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Industrial automation power challenges (Part 1)

Posted: 19 Jun 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Industrial automation  programmable logic controllers  power consumption  regulators 

Industrial automation system design presents unique challenges. This is, in fact, the story of conflicting demands. The introduction of low-cost modular racks to house system components such as programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and I/O modules places severe space and thermal restraints on the engineer and the solution. Such challenges are compounded by the need to ensure highly reliable operation in harsh environments subject to dirt, humidity, and vibration.

Customers, moreover, expect enhanced functionality in subsequent generations of automation systems, and all without an associated increase in power consumption, equipment size, heat generation, and cost. That enhanced functionality is typically underpinned by advances in electronics technology, but often comes at a cost: tighter power tolerances and proliferation of voltage levels that must be kept stable while being derived from a less-than-perfect mains supply.

And yet, the engineer does not want to spend valuable project time designing a power supply that goes unnoticed by the customer and is often considered as wasting valuable real estate. Instead, the engineer prefers to focus on the things that clearly differentiate his automation system from the competition.

This application note is Part 1 of our two-part series on regulators for industrial control. Here we discuss the industrial control architecture, and the power architecture that makes it unique, a design challenge. In our Part 2 of this series we will discuss the new generation of power devices that take advantage of the latest silicon manufacturing techniques allied to innovative chip design.

View the PDF document for more information.

Originally published by Maxim Integrated Products Inc. at as "The Industrial Automation Power Dilemma: Part 1—Industrial Control Architecture".

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