EC: EP9214 EtherCAT Box
Network Integration - I/O systems: The EP9214 EtherCAT Box from Beckhoff Automation is a feature-laden I/O module that enhances power monitoring and distribution while providing overload protection and diagnostics for up to four NEC Class 2 power feeds circuits. This is a Control Engineering 2014 Engineers’ Choice finalist.
In order to provide durable energy management solutions that can withstand harsh industrial environments outside of electrical cabinets, Beckhoff Automation has introduced the new EP9214 power distributor box. This solution enables the local distribution and switching off of the power supply, providing the ability to supply up to four NEC class-2 circuits via typical M8 plug connectors. This innovative I/O solution also provides complete diagnostics and control functionality for up to eight 24 Vdc branch circuits (Us and Up power) per power box.
The IP 67-rated EtherCAT Box I/O modules typically use M8 plug connectors for supplying power, which (according to NEC Class 2 wiring) is limited to 100 VA and are suitable for a maximum amperage of 4 A. Therefore, it may not be possible to simply loop the supply through when modules have a large number of outputs. A further limitation concerns the cables: the M8 plug connectors can only be used up to a maximum cable cross-section of 0.34 mm2 (#22AWG). If the cables from the control cabinet to the machine are long, an excessive voltage drop can occur at higher currents. As a result, the 24 Vdc voltage (± 15/20%) can no longer be maintained and the modules or connected sensors/actuators may no longer work properly.
The EP9214 power box is the ideal solution for these challenges. Equipped with 7/8-in. plug connectors, it maintains a total current of 16 A for each control and peripheral voltage with cable cross-sections of 1.5 and 2.5 mm2 (roughly #14AWG). Even considerably higher starting currents are briefly permissible at the outputs, so that trouble-free start-up of the connected devices is guaranteed. Wiring in the field using the power distributor box is significantly simpler and less expensive than equipping the system with additional terminal boxes with fuses.