How Fieldbus I/O Modules Simplify Wiring

Murrelektronik Releases Impact20 for IP20-Rated Environments That Aims to Reduce Material in Control Wiring and Simplify Connections to Field Products

A key element in efficient machine design is minimizing the overall machine footprint as well as the space requirements and complexities for actuator and sensor connectivity.

Toward that end, Murrelektronik recently released Impact20, a new fieldbus I/O station for IP20-rated environments that aims to reduce material in control wiring and simplify connections to field products. Introduced to the European market at the April 2010 Hannover Fair in Germany, Impact20 will be available for sale in North America in the third quarter of this year.

SEE ALSO: Industrial I/O Goes Fieldbus

The new interface's compact size makes it well-suited for applications in terminal boxes and control panels The module is designed to handle applications with high-density I/O connections such as materials-handling systems and logistics or any other market requiring the use of small I/O control in a small space.

The modules are approximately 56 mm wide and 117 mm tall and can hold up to 16 points of I/O, reducing cabinet size and making it ideal for remotely mounted installation on long runs of conveyors or difficult to reach locations. 

"Impact20 is the next step in our development of fieldbus systems that combine the wiring benefits of centralized I/O with decentralized I/O products increasing the efficiencies of our machine builder partners," says Markus Keller, president, Murrelektronik USA.

The module provides for 16 input or output signals. "As a result, installation requires attaching 18 wires in the field compared to as many as 48 wires from discrete input wiring to sensors or actuators," says Keller. "This reduction in wire termination reduces the size of the junction box, eliminates extra terminal strips and reduces the number of wires that need to be passed through the junction box." He says the module's printed circuit board is installed horizontally to minimize height requirements.

Keller says a significant design feature of the Impact20 product series is the ability to use the devices in a linear topology. "This is accomplished by the incorporation of a network switch that allows for easy transfer of the fieldbus connections in a linear topology, thus increasing the effectiveness of fieldbus protocols over long distances," he states. "Using the built-in switch allows for continuous connections of other serial bus devices or additional Impact devices without the need for additional drops from a main cabinet or switch."

Impact20 aims to connect actuators and sensors in a cost-effective manner. "The fieldbus I/O station is strictly oriented to the requirements of modern machine installations and includes predefined inputs and outputs, port-related shutdown in case of failure and group diagnostics via the bus," says Keller. "Additionally, the module's pluggable, spring-clamp terminals feature integrated status LEDs for single-channel diagnostics."

Murrelektronik engineers expect machine builders to realize a 30% savings in their wiring efforts with this product. "That's based on the success we have had with our Cube20 product, a similar but more-modular device, and they should expect a 40% savings in space requirements compared to similar products on the market now," states Keller.

Impact20 supports CanOpen and DeviceNet fieldbus protocols. The company says that compact modules for ProfiNet, EthernetIP, EtherCat and Profibus are in development. Modules are available as output only (16 outputs total), input only (16 total) or mixed (eight inputs and outputs each).