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Make panel wiring a pushover

03 May 2016

For building control panels, Omron is introducing around 600 different factory automation (FA) devices, across 18 different product categories

The new Omron range includes electromechanical and solid state relays, I/O relay terminals, terminal blocks, temperature controllers, timers, measuring and monitoring relays, power monitors and UPS. These products also offer features such as LED status indicators, simple front wiring and Push-in Plus terminals. All devices are built to a common design platform and to ensure conformity for companies exporting panels around the world, all have the necessary certifications, including UL (Listed), CE, and CSA.

As more functionality is squeezed into already tight designs, the number of devices used in control panels is increasing. Moving to a smaller, standard component height across the family allows for standardised wiring duct and component placement to optimise space. With slim, in-panel component designs that offer widths of as little as 3.5mm, as well as on-panel components with reduced depth, panels that use the new components can, in typical applications, be made up to 20% smaller than those with conventional components. Due to reduced power consumption (therefore generating less heat), side-by-side mounting is possible for each model at an ambient temperature up to 55°C, which leaves additional space in the panel.

By doing this, in comparison to previous models, the dead space in a panel can be reduced by as much as 50% horizontally and 20% vertically. More importantly, the hot spots that build up in small spaces in the panel are greatly reduced, which can improve component reliability. “The lifetime of an electronic component, like an electrolytic capacitor in a power supply, may be halved for every 10°C rise in temperature (Arrhenius’ Law),” says Lars de Bruin, Marketing Manager Panel Solutions EMEA.

Easy wiring

Not only do panel builders need to meet tighter international and local regulations, but there is constant pressure to improve time-to-market and maintain competitiveness. At the same time, panel builders face significant labour shortages, particularly of skilled workers.

Panel builders face significant labour shortages, particularly of skilled workers

When building a control panel, wiring is almost always the most time and labour consuming operation. With many companies citing cost of labour as the single most significant cost to their business, Omron has developed Push-In Plus wiring technology, which provides robust and reliable wire clamping, but also can reduce wiring time by up to 60%.

Compared with conventional screw-type terminals, with Push-In Plus, the wires are held firmly in place and less insertion force is required – wiring is said to be easier than inserting an earphone jack. Furthermore, this soft touch technology can reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries (RSI).

A patented advanced mechanism design involves a spring to allow low insertion force, while ensuring high pull-out force. This reduces the effort it takes to wire a panel, while ensuring each wire has been fully inserted without damaging the ferrule - by optimising the setting of spring displacement; the wire material is not plastically deformed. That helps guarantee a solid reliable connection, yet allows for quick release during maintenance or panel upgrades.

Panel design

Creating documentation to support complex equipment can also be a major challenge – especially when you’re working to a tight deadline and budget. This is even more of an issue if you trade internationally, and you need to produce documentation that requires careful and accurate translation.

Omron makes the parts data for all major products available via an online library on the Omron website. The information from this library can be directly imported into leading panel design software packages, current EPLAN and shortly Zuken E3. The company also offers 2D and 3D CAD files in the most popular formats via the Omron website. This makes it easy to optimise the use of space within the control panel.

Key Points

  • Panel builders need to meet tighter international and local regulations, improve time-to-market and maintain competitiveness
  • Omron's Push-In Plus wiring technology provides robust and reliable wire clamping, and can also reduce wiring time by up to 60%
  • Wires are held firmly in place and less insertion force is required; wiring is said to be easier than inserting an earphone jack