For building control panels, Omron is introducing around 600 different factory automation (FA) devices, across 18 different product categories, all built to a common design platform including Omron’s proprietary Push-In Plus wiring technology.
Omron has conducted market research with 300 global customers, focussing on the challenges and needs they have in designing and manufacturing control panels. Following this initiative, Omron has developed a new range of Factory Automation (FA) devices for control panel builders built on a common platform. All devices have the necessary certifications, including UL, CE, and CSA.
Designing and building a modern control panel is increasingly more complex and time consuming. Not only do panel builders need to meet tighter international and local regulations, but there is constant pressure on improving time-to-market and maintaining competitiveness. At the same time, they face serious labour shortages, particularly of skilled workers. As more functionality is squeezed into already tight designs, the number of devices used in control panels is increasing. And the trend is to reduce sizes or to squeeze more functionality into existing panels.
Moving to a smaller, standard component height across all of Omron’s family of factory automation (FA) control devices allows for standardised wiring duct and component placement to optimise space. In comparison with an old model, the dead space in a panel can be reduced by as much as 50 per cent horizontally and 20 per cent vertically and more importantly, the hot spots that build up in small spaces in the panel are much reduced, which can impact component reliability. Lars de Bruin, Marketing Manager Panel Solutions EMEA says: “The lifetime of an electronic component, like a Power Supply containing an electrolytic capacitor, may be halved for every 10 degree C rise in temperature (Arrhenius’ Law).”
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 per cent 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 55degC, which leaves additional space in the panel.
When building a control panel, wiring is almost always the most time and labour consuming operation. With most companies citing cost of labour as the single most significant cost to their business, Omron has developed Push-In Plus wiring technology which provides a robust and reliable wire clamping option but also can reduce wiring time by up to 60 per cent.
Compared with the conventional screw-type terminals, Omron’s new Push-In Plus technology means the wires are held firmly in place and less insertion force is required - wiring is 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.
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, including EPLAN and in the future also 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.
Lars de Bruin says: “Depending on the industry, between 10 per cent and 50 per cent of orders may be under intense time pressure. Accurate product information – including 2D and 3D representations – is essential for efficient planning and control of panel building, right up to the virtual 3D panel layout. It also ensures effective cross-discipline data exchange improves overall project quality, and speeds up the engineering process.”
Distribution bases in 35 countrie
And in parallel with introducing the new FA devices, Omron has developed a global network of emergency distribution bases in 35 countries to service its control panel portfolio. As the new products are introduced, the company’s European base will be stocked with an increased amount and variety of these control panel devices, including the existing products. All devices have acquired necessary certifications, including UL (Listed), CE, and CSA to ensure conformity for companies exporting panels around the world.
Omron’s complete new range of compact in-panel components includes electromechanical and solid state relays, I/O relay terminals, terminal blocks, temperature controllers, timers, measuring and monitoring relays, power monitors UPS’s, all using Push-In Plus terminals. These products also offer features such as LED status indicators, simple front wiring and push-in plus terminals, all helping panel designers to optimise panel layouts without impacting issues such as usability or maintenance.
Please visit www.industrial.omron.co.uk for further information about Omron’s range of factory automation (FA) devices.