Category Archives: I/O and Networks

IO Link

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Have you ever encountered the following situations?

  • Machine stops suddenly due to contaminated sensor/actuator
  • Stopping the machine in order to change to another color detection (or other parameters) on the sensor
  • Stopping the machine when replacing a faulty sensor in order to set the parameter of the new sensor

What if you can…

  • Re-parameterize the sensor without shutting the machine down
  • Replace a new sensor with the previous parameters automatically downloaded without shutting the machine down

The above is made possible due to the IO Link technology. IO Link is a standardized IO-technology (based on IEC 61131-9) focusing the communication between field devices and sensors & actuators. This enables the exchange of both process data and service data between the connection and sensor/actuator. With the IO Link technology, devices can now identify and configure themselves automatically. This will enable an easy replacement of defective components and reduces downtime significantly.

An IO-Link system consists of the following basic components:

  • IO-Link master
  • IO-Link devices
  • Standard 3-wire sensor cable/actuator cable

Phoenix Contact offers a comprehensive IP20 and IP67 portfolio of IO-Link masters, IO-Link devices, cabling, and software.

If you need further consultation on your next IO-Link application, please do not hesitate to drop us a message.

Mini Analog Pro Signal Duplicator

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Do you have applications where you need to feed 4-20mA current from a transmitter to both DCS input and a digital display indicator? If yes, then most likely you will need a signal duplicator (current splitter). The module splits the current from 1 input 4-20mA to 2 output current.

While it is true that current is flowing with the same value if we put load in series, but one must observe the total load resistance in 1 loop. This includes if we draw long cables from transmitter to DCS and digital display. There is a maximum resistance value that a transmitter can be connected with. This is why we still need a signal duplicator module.

Phoenix Contact Mini Analog Pro Signal Duplicator has an output load resistance of maximum 500 Ohms per channel which is sufficient for most applications. Moreover, it has a Repeater Power Supply function, which means this module can be used for a 2 wire or 4 wire transmitter. It is also HART transparent if you are using SMART Device.

Another interesting feature is the module has NFC ready, this means huge benefits for users to set the module behavior. In the past, we need to rely on datasheets and then do manual setting via dip switch. This is no longer needed, just pick up your Phone and put it near to the module, then all the setting can be done via Apps.

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

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.

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 from us by filling up the form below!

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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

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.

Radioline Signal Strength

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FAQ About Radioline

Question: Which wireless technology is used in the Radioline devices?

Answer: A proprietary wireless protocol is used in the Radioline wireless system. The wireless technology is called Trusted Wireless and is specifically designed for the reliable transmission of data and signals over long distances. The new Version 2.0 offers adjustable data rates, encryption, extended diagnostics, and parallel operation of multiple networks.

 

Question: Is Trusted Wireless really suitable for industrial use?

Answer: The frequency hopping spread spectrum enables reliable data transmission even in industrial environments and in the event of interference.

 

Question: What range can be achieved with the Radioline wireless system?

Answer: Depending on the set data rate and the antenna used, the following ranges can be achieved with a line of sight:

  • 4 GHz: up to 5 km
  • 868 MHz: up to 20 km
  • 900 MHz: up to 32 km

The above specifications is according to the product design, but sharing with you the test made in point to point configuration, having trees and structure as obstructions between two points.

At no line of sight, Radioline still transmits and receives analog and digital signals. Thus, Radioline works!

FL 2000 Managed Switch for Railway Applications

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Highspeed commuter trainFor many years, Phoenix Contact has been a reliable partner of the Railway Industry, supplying products such as Power Supply Unit, Terminal Blocks, Heavy Duty Connectors for railway applications. In the recent years, Phoenix Contact has invested a significant amount of effort to create innovative products such as controllers and ethernet switches for automation applications.

Ethernet-based communication medium/protocols are becoming the norm in modern automation environments. Traditional serial-based communication medium/protocols are unable to support the requirements for transmission speed and data size; especially for time-critical applications.

FL 2000 Managed Switch

Phoenix Contact's FL 2000 Managed SwitchThe new FL 2000 Managed Switch was officially launched in April 2017 during the Hannover Fair. This new series of Ethernet Switch was specifically developed to bridge the gap between simple unmanaged switches and complex managed switches which are already available within Phoenix Contact product portfolio.

In railway applications, data integrity is especially critical to ensure the smooth and safe operations of the system. Transmission distances from various subway station control systems to the main control center are often in the range of kilometers, which conventional copper-based medium cannot handle. The only way to transmit the data over long distance is via Fiber Optic technology.

Our sales team spotted an opportunity to propose our FL 2000 Switch in one of the railway system upgrading project in this region. We managed to overcome several challenges despite facing strong competitions from various industrial giants. The main unique selling points of our FL 2000 Switch that met with approval of the end user and system integrators were:

  • Feature important automation features with attractive price/performance ratio
  • Easy/Flexible Configuration/Setup
  • Comprehensive approvals to meet stringent industry-specific approval requirements
  • Various connection port options: Copper and Fiber Optics; Gigabit network possible

In addition, we are also able provide a bundle offer including our UPS and Power Supply Unit.

