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Eaton’s introduces a new generation of control relays

25 September 2019

Eaton has extended the easyE4 product family to include 240V AC devices. The extension makes the versatile range of functions, in addition to 24V DC applications in industrial automation environments, an alternative to building control applications of low to medium complexity.

The solution can also offer enhanced networking opportunities by allowing connected products to integrate onto IIoT networks using an enhanced Ethernet interface – expanding communication possibilities in small automation systems. 

The easyE4 control relay enters areas previously reserved for Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) when it comes to building automation. A basic device can be equipped with up to eleven extension modules featuring a total of 188 digital in-/outputs. Up to eight easyE4 base units can exchange data with each other within a network. The analogue outputs of the easyE4 have a high resolution of 12 bits, which allows much more precise control (of heaters, for example) than the 10-bit standard. The capability to use DCF77 signals ensures highly accurate time and date indication for any application – avoiding time-related function deviations. This information is also updated automatically, for example during the switch to daylight savings time.

With regards to networking development, communication options are one of the most important features for small and smart automation systems and the Easy E4 allows both the Ethernet Via Modbus TCP to be utilised for programming and networking options. When communicating between individual devices, the easyE4 mirrors the easy800 small controller, but replaces the Easy-Net with Ethernet protocol. 

Through the new and integrated Ethernet interface, the product can be connected to any LAN/WLAN router, repeater or standard dLan system, also allowing it to successfully integrate onto IIoT networks. Despite the move, the majority of users who are familiar with similar products will not be able to notice the absence of CAN-based Easy-Net protocol.

“With easyE4, buildings can be automated without a BMS – at lower cost and with considerably less programming effort,” comments Stuart Greenwood, UK manager for industrial control and automation at Eaton. “With a range of new and unique features, easyE4 is a modern and cost-effective alternative to traditional automation solutions. Every business wants more for less – more functions for a lower cost and less time investment. easyE4 is now equipped with a range of features which enable OEMs to deliver more to customers without having to raise prices, whether that’s the ability to connect to other devices and store data, to send data to the cloud or display information locally, remotely and on the move.”

Thanks to its versatility, the easyE4 is the ideal choice for anyone looking to implement control tasks with as little effort as possible – from building installations specialists to automation engineers in machine building applications. The easy-to-use device and intuitive easySoft 7 programming software make it possible to implement simple control tasks as well as more comprehensive configurations with high process efficiency. The powerful hardware, flexible expansions and comprehensive communication options make it possible to use the ‘easy’ control relays across a wide range of applications and markets. The integrated Ethernet interface also gives users access to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). 

The easyE4 can be programmed using four different programming languages: Function block diagram, ladder diagram, structured text and easy device programming. Once the programs have been written, they can be loaded onto various devices, either centrally via a network or via the integrated Micro-SD slot. In addition, the devices can be integrated into larger visualisation solutions, providing a central overview of all functions in a control circuit. Built into a network, the easyE4 can also send warning messages by email based on information received from sensors. In this way, homeowners, building owners or service personnel can be quickly informed of malfunctions if necessary, for example in case of windows left open or water ingress in a cellar. 

“easyE4 control relays are perfectly suited to a wide range of industrial, building and networking applications in the UK,” comments Greenwood. “As a low cost but feature rich alternative to PLCs/bespoke, it is easy to use, set up and program so that users aren’t required to invest too much time into learning the software or working with a less familiar programming language. The application to networking products also highlights Easy’s broader use cases – maintaining simplicity and flexibility so customers can quickly put it to work and maximise value.

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