Yearly Archives: 2018


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Better Sealing, better availability

In most cases, whatever we install inside a control cabinet, we are confident of its protection against external factors. This could be true if certain levels of sealing effectiveness were defined.

An example: Data SPD was installed inside the control cabinet, the gap between the housing and the RJ45 port is an easy entry point of foreign material or even an Insect. Thus, leading the SPD to immediate failure.

In comparison,


Your advantages

  • Reliable transmission speeds of up to 10 Gbps
  • Protective adapter for eight signal paths via RJ45 connector
  • Suitable for category 6 high-speed data networks
  • Can be installed in a control cabinet.

Better sealing, no GAPS between housing and RJ45 port.

Wireless Technology: the Industry 4.0 Backbone

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Industry 4.0 is the 4th generation industrial revolution. This world-changing principle enhances productive efficiency in smarter and faster ways by utilizing the state of the art technology of data analysis software alongside powerful computerized hardware capabilities.

The key to the success of Industry 4.0 is to connect thousands of devices to the central system in order to allow exchanging of various parameters to the processing unit, such as humidity, temperature, status, level, etc. Not only is data transmitted, but devices also receive commands for further actions.

Actually, the powerful hardware and advanced software capabilities have existed for over 20 years. However, the increased number of devices connected to the system means a higher cost of investment. In the past, the only reliable connectivity was through wired cables, which investment cost was directly related to the complexity of the number of devices.

This key obstacle has been rapidly resolved by the advent of reliable wireless technology. Today, various applications of wireless technology have been proven and widely used, such as:

NFC: Near Field Communication

RFID: Radio-Frequency Identification

Wi-Fi: Wireless Fidelity

What makes people trust wireless technology?

Security: New advancements in data encryption technology protects data from intruders.

Speed: The new standard of network 802.11ac helps increase data transmission speed to 10 times faster than the old standard which is sufficient for industrial control systems.

Savings: All stakeholders follow the wireless markets trend. Therefore, new hardware for wireless technology has been introduced daily. This brings significant reduction in the price of wireless devices which mean tremendous savings during investments.

Phoenix Contact offers a huge portfolio of products under the category of wireless technology, as shown below.

Why Wireless?

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In the conventional method of data communication we often use wired systems. In the setting up of such systems involving data communication, we would need to plan the cable routes very carefully, and it is often very costly when the wires are required to be routed up and down such that obstacles are avoided in order to get connected. Usually the cost of the cables, labour, special tools for terminating etc. would be a considerably huge amount.

Besides the significant installation cost, physical degrading of the cable is a common issue faced (for example, wear and tear due to weather conditions, accidental cuts, scratches and bites by animals such as mice and ants). Especially when the system is down as a result of this, nobody would know which part of cable is broken or damaged.

In wireless technology, we could eliminate such worries and the less hardware used means that the risk of a breakdown would be lower. Aside from this, wireless technology has the following advantages:

  • More flexibility
  • Interference-free communication
  • Mobility and freedom of movement of participants/devices.
  • No wear and tear of the transmission medium
  • Able to bridge long distances and problematic areas
  • Neat looking

Applications of Wireless Techonology:

Some of our Industrial Wireless products are shown below:

An example of a typical setup:

Radioline Wireless Network

Wireless HART Network

Bluetooth Wireless Ethernet

7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Part 1)

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Do you sometimes feel lousy, sluggish and lethargic? Recently, I was telling myself, “Hey, I need to do something to better improve my mind-set and be more productive”.

One fine afternoon as I was walking past our in-house library shelf, a prominent book caught my eye, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. I picked it up and, deciding to step out of my comfort zone, started reading.

There are 3 parts to this book, and in this series of blog articles, we will be covering part 1. It speaks of the private victory that needs to be inculcated as a personal habit. Private victory means to have self-mastery in our personal life and to become independent with 3 pointers, the first of which is shown below.

  1. Be Proactive

Imagine 2 sales people, one of middle age who is only ever complaining about how tough it is to do sales today and how customers are ever demanding and always comparing prices. Moreover with the high cost of living, the stress level is overwhelming. His habit: always reactive.
The other, a young chap who understands and seeks to improve the situation by finding ways to gain more commission from his sales, in order to generate passive income to better provide for his family. His actions: always proactive.

Being the first guy is the easy way out, it requires less effort and all that is needed is to be negative and compliant. On the other hand, being the young chap requires the spending of countless hours to understand the customers, to propose solutions to upsell to them and research on the best options that can allow him to make passive income to the best of his abilities.

Responsibility – ‘response ability’ is the ability to choose your response. With this ability, the freedom to choose based on self-awareness, imagination, independent will and conscience, our proactive response will be determined.

Recently, taking over a key customer from the previous sales person, there were many gaps and unknowns such as:

  • No customer part number tag to manufacturer part number
  • No project names of existing orders
  • No project names of upcoming models
  • Uncertain about the allocation of the awarded parts.
  • No annual usage
  • No account plan

Two options were available, to sit there and complain about the missing information and put the blame on everyone else who is and was involved for not doing a good job, or to take the initiative to go to the customer and fill up the gaps and missing information.
Coming up with a proactive plan in mind to understand the customer, giving customers the assurance and security that we are interested in their business and to provide the best support that they can get, is the game plan.
It is not an easy path, but the rewards will be reaped after we sow the seeds.

