Electrical connection considerations in machine and panel design should be part of the beginning to mid-project initiative. Waiting to consider connectivity needs can compromise safety and functionality. It may just be that a built for purpose electrical solution is right for you.
While you may have the liberty of selecting an M12 (Micro) or M23 just before flipping the switch, you may not want to chance that with more critical components. For instance, having the correct IP rating and the right jacket on your cables for harsh environments matters. Likewise, the best length and perhaps custom wiring or shielding will play roles in an efficient, safe and sturdy network. Risk of fire, downtime and high MRO outlays can often be avoided with a built for purpose solution.
Another component, most certainly warranting first-phase planning would be the use of a panel interface connector on control cabinets. In essense they give you access to what’s inside without opening the door. These built for purpose access “ports” allow for custom components to fit your exact design. Another benefit of the access port, though not expanded on here, is the fact that the cabinet door can remained closed during diagnostics and programming changes. This provides safety (reduced risk of arc flash) and saves time and money.
All of this follows in the footsteps of an article I recently read by John Rezabek, a process control specialist for ISP Corp. His visit to the hospital for day surgery brought to his attention the lack of COTS in the medical industry and lead him to an analysis and comparison to what’s found in manufacturing. His insight is at the least thought provoking. A point he makes: “It’s likely NFPA codes and practices would forbid the use of a COTS-based PLC for something like a boiler burner management system (BMS) or one for an incinerator.” I wonder if the same applies to electrical connectors?
Read Rezabek’s full article.
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