Wago extends far beyond I/O modules

Wago continues to extend its reach well beyond myriad terminal blocks and I/O modules, to expand upon offerings of low-cost, high-function PLCs, network controllers and gateways, PC-based controllers, and programming software, company representatives told Control Engineering on Jan. 13.


Wago 862 Series reportedly offers the most flexible solution for connection of electrical devices and equipment, a cost-effective alternative, with flexible options, to traditional chassis mount terminal blocks such as barrier strips and terminal strips.

Wago continues to extend its reach well beyond myriad terminal blocks and I/O modules, to expand upon offerings of low-cost, high-function PLCs, network controllers and gateways, PC-based controllers, and programming software, company representatives told Control Engineering on Jan. 13.

Wago, the original spring-clamp patent holder, for years heard of competitors bashing Wago wire-securing technology in the marketplace. After the patent expired, Wago representatives noted with some amusement that competitors who had tried to invalidate the technology soon introduced similar spring-pressure devices. James J. Bachle, electrical product manager, offers third-party research showing how Wago performed better than unnamed competitors. "Cage Clamp surrounds wire on all four sides, creating more contact pressure, for larger wires," says Bachle. A single design handles 12-28 AWG gauge wire. Extensive tests of other spring-clamp technologies show voltage drop across some resonant frequencies, Bachle says. Less voltage means greater resistance, greater heat, and higher chance of failure, since temperature cycling can lead to failures and cause thermal ratcheting with screw-based connections. Wago, with 3.5 billion connections installed since 1977, has never had a failure when properly applied.

In addition, Bachle says, Wago has secured other patents, building on the technology, including modular I/O design and Cage Clamp S design. Among the most recent introductions is the TopJob S DIN-rail-mounted terminal blocks, which use Cage Clamp S technology, accepting and securing a crimped or solid strand wire solely by insertion. Avoiding use of a tool saves time. If time to connect a screw terminal is 100%, Cage Clamp takes about 45% of the time; Cage Clamp S, with the direct push-in features takes less than 25% of the time, since no tool is need to insert the wire, Bachle explains. For more on this, see previous Control Engineering coverage, " New terminal blocks have 'Cage Clamp S' "

Mark DeCramer, product manager, advanced electronics, says the modular Wago-I/O-System offers as little as 1-8 points in one 12-mm wide, DIN-rail mounted housing, without any racks. In addition, the company’s I/O system is fieldbus independent, beneficial for machine builders, who can have one I/O design and plug-on a Programmable Field Controller module for the industrial network specified by customers. For more, see "Augment Veteran Networks" www.controleng.com/article/CA241890 and " Wago introduces Ethernet TCP/IP programmable fieldbus controller ."

For controllers, PLC or PC-based systems are available to plug into the Wago-I/O-System, including real-time Linux. Available are Wago-based programming software for all IEC 61131 language, and programming software supported by more than 80 manufacturers, DeCramer says. That’s Wago-I/O-Pro32 or Wago-I/O-Pro CAA (CoDeSys Automation Alliance ).

Separately, there’s also help for commissioning and troubleshooting: Wago-I/O-Check software independently verifies I/O wiring independent of other devices. Wago ProServe offers an Internet-based access to order specifications, technical data, dimensions, 3-D data, accessories, and applications.

Upcoming challenges are to help others understand Wago’s breadth of offerings. Like all electronics manufacturers, Wago is working to get the lead out of designs in time to meet new worldwide environmental guides. (For related reading, see " Lifecycle Environmentalism ," January 2004 issue.) Wago North America headquarters is Germantown, WI; corporate office is in Minden, Germany—the company became family owned again after a buy-back deal in 2003.

For other coverage, see also the upcoming 2004 National Manufacturing Week preview article in February’s Control Engineering . Wago will show its technologies at McCormick Place, Feb. 23-26– Booth Number 4611. For more about the show, see the National Manufacturing Week site and check back at Control Engineering Online .

—Mark Hoske, Editor-in-Chief, Control Engineering, MHoske@cfemedia.com

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