Before jumping into tech-talk, I want to open up with a story...
A few years ago, an industrial manufacturer wanted to streamline their production (like many of us hope to do). After much deliberation, they ordered a large distributed conveyor system that would reduce their production cycle time. Awesome! However, their new conveyor system arrived without any motor controls, which were desperately needed to make it function as they hoped. Bummer.
Stuck without any quick fixes, they contacted the conveyor's manufacturer, who unfortunately could not provide the controls. Instead, they advised contacting Airline (and of course, we were happy to help!) But after reviewing their system, we found the conveyor needed 76 motor control devices wired into their system. That's no simple task! So, what did we do?
We were determined to work hard, but more importantly, work smart. So, as an Eaton distributor, we integrated their time-saving tech into the control panel design. After working with those solutions, we were pleased to find that wiring the project wasn't nearly as complex as initially thought.
In fact, we were able to successfully design AND wire the panel (pictured above) in a total of five hours!
That's pretty incredible for a panel of this size. But, even better, this story is true, and any panel-builder can learn from it. So please keep reading to learn about the three time-saving technologies we used to make wiring control panels faster and easier. Or, if you're more of a visual learner, watch our video below!
1. SmartWire-DT (by Eaton)
If you look at the control panel we created for our customer before, you will see the green flat ribbon cable on the front of every motor starter and VFD. This wiring solution is a revolutionary product called SmartWire-DT. SmartWire allows you to quickly and seamlessly connect all of the control wirings for your motor control and pilot devices and bring that back into either an Eaton PLC or a gateway module. From there, you can convert to a Fieldbus communication signal for any other manufacturer’s PLC.
Looking at our demo board, you can see examples of SmartWire connecting all of our pushbuttons and the pilot devices. Some devices take upwards of six wires, which in the long run, takes a lot of time and energy for a panel builder to complete.
With SmartWire, it can all be converted into a flat ribbon cable, so it's speedy and simple to bring all of your pilot device, and your motor control products, back into your control panel.
Interested in SmartWire-DT?
2. MMP Commoning Links (by Eaton)
Another simple solution that significantly cut down our wiring time was the use of commoning links. What is a commoning link? It is a simple miniature busbar system that allows you to take multiples of a similar product type and common them together with a busbar. It saves a lot of time by not requiring single or three-phase power on the line side of each unit. With commoning links, all you have to do is bring your line feed into the first breaker, and the busbar will take care of feeding the line signal to the rest.
The MMP Commoning link works with Eaton's manual motor protectors (MMPs), including their new XT family of products.
Interested in MMP Commoning Links?
3. Mini Breaker Commoning Links (by Eaton)
Similarly, the miniature breaker common link might control certain branches or certain individual products in a control panel. In this case, there are accessories for the same purpose as the motor control products. A commoning link allows you to bring in your single or three-phase power into the first breaker and link multiple breakers together down the line.
Each product by Eaton has different limitations, and all of that information can be found in Eaton’s technical literature.
Interested in Mini Breaker Commoning Links?
Today I shared some industry knowledge with you about products from Eaton that can save you time and money when it comes to panel wiring. If you are interested in these products or anything else from Airline, please contact your local sales representative or me, and we're happy to help!
If you have a question or comment about this post, please leave it in the comments below!
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