Bus, DALI) with special function modules.

You can use the ILC 2050 BI controller to automate different subsections in the building infrastructure, data centers and distributed properties. It has a variety of interfaces and supports a wide range of protocols. The integrated Niagara Framework enables you to have IoT-based automation due to standardization of various data types. This makes it easy to connect various sensors and actuators regardless of the manufacturer and communication protocol. The controller’s functions can be expanded with the Inline I/O Portfolio from Phoenix Contact.

The Inline I/O Concept

  • Digital input terminals
  • Relay terminals
  • Digital output terminals
  • TRIAC terminals
  • Analog input terminals
  • Analog output terminals
  • Functional terminals (DALI, 8 / S0, MBUS, UNI)
  • Power and segment clamps

IoT smart building trends in future

  • Predictive maintenance
  • Air quality measurement
  • IoT-supported complex applications
  • Measurement and verification using IoT
  • Real-time data accessibility
  • IoT in green building movement
  • IoT and prefabricated building components
  • IoT in efficient construction management
  • IoT for energy efficiency
  • IoT for better asset optimization

ILC 2050 BI Advantages: Summary

  • Unique: the only modular, industrial controller running Niagara.
  • Cost saving: no unused IOs, no gateways required, integrated switch. Simplified installation and reduced size.
  • Easy maintenance and quick setup.
  • High Quality: Robust, industrial design, made in Germany.
  • Part of the entire Phoenix Contact product portfolio!

If you would like to find out more about Phoenix Contact’s E-Mobility, feel free to contact us!

Termitrab Complete – The Narrowest Surge Protection

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The latest surge protection, Termitrab Complete (TTC) for MCR offers a peace of mind for users. With the TTC, you can reliably protect your signals against surge voltages from the field to the controller.

The TTC product range is a tailored product range for almost all applications in measurement and control technology. Depending on the type of signal to be protected, with TTC, you will find an ideally suited circuit version in the portfolio.

The areas of application for TTC are so diverse that they can be used in any industry. Thanks to the narrow overall width, starting at 3.5mm, the product range is ideal for process technology, as very often, a high density is required in the distribution cabinets. They protect up to 572 signals in one meter, which mean more products can be installed in the cabinets. The number of cabinets can be reduced so as to save cost. The various approvals permit use in onshore and offshore applications. The TTC portfolio offers the widest range of features and therefore an optimum selection of products for your applications.

The narrowest surge protection

Starting from an overall width of 3.5mm, Termitrab Complete is the world’s first surge protection solution for measurement and control technology.

Remote Signaling

You can decide if and when you require the remote signalling modules that are available. Up to 40 protective devices are visually monitored with the optional remote signalling modules.

To monitor retrospectively, you can easily align remote signalling modules to protective devices that are already installed.

If a protective element is disconnected in the event of surge voltages, the disconnected device closes the monitoring channel and group remote signalling is triggered. The overloaded device is displayed on site by the status indicator (in the picture highlighted in red). This is purely mechanical, without consuming energy from the signal lines.

Pluggability

For repeated tests, remove the surge element connector from the base of the multi-piece protective device without impedance. The signals are not interrupted and the controllers do not immediately detect an impedance change in the measuring circuit.

Testing and documentation takes place in the CHECKMASTER 2. If a replacement is required, the affected surge element connector can be replaced without accessing the installation.

Innovative knife disconnection

The integrated two knife disconnection enables the signal path to be broken so as to carry out isolation measurements. An open signal path is easy to detect from the projecting function screws. The screws are equipped with overwind protection.

Versatile

Certain applications require special tests and approvals. TTC meets the requirements of Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Furthermore, versions with ATEX, IEC Ex and GL approvals are available as well.

If you would like more information about Termitrab Complete, feel free to contact us at marketing@phoenixcontact.com.sg!

Planning for Lightning and Surge Protection?

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Choosing the right Lightning and Surge Protection is a lifelong investment, just like purchasing a good comprehensive life insurance policy. Without proper planning and consideration, your business, your home maybe inadequately protected and most importantly your people/investments will be at risk.

In this article we shall dive in on the risk assessment, lightning and surge protection zoning and protective devices type.

A point to note: As you may know, Surge Arresters are vital when you are planning for a lightning and surge protection system. For information on when Lightning and Surge Protection is necessary, visit our previous article here.

Three points to consider when planning for Lightning and Surge Protection: 

  1. Risk analysis with accordance with IEC 62305

The answer to the common question: “Do I need to install lightning and surge protection devices?” boils down to the result of a careful and systematic risk assessment, which is carried out after inspection of the physical structure and electrical installation.