Finally, I will leave you with some food for thought.

Stay tuned for the other 2 habits in my future blogs.

CLOUD IoT GATEWAY – The Smart Gateway for IoT Solutions

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The CLOUD IoT Gateway is designed to allow users to integrate their existing systems into the cloud. Machines and physical infrastructures can now be connected to the digital world. This will allow users to implement applications such as big data, condition monitoring and comprehensive data analysis. With protocols such as Modbus/TCP supported, the IoT gateway enables an easy process of connection.  No additional engineering software is required as the parameter configuration can be easily carried out at the gateway using web-based management.

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Key benefits to users

  • Direct connection to the cloud for data analysis
  • No learning of new software – configuration is done via web-based management
  • Existing devices with Modbus/TCP can be connected to cloud
  • Robust hardware for usage in industrial environment
  • Secured transmission using TLS encryption (Transport Layer Security)

Interested to see how this works? Feel free to request a demonstration by dropping us an email at!

Marking Materials for Solar Photovoltaic Application

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With the implementation of large scale solar projects in Malaysia, there are more and more inquiries on special marking materials for cable marking, equipment marking, and plant marking that can withstand long hours of sunlight and harsh environments.

If you ever come across such a request from the project consultants or clients, Phoenix Contact marking materials are what you are looking for. We have various product offers that are UV-resistant and weather resistant, ranging from stainless steel to aluminium to high-quality thermoplastic polyether urethane.

Here are two examples of solar cable markers with different types of printing methods.

1) Stainless Steel and Aluminium markers:

Phoenix Contact LS-WMTB product range is available in stainless steel (V4A) or aluminium. It provides simple and fast installation with cable binders. This marker is suitable for the most demanding industrial requirements because it not only fulfils the harsh requirement in the solar industry, but it can also be applied in areas that require high resistance against salt water, chloride, and solvents.

With the use of modern laser technology, it creates highly resistant and permanent markings on these markers.

Examples of stainless steel cable markers

2) Polyether Urethane (PUR) markers:

An example of a polyether urethane cable label

An example of a polyether urethane cable label

Phoenix Contact WMTB HF range of product is suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications. It is made of high-quality thermoplastic polyether urethane, halogen-free and flame-retardant material, with high tensile strength that is able to adapt to the bending of the cable conductors.

WMTB HF comes with an exciting selection of colours, from the commonly-used white, to yellow, red, blue, and green. Unlike the stainless steel marker, WMTB HF is printed using thermal transfer technology.

Other than the marking materials, Phoenix Contact also offers UV-resistant cable ties that work with the markers, as well as high quality printers with laser and thermal transfer technology. Please feel free to contact the Phoenix Contact sales team if you wish to know more about these products.

OPC_UA SERVER for PC WORX-based Controllers

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Dynamic market changes make it necessary to solve automation tasks in line with Industry 4.0. The objective is always to produce more efficiently and intelligently. Uniform protocols, rules, and standards for communication are required to intelligently link machines and system components.

In the past, it was a very challenging task for any engineer to setup, access or share OPC classic remotely in a network but that has changed now, with Phoenix Contact’s OPC_UA Server.

The PC WORX UA SERVER from Phoenix Contact enables you to access all variables of PC WORX programmable controllers via the OPC_UA (Unified Architecture) standardized communication protocol.

Fig 1: System architecture with OPC_UA

Fig 1: System architecture with OPC_UA

Why you should switch to OPC_UA

The OPC Unified Architecture Standard, OPC_UA, is being adopted more widely across the market as the new market standard and provides the basis for open and standardized communication in the digital future.

OPC_UA Server capability:

  • Handle up to 200 controllers in a visualization or production control system
  • Variables are mapped via the standardized PLCopen profile
  • The OPC_UA server uses the binary protocol for communication, resulting in high data transmission speeds
  • A security concept based on certificates protects against unauthorized access
  • Status & Quality of connection for each individual items
Fig 2: OPC_UA VS OPC Classic

Fig 2: OPC_UA VS OPC Classic

In the end, the key feature that makes OPC_UA server the backbone for any IIOT system that uses PLCopen profile would be the fact that it allows customers to build extremely fast web/cloud base visualization even without a need to pay additional costs for licensing.

Fig 3 & Fig 4: Web/Cloud Visualization of data from monitoring a mini solar cell via OPC_UA

Process Infrastructure – Ethernet HART Multiplexer

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Process infrastructure is one of the most critical parts of a refinery plant or offshore platform. The topology of modern process infrastructure includes FOUNDATION Fieldbus, Profibus PA, WirelessHart and HART Multiplexer etc.

