Is IDC an Ethics Issue?


Apr 25, 2008

Thank you for raising a debate on IDC [“It Always Takes Connections”]. One of the reasons it is such a fertile subject for discussion is because it is essentially an ethical issue: Do we choose a connector that makes our work easy while potentially frustrating the paying user or take a more conservative, expensive and potentially better balanced approach?

As an automation professional with mechanical and electrical credentials on both sides of the systems fence—OEM and end user—I’ve spent considerable time sorting this out for myself.

What perpetuates the ferment is lack of field data. Manufacturers such as Allen-Bradley, Wago, Phoenix Contact and others promote their hardware and extol its virtues to persuade and win adherents. I’d like to believe them but lack objective results with which to assess pros and cons. The only stable data I have is that some customers will not allow IDCs.

This is a major issue for machinery OEMs. The controls engineers are caught in the middle of the debate. They must balance cost of design, assembly and delivery of a machine or system against performance and reliability of the system once it is installed and running.

Jason Parker,
Senior Engineer
automation systems and line integration
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