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SA Instrumentation & Control Buyers' Guide


New additions to Inline I/O system
March 2017, Fieldbus & Industrial Networking

Phoenix Contact has expanded its proven I/O system with a range of new modules. The ECO terminals have been specially designed for serial machine production, allowing the automation tasks that arise here to be solved simply and efficiently.

Under the motto ‘One terminal, one function,’ the Inline ECO terminals offer a solution to meet any requirement. This means users do not have to configure the individual modules because they already provide the function required in each case. The terminals fully implement the plug-and-play principle. Since it is not necessary to pre-configure parameters, they are extremely easy to use. Because this step is not required during the engineering process, the automation tasks can also be completed more quickly.

Furthermore, start-up parameters no longer need to be configured, hence reducing the I/O station’s boot time. The Inline ECO terminals are also just 12,2 mm wide. All terminals in the product line can be combined with the other components in the comprehensive Inline range, which means that existing systems can be extended with ease. The limit of one function per device also makes replacement during servicing easy. As a consequence, this task can be performed by employees with no special expertise. The process of ordering and selecting ECO terminals is also made simpler, since the function of each device is clearly established.

The right terminal for every function

At present, 15 Inline ECO terminals are available. The range consists of digital, analog, and serial terminals, as well as temperature measurement terminals. An eight-channel input terminal block and an eight-channel output terminal block are available for digital applications. The IB IL 24 DO 4/EF-ECO four-channel digital output terminal block can be used together with the IB IL SAFE 2-ECO safety terminal to set up a safety-related segment circuit. Four analog terminals are also available: two input terminal blocks and two output terminal blocks rated at 0–10 V and 4–20 mA, respectively. All analog input and output terminal blocks feature 12-bit resolution.

The product program is rounded off by five modules for temperature measurement. Two models are used to analyse PT 100 and PT 1000 temperature sensors, while JK and L thermocouples can be analysed using the other three models. For serial communication, the ECO line includes two terminals, one for RS232 and one for RS485 data transmission, with a maximum data rate of 38,400 baud. The data on the serial interface is provided to the upstream controller in a transparent manner.

Functional safety without safety controllers

The new ECO line also comprises the Inline ECO Safe I/O safety terminal. Using this terminal allows the application to be functionally implemented without any additional software. The safety terminal is easily integrated into the available Inline I/O station by snapping it into place behind the bus coupler on the mounting rail. The user then installs the digital output terminal blocks, which are certified for safety-related segment circuits, on the right, next to the I/O safety terminal. If the machine operator now activates a sensor – for example, the emergency stop button – the actuator voltage supply is deactivated for the connected output terminal blocks for safety purposes. Up to two dual-channel sensor circuits can be connected to an I/O safety terminal. The standard controller then receives all status and error messages from the circuit. The described central solution for functional safety is particularly well suited for use in compact machines where space is limited. Depending on the sensors and actuators in use, safety functions up to SILCL 3 and PL can be implemented.

On top of this, the user can combine the Inline ECO terminals with the proven SafetyBridge technology. In contrast to the ECO Safe I/O safety terminal, the safety-related functions can be decentralised and modularly distributed using safety bridge technology within standard networks – all without a safety controller and regardless of the network in use.

Faster engineering and commissioning

The Inline ECO terminals can automate simple applications in mechanical engineering. In order to effectively compete against Asian competitors who are often cheaper, European providers focus on completing automation tasks in the most user-friendly and efficient way possible. Here, the processes involved are generally not synchronous or short-cycle processes. Typically, corresponding applications require measuring or outputting 30 to 100 binary sensors or actuators as well as several analogue values. The secure deactivation of the process via an emergency stop button may also be an additional requirement.

The I/O terminals in the Inline ECO product range fulfill these requirements. This means that the eight-channel digital input and output terminal blocks and the analogue models enable cost-effective recording and forwarding of binary and analogue signals. By combining the ECO Safe safety terminal with the four-channel output module, an emergency stop can be triggered easily and at low cost. Due to the fixed function of the individual terminals, users save time during engineering and in the start-up phase. Inline ECO offers users a customised solution for simple, price-sensitive automation tasks.

For more information contact Sheree Britz, Phoenix Contact South Africa, +27 (0) 11 801 8200,,

Supplied By: Phoenix Contact
Tel: +27 11 801 8200
Fax: +27 11 793 4403
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