The industrial internet of things (IIoT or Industry 4.0) has spurring the inclusion of data-network connectivity on nearly all industrial components — including industrial power supplies. After all, precise monitoring, diagnostics, automation, and control have become critical requirements in industrial automation. Many of these capabilities rely on component compatibility with today’s most common forms of industrial connectivity.
IIoT allows all components in a piece of equipment or automated installation leverage interconnectedness to working in unison as a single sophisticated system.
Through monitoring and data transmission, industrial-connectivity systems provide controls with critical real-time data about the connected devices’ states. This data may also travel onward to display on a human-machine interface (HMI) for operator analysis. In other arrangements, these HMIs and smart field devices (which are increasingly common) assume much of the data analysis and even certain control tasks — for edge computing that delivers all new levels of automation efficiency. Here, supported functions include optimized operational performance, machine learning, and collaborative machine operations.
In fact, advanced industrial connectivity is mandatory for new automated installations. For example, manufacturing plants with numerous machines forming vast and complex production lines rely on industrial connectivity for cohesive functions and IIoT functions.
In fact, industrial connectivity on DIN rail-mounted components (including power supplies) has also become essential to IIoT operations.
Where industrial power and controls converge
Many advanced control and automation components and devices run off dc power. They require conversion of supply ac power. Within control cabinets, that’s typically executed by DIN rail-mounted industrial power supplies. The caveat here is that while such power supplies source the power for industrial connectivity, they’re not traditionally networked into these systems. In fact, past design approaches gave little consideration to power supplies as a potential location for machine- performance monitoring. It was sufficient to have the correct voltage and current supplied … and leave all other power-related data unmonitored. In contrast, newer designs literally and figuratively tap into power supplies as ideal places for systems monitoring.
Traditional DIN rail-mounted power supplies with any connectivity rely on external electronics for data analysis. Onboard self-monitoring features may be limited— consisting of LED indicators of on-off and dc-OK status. Controls may consist of on-off operator switches and some protective circuit breakers, surge protectors, and fuses.
DIN rail-mounted industrial power supplies with their own industrial connectivity capabilities offer high-level automation and control functions. Some such modules allow intelligent control sans human intervention to optimize their own operation over time. Plus with these modules, it’s often possible to monitor current and voltage as well as other vital power-supply parameters. Some of these acyclic (available on-demand) and cyclic (continuously available) parameters are:
• Component manufacturer name, product name, and serial number
• Hardware and firmware inspection status
• Device run time; remaining lifetime in years
• Temperature of airflow and transient counter
• Input voltage and output voltage
• Load level expressed as a percent
• Output current — reported every 2 msec
In addition, data about special power events is immediately provided. These include dc deviation warnings, bonus-power alerts, overload notices, excessive or insufficient input voltage alarms, high-temperature alarms, power-supply failure sirens, and maintenance-required messages.
DIN rail-mounted industrial power supply connectivity benefits
Industrial connectivity on DIN rail-mounted power supplies supports intelligent monitoring, operations optimization, and advanced automation capabilities. One of the most significant is increased operational efficiency of attached electrical loads. Networked power supplies also extend installation life thanks to thorough monitoring of vital parameters and automatic fault detection. In addition, such power supplies facilitate preventative maintenance for reduced downtime — and optimize power management for the best possible distribution of power to connected loads. The most sophisticated power supplies with connectivity even support machine-learning functions.
Modes of industrial connectivity on industrial power supplies
As mentioned, industrial connectivity is via data communication systems and protocols such as IO-Link as well as Ethernet-based protocols and standard fieldbus variations. Power supplies specifically manufactured for industrial connectivity include not just ports for input and output power … but also extra ports for connections leveraging standards such as Ethernet and IO-Link. Such power supplies can also include the electronics and firmware necessary for wireless communications. What’s more, power supplies with connectivity also tend to integrate monitoring and control features to generate data relevant to machine operations and (based on input commands) execute certain types of control over components they power. ⚙️ Contribution by Etiido Uko • Mechanical engineer
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Filed Under: Power supplies