by Lyon Lee, IDEC Product Marketing Manager
IDEC switches, relays and PLCs: Safe, Simple, Smart push-in connections
Coronavirus has caused an unprecedented disruption to all businesses and negatively affected the global workforce. OEM manufacturers are struggling to maintain production under severe shortages of skilled workers and forced to look for new ways to minimize the gap. With IDEC’s intuitive and easy-to-wire push-in connection switches, relays and PLCs, panel shops and OEM manufacturers gain the power to quickly train new employees to do fast and reliable installations.
Push-in technology is a uniquely designed electrical connection method that incorporates a spring steel arm mounted with a section of flat metal contact. When the exposed wire is pushed in, it is squeezed between those two pieces of metal, achieving a reliable and secure electrical contact under steady pressure. The wire pushes against the spring steel, which allows it to slide past until it reaches the bottom of the chamber. With the help of a flathead screwdriver, the plastic release pin pushes the spring steel away from the wire so that it can be removed easily and quickly. Plus, the release pin is plastic to prevent electric shock while removing wires. It also facilitates insertion of multi-strand and thin/flexible wires. Depending on the current requirements of the device itself, wire sizes between 16 and 26 AWG (0.14 to 1.50mm2), with wire strip length of 10-11mm are most often used. If the application is using thin stranded wires, adding a ferrule to the wire will make it easy to insert into the push-in terminal.
Compared to the standard screw wire connection, push-in connection saves up to 55% on wiring time and reduces maintenance due to loosened screws. For example, making wire connections using screw terminals requires the use of both hands and good control of tightening torque. Push-in technology is a single-hand operation. The more products in an application that use push-in technology—such as switches, relay sockets, PLCs, etc.—the more time savings and consistency the customer benefits from. Plus, employees providing installation do not have to be experienced, leaving more critical jobs for those who are. Unlike the screw connection, the push-in connection is spring loaded, which means users get safe and reliable connections with superior contact reliability, even in high-vibration applications. The connections also handle high G shock very well. These capabilities are present regardless of the shape or size of the wire being used and whether the wire is solid core or stranded wire using a ferrule.
In other connection types—sometimes called spring-clamp, spring-cage, or cage-clamp connections—all of which are similar in operation and need a screwdriver to open up the pathway for wire insertion, sometimes it is confusing to distinguish the wire insertion port from the screwdriver port. True push-in technology, like IDEC offers, is more compact than competitor products, which allows for building solutions with smaller footprints. Further, their terminals include small orange pushers near each wire terminal port to make it easier to identify, which in turn makes connection even more intuitive and faster—important when rewiring systems. A few other features worth noting: Terminal numbers are clearly marked next to wiring ports, which will greatly reduce installation and maintenance times. So that a flat blade screwdriver does not get inserted into the wire port, the release pin has a distinct orange color. And, dedicated test points are also built into the devices to facilitate quick and safe troubleshooting.
You may ask who might benefit most from using push-in technology. Although anyone making connections, whether in the field or on the factory floor, will benefit from the use of push-in technology, several specific groups may see greater results. For example, contract manufacturers have a particular opportunity to save large amounts of time and money from using components with push-in connections. This includes panel builders who specialize in the design and installation of industrial control modules and subsystems. Further, control panels that necessitate the connection of many different devices that mount in or are installed on the equipment cabinet can be installed easily and quickly. Then there are OEMs that will benefit from the way in which components featuring push-in connectivity streamline the setup of control cabinets—especially those employing many control devices in the equipment they sell. Distributors, as well, benefit from the ability to offer simplicity to end-users. Product managers and designers can even benefit from the way in which push-in connectivity trims manufacturing and labor costs.
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