If you would like to find out more about our FL2000 switches, check out our website or you can leave your contact and we will get in touch with your as soon as we can.

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Phoenix Contact – Your Partner in Safety and Reliability for Railway Industry

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RailwayPhoenix Contact has been serving the railway industry for decades, especially for rolling stock and signalling. Safety and reliability has always been our number one concern when developing products for railway applications.

Safety on Board

The basic requirement for safety and reliability is standard compliance. Phoenix Contact has been certified by the International Railway Industry Standard (IRIS) since April 2008 and this standard is based on the quality management standard DIN EN ISO 9001, which has been extended with international railway-specific requirements. The ongoing tests during the development and production cycle of the products are essential to guarantee the product quality.

On top of that, all rail-specific products from Phoenix Contact fulfill the standards of DIN EN 50155, an international standard covering rolling stock; DIN EN 50121 electromagnetic compatibility; and EN 45545, fire protection on rail vehicle. Besides, shock and vibration test, material test and other fire protection is also critical for the railway application.

Safety should not be limited to the big ticket items and should even be extended to the passive component level. For example, the cable markings like shrink sleeve should be halogen-free and fulfill DIN 5510-2 with an oxygen index of 34.9%. besides being halogen-free, the cable ducts should enable individual bars to be broken without using any tools or resulting in any burr through defined breaking points according to EN 45545-2 (R22/R23:HL3). Behaviour in fire is another key concern and the plastic used for Phoenix Contact’s terminal blocks is halogen-free polyamide PA 6.6; which meets the highest safety requirement of UL 94 V0.

Push-in Terminal Blocks and Marking

Push-in Terminal Blocks and Marking

Cable Management

Cable Management

Network on Board

Nowadays, commuters demand for “Internet on board” has made the information and infotainment systems essential in trains. The M12 network connectors with a mechanically robust design, in compliance with IEC 61076-2-101, together with high quality cables meeting the requirement of EN 45545-2 will ensure reliable communications. The heavy-duty connector, compliant with IEC 61373, with modular contact inserts form a flexible and safe transmission of signal and power circuit on rolling stock carriage connection and simultaneously ensures comprehensive protection in the event of electromagnetic interference fields.

Halogen-free Polyamide PA 6.6

Halogen-free Polyamide PA 6.6

M12 Network Connector

M12 Network Connector

Surge Protection

Surge voltages and lightning strikes are common issues in signalling, hence the surge protective device (SPD) become significantly important to maintain reliable signal transmission. Phoenix Contact’s SPD has been tested according to IEC 61643-21 and the plug can be disconnected for test and maintenance by using the portable test laboratory. According to IEC 62305-3, the SPD must be tested regularly and the test values should be documented and traceable. Additional features like multi-stage monitoring (green – operating, red – fail and yellow – reach performance limit) for predictive maintenance and remote signalling for early detection of overloaded SPD can help to further enhance reliability.

HEAVYCON HPR

HEAVYCON HPR

HEAVYCON Modular Inserts

HEAVYCON Modular Inserts

Signal SPD with multi-stage monitoring (PT-IQ)

Signal SPD with multi-stage monitoring (PT-IQ)

Signal SPD with remote signalling (TTC)

Signal SPD with remote signalling (TTC)

Power Supply

The power supply unit (PSU) is used to convert main AC to low-voltage regulated DC power and it should at least be compliant with EMC Directive 2014/30/EU, IEC 60950-1, DIN EN 61558-2-16 and UL 508. To ensure smooth operation and maximum uptime, the redundancy setup of the power supply cannot be overlooked.

A redundant system can made up of two power supplies and a diode or Phoenix Contact’s O-RING to prevent back flow of current. An ORING being a more advanced and modern redundancy module compared to the diode, comes with auto-current balancing (ACB) technology which ensures the power supplies work equally hard. This enables the power supplies to have a longer and more consistent lifespan.

The redundancy status as well as the status of the ORING can be monitored, whereas this cannot be done with a DIODE. The PSU becomes more reliable and dependable when it is capable of sending analogue signals to control system on measurement values such as real time current, voltage and power for early detection of operational fault as well as critical information to the user.

QUINT 4 Power Supply With Diode

QUINT 4 Power Supply With Diode

QUINT ORING with ACB

QUINT ORING with ACB

Transporting You into the Future

Phoenix Contact will continue to develop the products or solutions that suit railway application and safety and reliability will always be the top concern on top of ease of installation, operation and maintenance.

To find out more about the solutions that Phoenix Contact has for the railway industry, check out our website or leave me your contact and I will get in touch with you as soon as I can.

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QUINT4 Power SupplyQUINT ORINGQUINT DIODEPT-IQ SPDTTC SPDHEAVYCON HPRHEAVYCON Modular InsertsM12 Network ConnectorsPush-in Terminal Blocks and MarkingsCable Management ProductsIRSE ASPECT Conference 2017Monitoring SystemsEMProPower Meter

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