Time, material savings mean cost savings
Many people say, “Time is money.” However, material is too. When it comes to engineering, assembling, and testing control panels, reducing either time or materials (or both) can reduce costs significantly. Here are two examples that illustrate how reducing time and materials can also reduce costs.
In the time reduction example, the estimated time to wire motor starters, contactors, and pilot devices is 4 hours and 29 minutes. However, the estimate is only 41 minutes if a device-level wiring system is used—an 85% reduction in wiring time. Engineering and testing times were also reduced.
In the material reduction example, an installation that consisted of 1,600 motor starters would have required 7.83 miles of control wiring. However, by using a device-level wiring system, only 0.45 mile of flat cable was used. Calculating the material cost of each method using $0.61/ft for flat cable and $0.14 for #14 AWG, the device-level wiring system saved more than $4,300. In addition, the calculated savings for wiring/assembly time was 22 man-days.
Another significant benefit is the device-level wiring network allowed the system to be installed and commissioned without having to ring out a multitude of control wiring connections. This type of control system can also connect electronic motor starters to the system, which allows motor current and other loads to be monitored without having to add current transformers or analog input cards to the PLC. This feature could enable a higher level of predictive data monitoring that was prohibitively expensive in the past.