It would start with addressing the risk of various sources of damages (e.g. a direct lightning strike in the building, transient overvoltages that are coupled into the electrical installation caused by atmospheric influences) which come into focus, as do the types of damage resulting from these incidents:

  • Impact on health or loss of life
  • Loss of technical services for the public
  • Loss of irreplaceable objects of cultural significance
  • Financial losses

The financial benefits are determined as follows:

  • How does the total annual cost for a lightning protection system compare to the costs of potential damage without a protection system?
  • The cost evaluation is based on the expenditures for the planning, assembly, and maintenance of the lightning protection system.

If the risk assessment determines that lightning and surge protection is required, then the type and scope of the specific measures for protection to be considered will include:

  • External lightning and surge protection
  • Internal lightning and surge protection
  • Grounding and equipotential bonding
  • Coordinated Lightning and Surge Protection Devices system
  1. Characterizing the lightning protection zones (LPZ)

In order to ensure the total protection of a physical structure from the effects of lightning strikes and surge voltages, various protective measures or equipment that are tailored to one another are required.

The installation locations of surge protective devices within a physical structure are determined using the lightning protection zone from part 4 of lightning protection standard IEC 62305.

It divides a physical structure into lightning protection zones (LPZ), and does so from outside to inside with decreasing lightning protection levels. In external zones only resistant equipment can be used. However, in internal zones, sensitive equipment can also be used. The individual zones are characterized and named as follows:

  • LPZ 0A: Unprotected zone outside of a building where direct lightning strikes are possible. The direct coupling of lightning currents in cables and the undamped magnetic field of the lightning strike can lead to danger and damage.
  • LPZ 0B: Zone outside the building that is protected from direct lightning strikes, for example, by an air terminal. The undamped magnetic field of the lightning strike and induced surge currents can cause hazards and damage.
  • LPZ 1: Zone inside the building where high energy surge voltages or surge currents and strong electromagnetic fields are still to be expected.
  • LPZ 2: Zone inside a building where surge voltages or surge currents and electromagnetic fields that have already been significantly weakened are to be expected.
  • LPZ 3: Zone inside the building where surge voltages or surge currents are expected to be only extremely low or entirely absent and electromagnetic fields are expected to be only very weak or non-existent.

Lightning protection zone concept with coordinated SPDs at the respective zone transition points

  1. Lightning and Surge Protection Device types

The lightning protection zone concept provides coordinated surge protective devices for all cables that cross between zones. Their power values are based on the protection class to be achieved. As such, different SPDs are required based on the zone transition points.

 

The requirements for the individual SPD types are defined in the standard IEC 61643- 11 [6] for surge protective devices used in low-voltage systems. A multi-level protection concept is derived from this:

Risk assessment, in general, is a complicated and demanding process. An advisable starting point is to list out the areas that are most at risk and filter to the ones that are not.

Once you’ve listed out the potential risk areas, you can then consider the types of SPD best suited to the kind of application/equipment you’re protecting.

Food for Thought: Lightning strikes 90% of the earth. Some parts are highly prone to lightning strikes while some aren’t.

Since Southeast Asia sits comfortably near the equator, the hot and humid weather makes conditions favourable for the development of lightning producing thunderstorms. Thus, it is important to make sure you are well-protected.

Lightning strike densities across the world

Lightning strike densities across the world

Other tips for Risk Assessment

Be sure to refer to risk assessment standards IEC 62305-2. Some countries make it compulsory to use the standard when considering surge protection for large scale or highly sensitive buildings such as industrial facilities, hospitals, and data centres.

More information on Phoenix Contact’s Lightning and Surge Protection Devices can be found here.

 

References

  1. International Electrotechnical Commission. IEC 62305-1 – Lightning protection – Part 1: General principles. s.l. : VDE Verlag GmbH, 2010.
  2. International Electrotechnical Commission. IEC 62305-2 – Lightning protection – Part 2: Risk management. s.l. : VDE Verlag GmbH, 2010.
  3. International Electrotechnical Commission. IEC 62305-3 – Lightning protection – Part 3: Physical damage to structures and life hazard. s.l. : VDE Verlag GmbH, 2010.
  4. International Electrotechnical Commission. IEC 62305-4 – Lightning protection – Part 4: Protection against lightning. Electrical and electronic systems within structures. s.l.: VDE Verlag GmbH, 2010.
  5. International Electrotechnical Commission. IEC 61643-11 – Surge protective devices connected to low-voltage power systems – Requirements and test methods. s.l. : VDE Verlag GmbH, 2011.
  6. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/11/131102-lightning-deaths-developing-countries-storms/