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Decentralised, cabinet-free power supplies for smart manufacturing

01 June 2020

The demand for flexible modular systems is transforming the world of manufacturing engineering as we know it, and the decentralisation of system components is shaping up to be a major development in this regard.

Decentralisation can speed up the system planning process, simplify maintenance tasks, and facilitate straightforward system expansion. More system components are being relocated directly into the field now and are required to be provided with a degree of environmental protection from IP54 to IP67. As a result, central cabinets can be made smaller than ever or else dispensed with entirely.

So, what exactly is going on with the power supply in decentralised systems and machine engineering? The products currently available on the market follow three different strategies:

1.  No decentralisation of the power supply  The power supply is not included in the decentralisation process and remains in the central cabinets. In order to supply power to the remote peripheral devices in the field, long cable harnesses have to be installed using costly large cross-section wire to minimise losses and the system power supply has to be oversized to compensate for the loss of performance caused by the long cables.

2.  Power supply in a decentralised on-site cabinet  The power supply, together with other standard components such as electronic fuses or switches, is taken out of the central cabinet and placed directly onto the machine in smaller, decentralised IP67 cabinets. System builders often handle the planning and assembly of these cabinets themselves.

3.  Customer-specific solution  A customer-specific, decentralised solution is developed especially for the power supply. The size and mechanics are also specifically tailored to the individual system along with the electrical specifications.

Read the full article in the June issue of DPA.


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