Posted tagged ‘control panel’

6 Things You Must Know Before Choosing a Control Panel Enclosure

May 21, 2015

Picking the right enclosure for a machine design is extremely important. If you get it right everything is going to last and work great and be easily maintained. If you get it wrong things will overheat, you can get contaminants in the cabinet, things will prematurely fail. It may seem rudimentary but there are a lot of different options to consider. I want to tell you about the 6 that I think are the most important.

1. The environment is critical in picking the right cabinet. If this is going to go anywhere where water or dust or any type of contaminants are present in the atmosphere then you want to make sure your cabinet has some sort of seal on it so that you can remember to keep the water and the dust out, that’s the main thing. You want to make sure there isn’t going to be too much heat in the cabinet. You want to make sure that the components have room to breathe. So again all kinds of enclosures exist, each application is unique, the enclosure should be unique as well. The smallest enclosure is not always the best enclosure. You may want the smallest enclosure because space = cost. The bigger the enclosure the more it’s going to cost because the more metal there is. Just think about the long term maintainability of all the equipment that you are going to put inside of it. It is not easy to change an enclosure once you decided and installed all the components so make sure you take the time to get it right. Consider all the options; way all the pros and cons and make an educated decision. So again the first thing is going to be the environment that dictates the type of enclosure. That’s going to be the NEMA or the IP which means Ingress Protection rating that’s going to keep all the contaminants out of the cabinet.

2. The internal components that are going to go inside. Most of the time it’s going to be electronics inside and those electronics produce heat. All these electronics have an associated watt loss, heat loss that’s associated with them. That’s usually part of the specification for each of these components. Add all that up and make sure your cabinet can dissipate that much heat. There are calculations you could use to determine that.

3. The need to access all the different sides of the components. For instance, if you need to get your hand up underneath here to grab a hold of this wire and it’s too close to the wire duct you can’t get your hand in there. Same thing if I need to be able to grab the in stop on the side of the piece to pull it off of the din rail. If I can’t get my hand in here it’s going to make it a lot more painful for me to do that if I’m a maintenance person. Remember you want to make enough space in here for things to be able to breathe and for you to be able to access these things with your hands.

4. Surrounding obstacles outside of the cabinet.Anything that is going to be on either side or the front or back is going to determine how big your door needs to be. If you have any cables that have to come out with a minimum bend radius or anything like that. That’s going to affect how far away you need to place things from the cabinet. If there is going to be any corrosives in the environment, if it’s a wash down say for a food and beverage application the type of enclosure you’re going to want to make sure it’s stainless or something that can’t corrode with cost of chemical wash down.

5. Think about any arc flash mitigation that you have to deal with. Certain customers of ours require the internal disconnect be located on the outside of the panel completely, so when power is removed there is no internal components that will have live power to them. Think of your maintenance personnel when you pick these component because it can really mean the difference between being able to work on these efficiently and effectively to reduce downtime. Make sure you can prolong the life of the equipment inside, which has to do with heat loss and contaminants.

5 Reasons to Add Lighting Solutions to Your Manufacturing Lines

April 28, 2015

Hi, my name is Andy Lewis with Innovative-IDM, and today I’d like to speak with you for a couple of minutes about a variety of lighting solutions that you can utilize for your plant floor, for your industrial facility.

We carry a line called Patlite and they have a wide variety of novel solutions to allow greater through-put, production visibility, enhanced speed at which maintenance is done and responded to, increase operator performance as well as, in general, give you an idea of where issues may lie in your plant and where they usually happen.

What’s great about lights? They light up, they’re bright, and they draw attention. Say for example, you have a plant floor with about 100 CNC’s; the plant manager is always interested in knowing when they make money, when they’re down, how much time it takes to go from loading a CNC to another part coming out and making money.

Enter the Patlite stack light. For example, green means that the machine is in operation, it’s actually using the CNC to tool the part. Yellow might be loading, and red flashing could be, emergency, machine is down for whatever reason. You can actually tie that in to faults from the PLC in the CNC machine.
Another example, say for example, you’re using an automated welder and you don’t want people to walk into the area where they might get an arc flash or something like that. Well, you can have visibility and safety for your customers and not only your operators by having this on outside the door, so they know that they are walking into a dangerous environment.

