This year, we see an continuation of the trend we reported last year (Control Design, May 2004) that nearly every new I/O device being released seems to have an Ethernet or fieldbus networking connection. We even found a terminal block that supports fieldbus. In fact, only one product in the roundup even mentions the more traditional RS-232/RS422 connections. It looks like the march toward networking via industry-standard protocols is picking up speed.
This round-up appears to have many more actual new I/O products than we’ve had in the past few years. In addition, most of the rest appear to be major enhancements to existing product lines. This bodes well for our industry, because legitimately new products validate the release of R&D funding and confirm economic recovery.
The products we present below are I/O devices and terminal blocks intended for machine builders, but the network and fieldbus interfaces offered are not cast-offs from the process industry; instead, these products use machine-level fieldbuses such as DeviceNet, Profibus, CANopen, Modbus, AS-Interface, and assorted flavors of Ethernet. One even has a USB connection.
We also see the continual fading away of proprietary networks. Only a few devices support what appear to be proprietary or specialty connections.
Pluggable Connection System
AKZS 950 pluggable connection system meets demands for modularity and flexibility in control cabinet systems and plant engineering. The system enables connection of separately wired switchboards to form one overall installation. The wiring that connects two switch panels on one board is routed to the AKZS 950 connector, and the corresponding wires on the other board are routed to the AKZ 950 mating component. Available in 2-24 poles, 5.08 mm pitch, mountable to 15/32/35-mm DIN rails. PTR Connex; 301/696-9433; www.ptr-usa.com
Analog Combination I/O Modules
The F2-8AD4DA-1 16-bit analog combination input/output module has eight channels of current input sinking and four channels of current output sourcing. The ranges on the module are 0-20 mA input and 4-20 mA output. The F2-8AD4DA-2 is a combination input/output module with eight channels of voltage input and four channels of voltage output. The ranges on the module are 0-5 V and 0-10 V input and output. Both modules support selectable input resolutions of 16 bit, 14 bit, and 12 bit, with output ranges fixed at 16 bit. AutomationDirect; 770/889-2858; www.automationdirect.com
Slice Style I/O System
The e2c 20 I/O slice-style DIN rail-mountable terminal block I/O modules for distributed control enclosures include removable terminal blocks, spring-clamp terminals, 12-mm profile on all I/O modules including 16 channel digital I/O, color coding for easy identification, and a module release latch. With support for DeviceNet and Profibus, the e2c 20 can be used for decentralized I/O cabinets and J-boxes. Lumberg; 804/379-2010; www.lumbergusa.com
Multi-communication Unit for PLCs
The FP2-MCU multi-communication unit for FP2 series programmable controllers uses detachable serial blocks in two different configurations. The FP2-MCU supports RS-232/485/422 detachable communication blocks, operates in general serial mode, computer link (Matsushita protocol), or PCLINK (for networking FP2 and FPG PLCs). Support baud rate from 300-230,400 bps is simultaneous in both channels. Transmission distance is up to 15 m for RS-232, 400 m for RS-422, and 1,200 m for RS-485. Aromat; 908/464-3550; www.aromat.com
Isolated Analog Signal Conditioner
SensorLex 8B isolated analog signal conditioners provide instrument-class performance in a package 20% the size of competing modular I/O products and is suited for embedded or portable applications such as mobile test stands, embedded process controls for semiconductor manufacturing equipment, and any other embedded industrial data acquisition system. The device incorporates modular I/O on a per-channel basis. Dataforth; 800/444-7644; www.dataforth.com
32-Channel Digital Modules
SNAP-ODC-32-SNK and SNAP-ODC-32-SRC 32-channel, digital-output modules come in both sourcing and sinking configurations and offer new levels of density with digital input counts of more than 64 digital points in a single location or I/O rack. They reduce the per-point cost of digital I/O systems by providing up to eight times the number of I/O channels in the same amount of space. Opto 22; 800/321-OPTO; www.opto22.com
Terminal Blocks for Tight Budgets
IEC terminal blocks are color-coded for circuit identification and installation. The DIN rail mounting foot allows for direct mounting on a 35 mm DIN rail and has snap-on, snap-off assembly. The terminal blocks are tested in accordance with UL 1059 and rated for Code 2, both factory and field wiring. Marking strips are available as blank plates or customized to fit any application. The product line includes standard feed-through, double-level, ground blocks, disconnect and fuse holders. c3controls; 724/775-7926; www.c3controls.com
Fieldbus Connection on the Valve
XV connection helps integrate pneumatic valves directly into the system. Up to 24 digital outputs--for up to 24 valves--are located in a compact DSUB housing. Applicable for all pneumatic valves, the connections concept makes it possible to add valve manifolds to an already networked environment. The direct connection uses a 25-pin connector that provides openness. The use of bus controllers allows for fieldbuses options (e.g. CANopen, DeviceNet, ProfiBus, Ethernet Powerlink). B&R Industrial Automation; 770/772-0400; www.br-automation.com