Beckhoff’s EtherCAT I/O system - IP 67 power distributor with integrated current and voltage measurement

Beckhoff’s EtherCAT I/O system - IP 67 power distributor with integrated current and voltage measurement
Beckhoff Automation GmbH (Germany) - Smart power box with data logging function directly on the machine.

The EP9224 smart power box offers internal current and voltage measurement in addition to the possibility to connect four EtherCAT Box power supply branches. The values are available to the controller via EtherCAT and support the preventive maintenance of machines and plants as well as error diagnostics, especially in conjunction with the data logging function.

The power consumption for the control and peripheral voltage is monitored, limited and if necessary also switched off in each 24 V supply branch of the smart power box. The input voltage and current values as well as all output currents can be transferred by EtherCAT to the controller as process data and evaluated. In case of an error a continuous data log can be retrieved, allowing the cause of the error to be identified more easily. For this purpose the last 40 values of the input voltage/current, the output current per channel, the I²t warning level and the internal temperature are stored in a ring buffer. This information is recorded every 1, 10, 25, 100 or 1000 ms as required.

The current and voltage measurement plus the data logging provide a deep insight into the machine and considerably simplify and accelerate service. In this way the monitoring of the momentary current values minimises the response times to any errors. As a form of Condition Monitoring, this transparency in the system and thus the early identification of deviating machine states also supplies the ideal basis for preventive maintenance.

Higher total current simplifies system wiring:
EtherCAT Box modules with IP 67 protection typically use M8 plug connectors for the supply of power, but these are only suitable for a maximum current of 4 A. Therefore it may no longer be possible to simply loop the supply through where modules have a large number of outputs. A further limitation concerns the cables: as the M8 plug connectors can only be used up to a maximum cable cross-section of 0.34 mm2. This results in a considerable voltage drop over larger distances.

The EP9224 smart power box offers the ideal solution for this. Equipped with 7/8-inch plug connectors, it allows a total current of 16 A for each control and peripheral voltage with cable cross-sections of 1.5 and 2.5 mm. Even considerably higher starting currents are briefly permissible at the outputs, so that the trouble-free start-up of the connected devices is guaranteed. This gives rise in the field to significantly simpler and cheaper plant wiring compared to the otherwise necessary additional terminal boxes with fuses.

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