You have maintenance guys constantly going into panels. Panels could be eight foot tall with components all the way down to six inches from the ground. Lighting isn’t always the best in this situation. What’s pretty convenient is the magnetic strip on the back side here, and lit up with LED lights that won’t break on you if it falls. This will give better transparency and view ability for your maintenance guys.

Finally, one cool thing that Patlite is really good at is noise. What I mean by that, is they can tell a CNC operator “This step just finished, now load the CNC machine.” Or “Please press the start button.” There’s a variety of different alerts and instructions that can be provided.

If Patlite seems like a good fit for you, please go to http://www.innovativeidm.com for more information. Innovative-IDM is Home of the Legendary Customer Experience.

Clean Electrical Panels Save Money

April 7, 2015

Hi, I’m Adam Ring with Innovative-IDM. Have you ever walked up to a control panel and it just looks like a complete rat’s nest in there? Have you ever wondered, what would be the value of having a nice clean control panel and how can that save you money?

Well, there’s three main reasons. Number one is that it’s going to last longer. Number two, it’s going to be a lot easier to troubleshoot in the end. And number three, it’s going to be a lot easier to repair if something were to break.

Now, let’s take a closer look. Inside this panel, you’ll notice that there are labels on every device that identify it according to what it’s called out on the schematic. Also, every single wire that terminates into a terminal block, has a label on the wire that actually matches the label on the terminal block. So, if that wire were to ever come out or you had to replace a component, it can be very easy to make sure that it gets placed back in the right location.

Also, if you take a look at the general wiring in this panel, you’ll see that everything is very nice and neat, very organized and just has a very nice look to it. When the wires transition from the inside of the door panel, you notice that there’s spiral wrap that adds an extra layer of protection, so that if the wires rub against the door from being opened and closed, it makes sure that it doesn’t wear through the insulation ad cause electrical problems.

Finally, you’ll notice that there’s also stainless steel hardware that’s mounting each of these devices to the panel and that’s what will give it that extra longevity, so that it doesn’t break down over time due to corrosion. So remember, a clean panel is more than just looking good; it’s going to help save money, by lasting longer, being easier to troubleshoot and easy to repair.

So if you’d like to learn more about how Innovative-IDM can help you build clean control panels, visit our website: innovativeidm.com. And if you like, we can actually have you in for a tour and show you around the place. Remember Innovative, Home of the Legendary Customer Experience.

Why You Should Use Cage Clamp Terminal Blocks

March 25, 2015

Hi, Adam Ring with Innovative-IDM.  I wanted to take a few minutes and talk about the battle between the screw terminal and the cage clamp. So, why do people choose one or the other? Well, let’s just look at some of the basic facts. On the screw terminal, when you strip a wire and insert it into a screw terminal, the tightest that that’s ever going to be is the connection at the time you actually torque that screw driver down. From that point on it’s only ever going to get looser. Now when you talk about cage clamp terminal, when you strip the wire and insert it into the cage clamp, that’s actually the loosest that connection ever is. And as that wire then starts to take the shape of the terminal and the wires kind of splay out and basically mold to the shape of the terminal, it’s actually going to get tighter over time because of the spring force that’s holding that wire in place.

So, with temperature cycling as that wire has current running through it and it heats up and cools down and heats up and cools down, it’s going to be expanding and contracting and so forth. Well with the screw terminal, that’s only going to force that screw to back out and get looser and looser over time, whereas with the cage clamp with its spring technology, the spring actually compensates. As the wire expands, it expands, when the wire shrinks back it shrinks back with it and so it always maintains the right amount of tension on the wire for the application.

Now there’s also industrial applications; there’s typically a lot of vibration that is experienced. With a screw we all knows what happens when it’s around vibration, they tend to loosen up. With the cage clamp, vibration typically doesn’t matter. It moves and it adjusts and responds to the vibration without coming loose over time.

