Adaptable low profile compact DIN power supplies

A DIN rail system is one of the most efficient methods used to easily mount a variety of industrial control components inside an equipment rack. Most often, industrial controls are placed as close as possible to the machine they control, further reducing the need for additional cables and wires. While this is great for saving money on installation, it can cause real estate issues as everything becomes more and more compact. Designed to be versatile and rugged even for harsh environments, DIN rail systems are used in a wide variety of industries including utilities, building automation, machine tools and medical equipment.

In addition to standard circuit breakers, relays and terminal blocks, DIN rail systems often incorporate important high-end components such as programmable logic controllers, motor and motion system controllers, as well as a number of additional special devices intended to connect and interface with the growing IIoT. networks in factories, buildings and utilities around the world. For machine control, DIN rails often require power supplies that can integrate with a range of other devices and equipment.

Additionally, with the progression towards Industry 4.0, which is rapidly moving from vision to reality as automation and computing have merged, it is increasingly important to integrate equipment into a broader level, through warnings before a security issue. Providing tools and devices that facilitate this transition is what every factory owner is looking for. In this sense, consider the need for safety technology that offers non-contact facilities to monitor movable guards like the ones mentioned. Such devices should provide simple installation, a high degree of misalignment tolerance, vibration resistance and literally no physical wear, as well as being exceptionally easy to clean. When it comes to incorporating such devices into your factory equipment, you will want something that is cost effective, compact and safe.

Power supplies

Standard DIN rail power supplies are typically over 5 inches high, 2 to 4 inches wide, and about 5 inches or more deep. These components can take up a lot of space on the rail. As DIN rail systems grow in number with devices offering special control functionality for greater industrial control capabilities, many companies have been forced to seek custom solutions for their power supply needs. .

A new series of ultra-thin metal cased DIN rail power supplies have been designed and manufactured by Altech that take up less than half the space that a current power supply would normally take up on a DIN rail. Compared to standard 120 watt DIN rail power supplies that take up approximately 2 ½ inches of DIN rail space, Altech’s PSC-120 series would only require 1 ¼ inches of DIN rail space. These ultra-compact power supplies make it easy to include additional functionality in the same space as well as for use in shallow cabinets, without increasing costs. These ultra-compact, high-efficiency units also support 1+1 or N+1 redundancy and built-in current sharing functions. These power supplies also provide space to add additional functionality to a system on the same DIN rail.

Universal input and output

Altech DIN rail power supplies come with a universal input feature that sets them apart from other products on the market. Regardless of power output, each PSD and PSC series product has an input requirement of 85-264 VAC/127-360 VDC. Output specifications vary for each unit in the series; for example, the PSC series power supplies provide outputs from 12 VDC to 48 VDC and up to 480 Watts. The PSD series power supplies cover powers from 15 watts to 100 watts and standard voltages include 5, 12, 15, 24 and 48 VDC.

These new PSD and PSC DIN rail power supplies are particularly suitable for applications where the use of narrow cabinets is a necessary requirement due to building restrictions. This is particularly the case with the increase in the number of robots and cobots being produced today. The more portable an industrial machine becomes, the more important it is to have controls and power available in a compact unit.


Up-to-date certification

Certification is a key requirement in the design and manufacture of industrial systems for worldwide distribution. This includes new safety standards based on IEC 62368-1, which supersede existing standards. While trying to simplify things for product sellers, regulators in the US and EU had agreed on when the new standards would replace the outgoing 60950-1 and 60065 standards. Suppliers were given this unified focus to focus their regulatory compliance efforts on two of the world’s most important markets. On December 20, 2020, the old standards were withdrawn and any product falling within the scope of EN 62368-1 (the IEC standard as enshrined in law by EU legislators) had to be tested to the new standard.

Following the EU announcement, the UL organization in the US has confirmed that it will move its own effective date for UL 62368-1 (the US version of IEC 62368-1) to replace also UL 60950-1 and UL 60065. Therefore, everything changed at the end of 2020. And as decision makers have harmonized from coast to coast, OEMs must now put in place their new testing procedures and their new documentation.

Up-to-date certification

The IEC technical committee had adjusted its standards-making philosophy to aim for a less prescriptive, more scalable document that helped create safer products for end users. With equipment increasingly operating in and around humans, we have officially entered the era of risk-based security engineering (HBSE) (see Figure 1). The HBSE no longer places emphasis on demonstrating that prescribed specifications have been met and requires product manufacturers to demonstrate that known hazards have been considered and that the product has been designed for safe use in the intended context, such as cobots operating alongside a human in a manufacturing setting.

The HBSE principles aim to protect users of equipment by identifying all potentially hazardous sources of energy and the mechanisms by which energy could be transferred to a user, while proposing appropriate means to prevent such transfers from occurring. The scope includes normal operation and fault conditions. Shields are in place to protect against pain or injury caused directly by electrical energy (electric shock) or thermal burns, and/or to prevent electrical fires which could result in pain, injury, death or property damage. It is important to note that the HBSE also measures the effectiveness of protective measures.

It is important that product designers recognize that the new standards apply not only to the final product, but also to major components and subsystems used inside the product, such as power supplies. For this reason, Altech has ensured that all of its power supplies for its PSD and PSC series meet the latest standards. The new 62368-1 hazard-based safety standards have been fully adopted in the US, Canada, EU and other countries/regions. Old standards have been removed. OEMs must test their new (and existing) products against the new standard.

Conclusion

DIN rail systems are used to save time and money, allowing components to simply snap or slide into place rather than panel mounting each component separately. This is particularly advantageous for equipment that operates near and around humans, such as the growing cobot industry. Power supplies for these systems are key and must meet the latest certifications and operate efficiently. Altech, once again, have kept abreast of all the latest requirements for the wide variety of industries they serve and are able to supply components that deliver high performance at reasonable costs.

Rosemary C. Kearney