Technology news: November 2011
Electronic rival to relays cuts cabinet space by up to 80%
Weidmüller has developed a family of terminal-sized optocouplers as a space-saving alternative to conventional electromechanical relays for isolating and adapting signals. The 6mm-wide Termopto modules are claimed to reduce the space needed in cabinets by up to 80%.
The family of 60 optocouplers will accept ten different input signals (5–220V DC and 24–230V AC) and can be supplied with AC or DC outputs (5–48V DC, 0.1A; 5–48V DC, 0.5A; 24–230V AC, 0.1A). Pluggable cross-connectors cut earth and supply-voltage connection times. Customers can choose between screw (clamping yoke) or tool-free, push-in connection technologies, with the latter said to cut wiring times by up to 75%.
Until now, electrical signals have been separated using terminal blocks to connect signals and relay couplers. The new, maintenance-free system combines a terminal block and coupler in one module with a claimed MTTF of more than 2,500 years. The wear-free semiconductor switches incorporate protection and suppression circuitry.
The IP20-protected modules, which will operate in temperatures from –20°C to +60°C, have green LED status indicators and accommodate standard WS12/6 MultiCard markers. International approvals, such as CE, are planned.