Now think about what it costs if you’re having to install hundreds of terminals in a given control panel. If you’re having to screw and tighten down each and every terminal, that’s going to take quite a bit of time. But with the cage clamp, all you basically do is insert a screwdriver, insert your wire, remove the screwdriver and it’s done. You get the same great connection every time. The other thing to consider is first thing in the morning when your fresh, you’re probably going to be tightening down those screws a lot tighter than the last one at the end of the day when you’re kind of tired. So you get a variation of how tight those wires are. And so then what ends up happening is once that panel gets installed in a machine, you’re going to start having loose connections and that’s going to potentially cause a machine to go down and cost you extra money.

So you always want to make sure that you use the right product for the right application. In the case where you have temperature cycling and vibration and you’re looking for the most efficient and best cost to connect your wires cage clamps are definitely the leg up.

So if you’d like to learn more about cage clamps and how Innovative-IDM can help you please visit our website innovativeidm.com. We are Home of the Legendary Customer Experience.

The Benefits of Retrofitting an Industrial Control Panel

March 17, 2015

Hi, I’m Adam Ring with Innovative- IDM. You know, when I walk through manufacturing plants sometimes I’ll come across a control panel – you open it up, look inside and you see this technology that is like 30, 40 years old. What’s starting to happen is, customers are finding that a lot of the controls in their automation are starting to really become aged. When that happens if something breaks it’s really, really hard to find. We find a lot of people who try and search on eBay to find replacement parts, sometimes they’ll send them in and try to get parts repaired, but as they continue to age the repair gets more and more expensive and eventually things just get to the point where they’re not repairable anymore. One of the worst things that happens is a major component necessary for the operation of a machine goes out and then the machine is completely rendered useless until you either find a new part or completely rebuild the controls for it. By retrofitting a control panel, you’re able to remove any of those obsolete components and replace them with the current up to date stuff that’s readily available. It gets rid of all of your hard to find really difficult parts; it enables you to not have to worry about repairs for a while.

Typically the life a new control panel, before you have to really start repairing stuff, usually it lasts about 10 years before they start to go breakdown and then you eliminate that big terrible major risk of down time. And everyone knows whatever the cost to build a new control panel is usually minimal in regards to or compared to what it costs if a machine goes down or can’t produce products for weeks or months on end while a new control panel is being designed and built.

So, overall it’s a really good idea if you’ve got aged control panels where a component going out could really, really cost some major downtime and production loss. It’s a good idea to go ahead and take a look at retrofitting those control panels.

If you’d like help in that regard take a look at innovativeidm.com. We are Home of the Legendary Customer Experience.

The Advantage of Using a UL508A Shop

February 3, 2015

Hi, Adam Ring here with Innovative-IDM. I want to take a few minutes and talk about UL508A, which is basically Underwriter’s Laboratories and it’s a standard for industrial control panel design. What is it all about?

Basically, you want to able to make sure that your control panel is safe, it uses good design practices, it has circuit protection, and that certain steps or precautions are taken to make sure that the thing doesn’t catch on fire when something goes wrong. At the end of the day, you need a supplier that is UL508A certified that can make sure all those things are covered and eventually put a sticker in your control panel that it meets all those requirements.

Now, you can go and do this yourself if you like, and a lot of people do. The challenge is, you end up paying an annual fee, and then a quarterly inspection fee. If you’re not really having a demand for a lot of control panels that are UL508A, it ends up being quite expensive for just getting a little bit of use.

One of the things that Innovative-IDM can do for you is to build UL508A control panels when necessary. We go through all the certifications and pay all the fees, so that we can serve customers like you and make sure that you get what you need in a timely manner. If you’d like to learn more about how Innovative-IDM can help you with your UL508A needs, check us out, at innovativeidm.com. After all, we are Home of the Legendary Customer Experience.