HART (Highway Addressable Remote Transducer) is the most broadly supported protocol in the world for process industry as there are 40 Million HART devices being installed worldwide. But according to records, only 10% of these HART devices are connect to HART compatible control systems. End user should expand the use of HART devices in order to perform specialized operations like:

  • Asset Management
  • Predictive Maintenance
  • Data Logging
  • Partial-stroke Testing

Benefits of HART

Problems of Conventional Serial HART Multiplexers:

  • Slow scanning time due to large quantities of I/Os in the network
  • Limitation of RS485’s transmission speed
  • Work based on “Master and Slave” principle

Above are some of the challenges faced when using a conventional RS485 Hart Multiplexer and they will become worse if there are more than 1000 devices. Ethernet Multiplexer can solve this problem as featured below.

Fig 1: Ethernet Hart Multiplexer

Fig 1: Ethernet Hart Multiplexer

Ethernet Multiplexer Features and Benefits:

  • Works with existing standard IP infrastructure
  • Supports higher communication speed up to 1GB/s
  • Easy integration into Ethernet based Host system without additional conversion
  • Provides faster start up and device configuration
  • Flexibility in network design like redundant Ethernet
Fig 2: Hart IP Network Overview

Fig 2: Hart IP Network Overview

If you need any technical advice on your current project, feel free to contact us. I believe we can be your trusted partner to provide suitable solutions to fit your applications!

PLC Logic – The Better Smart Relay

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There are numerous smart relays in the market but PLC Logic is perhaps the only one that can have both control and monitoring capabilities while linked to an Apple iPad. This is done by using Bluetooth dongle, which turns the PLC Logic into a modern wireless control system.  The range of Bluetooth devices is 100 meters with unobstructed line of sight and this translates to a lot of cost savings for applications that require control and monitoring remotely without the need to spend money for installation of communication devices and cable installation. The best thing is that the app is free from the Appstore. An additional plus point is that the interface looks really cool and clean, similar to what you can expect from an Apple Interface.

The PLC Logic also has versatile communication options to any higher level control system. It can support protocols such as PROFIBUS RS-232 RS-485 Modbus/TCP DeviceNet™ CANopen® PROFINET EtherNet/IP™ with just a change of gateway. With so many protocol options, there is no need to worry if the PLC Logic can support any higher level controller in the market.

One of the advantages PLC Logic has over the many smart relays in the market is that the relays are pluggable and replaceable. This solves the problem of the need to change the whole smart relay module in the event of a faulty relay. This translates to lower replacement cost. More importantly, downtime is greatly reduced and one just needs to change a relay instead of reprogramming the smart relay if the unfortunate relay gets faulty.

Another game changer in the smart relay market is that the analogue cards, both input and output, can be inserted as part of the main PLC Logic module without the need to attach a separate analogue module. This translates into cost savings as well as space savings. The analogue card supports both mA and V in full ranges. Besides that, there is also an analogue input card that supports PT100 or PT1000 sensor.

Last but not least, the PLC Logic comes with an option of full Push In connection technology. This can be found on the PLC Logic controller itself as well as all the corresponding relays that can be supported. The advantage of Push In is evident in applications that are prone to vibrations – you are well assured that none of the wires from the PLC Logic will be loosened.

Weight Loss

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Recently, the people that I know have been asking what actually happened to me. For some who have known me long enough, my weight previously almost hit the 100kg mark and now I am 79kg. What caused the tremendous loss of weight? Some ask if it is because of stress, if it is because of health issues. Some even ask if it is because I’m having a new girlfriend. Well, the actual answer is simple, I just want to look & feel good.

Slimming down is actually simple. There are actually 2 ways of slimming down, the conventional way and the simple way.

The simple way is what we have heard of in recent years, where you need to purchase certain slimming products and consume it. There are some products which claim that you can slim down without even doing workouts. This method usually will cost you a bomb and the results are sometimes uncertain.

The conventional way is rather what we have heard since the old days. This way is basically to exercise, practice diet control, etc. The conventional way is being known as the “hard way”, but this costs less and will take a lot of hard work.

Well, personally I choose the conventional way. The reason is very simple – I don’t want to spend much money on losing weight. I would rather spend the money elsewhere.

The first thing you need to do is to control your diet. You need to know what is the recommended daily calorie intake for a man/woman. Then, you need to know the estimated amount of calories of the food you consume. Bear in mind that most food manufacturers do state the calories/100g. If it is not stated or the food you consume is from your local hawker stall, you can actually search online as someone might have done research before. From there, you can do your own calculation on how much you consume every day. This method will usually allow you to just maintain your weight or maybe lose some of it.

Next up is the most important factor in losing weight. We must be clear on how much intake we have and ensure that these calories can be burned. Most of us who are working in the corporate world will have very limited movements daily. Hence, the amount of calories burnt is less than the calories consumed. Exercise is the way to burn calories & fats fast. Apart from burning calories, regular exercise makes you feel more energetic and young. Personally, I do only 2 sessions of exercise per week, 2 hours of basketball & futsal each. During the session, I personally set a target of the amount of calories to be burnt. If this target is not met, I will immediately find an alternative way to burn calories, for example, by jogging.

Finally, I think discipline is what makes it happen. We know that we need to control our diet and exercise but how many of us are able to do it consistently? We must remember we don’t get fat in one day and same goes for losing weight. All of us know what has to be done to lose weight but we are just not disciplined enough to do it consistently.