How do you “future-proof” your daily plant electrical purchases and exactly what does that mean?
We’ve had discussions here at Rumsey about that phrase and some don’t like it… I mean, “bullet-proof” and “fire-proof” are meant to prevent ‘bad’ things from damaging us…
So, does “future-proof” mean we are we trying to prevent the future?
It’s all semantics, but I, personally, like the term…I sell every day control components and I see it as the opportunity to add simple investment strategy to your normal buying decisions. We all have the intent to choose the most modern industrial products to help our plants and processes run well, but we must balance that choice by recognizing the installed base of control on each individual machine or process.
So how can we make quick, straight forward, cost- effective investments in standard control products that won’t disrupt the control schemes existing on your lines?
Well, you likely have assortments of control mechanisms installed – anything from Fieldbus to Digital and Analog I/O to simple relays. You also recognize that Industrial Ethernet is the future.
As you know, Rumsey Electric leads with Rockwell Automation. Rockwell has made their investment in the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) and the inherent smart devices for their “Connected Enterprise” approach, using Ethernet/IP as the conduit.
What you are probably thinking is “…sounds great, but I’m not ready to change out my controls yet to take advantage of all that.”
So, how can you make choices today on standard stock products that work great on your existing lines as they are, but at the same time allow you to invest in a potential Ethernet/IP future?
There are a few ways and here are a some examples:
Motor Starters – Allen-Bradley has the “E1 Plus” series of motor starter electronic overload relays. They can work with IEC or NEMA type contactors, have huge FLA current adjustment ranges, and provide critical phase-loss protection for your motor that eutectic alloy or bimetallic relays do not provide. They are one of our best sellers, we stock them and they work great by themselves. What many don’t know is that an Ethernet/IP side-car adder, 193-ETN, exists and is ready to turn it into a smart device. No need to change out the overload. As a smart device in the future, this same relay can now automatically provide your maintenance team information like status, warnings with percent of thermal capacity, and time to reset.
Sensors – Allen-Bradley has the “RightSight” series of photoelectric sensors. They are industrial grade, 1200 psi wash-down rated, with flexible mounting and bright visible wrap-around LED’s. We stock all the versions, including the newer polarized retro and background suppression modes. Work great… another best seller. What many don’t realize is that Rockwell has been implanting “smart chips” in their lead sensor lines for some time now. Yes, there are microprocessors in your sensors. These IO-Link chips are asleep. The sensors work great as-is and operate normally with standard cables and standard digital outputs. Theybecome “smart” by connecting the same cable to an IO Link interface to Ethernet/IP and then waking them up. All your installed sensors would be smart- capable, but you would decide which sensors you will make Ethernet/IP capable. You can then draw out information to your local operators like a blinking sensor LED to find a failure, an HMI indication of a dirty lens, a HMI input to teach for a different target, or an automatic sensor configuration downloaded when the sensor is replaced.
So, there we go…future-proofing your purchases…making buying decisions that are more like investment decisions…buying standard products ready for the future from a premium control manufacturer in stock here at Rumsey Electric. Hope that gives you something new to think about.
Have a Great Day!
Want to Learn More?
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Tony Kaminski has been in the Automation and Control industry for over 25 years. Prior to his current position as the Power & Component Solutions Manager, Tony was an Industrial Control, Sensing, Safety and Drives Specialist for 10 years at Rumsey Electric.