How to make Multiple Fieldbus Networks Communicate

December 30, 2014

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Hi, I’m Jeff Rogers with Innovative-IDM.  One of the biggest challenges facing today’s automation specialists is the way to make multiple fieldbuses communicate with upstream and downstream equipment.  It’s a very daunting task that could take a lot of programming knowledge that could probably be covered in several college courses.  Today we are going to keep it pretty high level and talk about a few components that could be used should you find yourself having to do this.

The first thing is the type of fieldbus.  There are all different kinds of fieldbuses out there.  Some are proprietary, some are open-source, meaning anyone could use that type of protocol whenever designing a piece of equipment.  So obviously, the ones that are proprietary are going to be harder to make communicate with other pieces of equipment, because the gateway type equipment that can be used are somewhat limited.  There’s just not that many of them out there.  Other fieldbuses for instance, probably one of the most well-known is Ethernet, be it internet IP, Ethernet EPCIP is very widely used standard that I see getting more and more popular every day.  It seems to be becoming the standard if people have a choice.  So remember proprietary is going to be a bigger challenge, but there are ways of getting around that.  What you have to consider is not only the protocol that you need to make it communicate with other protocols but also the transmission media.  You can actually transmit profibus protocol over an Ethernet cord, over a cat 5 cord with RJ45 connectors on it.  So you have to remember just because the cord looks the same doesn’t mean that the protocol is going to be the same.  So remember those things.  Ideally I always tell people if it is a new piece of equipment and you want to make sure it is going to communicate with all your other equipment you really need to get with that OEM and almost demand that they use a network you are familiar with so you don’t have to go through that hassle because it’s not fun, it’s kind of a pain.  Ideally use should try to standardize on a type of protocol that you are familiar with that’s flexible, gives you many different options and a lot of manufacturers support, such as Ethernet.  I would say that is probably the most common in today’s market.  Now if you do find yourself, for instance if you have older equipment in your plant that already has a different protocol on it and you want it to be able to communicate with say your Skada setup, or just for some sort of monitoring device or an add on or anything like that to the machine and those two protocols need to be able to talk to each other, then you could setup what is called a gateway.  There are different devices that can be used as a gateway which is just allowing two protocols to communicate with each other.

The three most common gateways are:

  • Manufacturers out there that make simple discrete adapter components.
    • You plug on piece of equipment in one and another on the other end and it allows the equipment to communicate with each other through an internal circuit board.
    • They are limited and can be pricey, the manufacturers of them are pretty proud of them. If you have a lot of components where you need to be able to make a bunch of different components talk to each other that could get sort of pricey.
  • PLC or IO system
    • They can be programmed for making different types of communication protocols talk to each other. For instance, WAGO has an IO system that is known as fieldbus independent.  They have fieldbus couplers that support all of the open protocols that exist in today’s market.  For instance, this one right here supports Ethernet.  If I wanted to make Ethernet talk to Modbus then I could drop a Modbus card in right here and have those two components talk to each other.  For instance, if I had a touchscreen that only communicated via Modbus and I wanted to make it talk to a piece of equipment, say a variable frequency drive that communicated over Ethernet I could use this component as the go between.  Often time people use touchscreen HMIs themselves as the gateway.  This particular touchscreen has both Modbus capabilities as well as Ethernet built in to it.  You could plug one piece of equipment in one port and a different piece of equipment that might be a different protocol into the other port and make them communicate via this device essentially turning it into a gateway.  It can get pretty complicated.  There is a lot of ins and outs as far as needing to know how to program those things, addressing registers properly with in a program to make all those talk.  That’s something we have a lot of experience with because it does come up.
  • Networking is extremely important,
    • it will only become even more important as time goes on because the top brass at all the plants and manufacturing companies around the world are always going to want better access to information, efficiency data, also remote control and data acquisition capabilities. All of that has to be done through networking all these pieces of equipment together.

If you need any help with that please contact us.  We have programming specialists, application specialists that can come out and help you with that.  You can also find information located on our website in our knowledge center.  Just go to innovativeidm.com and you will find our knowledge center there.  It has white papers, for the specific products we support, on how to set them up.  After all we are Home of the Legendary Customer Experience.