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Panel assembly: wire faster and price better

11 October 2012

Panel builders face increasing pressure to reduce their prices, and the only way to meet these demands is to reduce the costs of manufacture and assembly. Quicker wiring methods are among the range of money-saving options available to panel builders, as Les Hunt explains.

Shorten the time it takes to wire up a panel and you are further along the road to reducing your assembly costs. Suppliers have not been slow to recognise this simple fact and one of the latest techniques from TE Energy's Crompton Instruments division boasts an ability to reduce the time it takes to complete one particular wiring task from hours to minutes.

This is the new cabling and interconnection product, Q2C, which enables the rapid interconnection of Crompton Instruments' latest digital metering system, three-phase current transformers and incoming or outgoing supplies - a development that will have considerable appeal to switchgear and control gear manufacturers, as well as the fast growing energy management sector. 

Q2C is said to reduce wiring time by at least 80 percent, and anything that reduces the labour required in constructing electrical control gear has to be good news. As an illustration, consider a typical three or four section switchgear panel with each section containing perhaps ten meters; the time saving achievable with Q2C could be as much as a full man day! The financial implication of this clearly varies according to pay scales, but might exceed £250 on a single item of switchgear.

Q2C is designed to be used with Crompton Instruments' latest Integra Ci5 digital metering system and its three-phase 5A secondary current transformers (CTs). The system comes with three pre-cut wiring loom lengths to cover fuses-to-voltage, voltage-to-voltage and CT-to-meter connections.

The voltage looms are also multi-purpose and can be used for both incoming voltage supply and for additional meter looping. All the installer has to do is simply click the components and the wiring together. The integral pull resistant connectors and earthing are included on the looms which are crimped to ensure vibration resistance. And thanks to a quality assured UK factory operation, the scope for error in the connections is virtually eliminated.

The Integra Ci5 provides fully programmable, highly accurate measurement, display and communication of all major electrical and power quality parameters, including true rms system values, power quality data and measurement of total harmonic distortion (THD).

In terms of standard features, it provides both voltage in and out connections and user programmable system configuration, plus pulsed and standard RS485 Modbus RTU. CT ratio is programmable and there is true rms/THD measurement. Easily clipped into its panel mounting, the new unit has a backlit LCD screen for easy reading in any location.

The QC 3-phase 5A secondary current transformers, which can be used with or without a Q2C unit, combine three traditional current transformers in a single moulded case. The unit has internal grounding/earthing, has reversible mounting for left or right hand side and is supplied with a plug-in locking connector for easy installation. 

The entire Q2C offering can also be factory configured for certain applications, providing there is sufficient volume from a customer. This can be achieved either through bespoke wiring loom lengths or specific kits of parts to accompany the core Q2C package.

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