At their most basic level, industrial machines and production lines need electrical power. This means a lot of wire and, for many decades, costly and labor-intensive conduit. That is, until 2002, when the National Fire Protection Assn. (NFPA) updated its NFPA 79 Electrical Standard for Industrial Machinery and relaxed it on several levels, including a provision to allow quick-disconnect connectors in power distribution. Besides saving on conduit, another benefit of quick-disconnect connectors is that any technician can install them, while conduit-based wiring must be installed by a certified electrician.
To help users take advantage of the flexibility and savings that NFPA 79 permits, Turck launched a new 1-3/8-in. D-Size powerfast modular wiring system to handle high-current applications for machine power distribution and motor control. The company's D-Size connectors include three- and four-pin connectors and tees, which can provide up to 600 V and 30 A of power. D-Size joins Turck's four other powerfast families, including its 7/8-in. A-Size, M16, M23 and M40 power connectors.
"Connectors evolved to handle NFPA 79's current requirements," says Jay Bartsias, Turck's connectivity division product manager. "Quick-disconnect connectors now handle up to equivalent amperage requirements met by traditional 10 AWG conductors serving a three-phase motor running at up to 25 A. Quick-disconnect connectors have had this ability. It's just that now NFPA 79 allows it."
Because D-Size powerfast is compliant with NFPA 79, its components can be used in place of traditional conduit. The cordsets are available with Turck's flexlife exposed-run PVC cable in 10, 12 or 14 AWG wires. The larger 10 AWG conductors can handle up to 30 A in three-pin and 25 A in four-pin configurations.
The D-Size connectors also carry the International Electrotechnical Commission's (IEC) IP67, IP68 and IP69k protection ratings. D-Size powerfast also is designed to work with Turck's powerlok two-part, clamshell, preventing disconnection while under load.
Bartsias reports that D-Size powerfast took about two years to develop, mainly in response to large customers and other users who demand quick-disconnect connectors for their motors, drives, conveyors, material handling and other industrial applications. Quick disconnect can greatly aid maintenance, change outs and modular manufacturing efforts. "These connectors are very easy to apply to user applications, and they'll provide a lot of flexibility where it's needed," says Bartsias.
D-Size powerfast offers male and female, straight and right-angle connectors, standard and custom lengths, and pigtails or extensions. Their encapsulated mating receptacles are made of standard nickel-plated brass, stainless-steel for washdown applications or less-expensive, clear anodized aluminum. They're also available with either ½-in.-14 National Pipe Thread (NPT) or ¾-in.-14 NPT mounting threads. D-Size connectors also come in reducer tees for scaling down to smaller cables and has closure caps for its connectors.
Turck recently released a field-wirable version of its D-Size powerfast connectors. These consist of the same basic connectors, but they have a protected screw terminal on the back side. "This will allow users to more easily wire their cables to desired lengths, instead of having to install a junction box or splice the cable," says Bartsias. "In the future, we'd eventually like to pursue developing a shielded connector version and add higher pin count capabilities."