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How Can We Improve On A Classic Contactor Design?
- Published: Monday, 25 February 2013 11:12
Did you know that the humble contactor was invented in the nineteen twenties and that its basic design has pretty much stayed the same ever since?
This classic design has been improved upon over the years and contactors are now much smaller, more efficient and more ergonomic than before, but they still have some fundamental flaws:
• They are used to switch the full load current of a motor, radically reducing the life of their contacts – a typical contactor will be lucky to last a million operations
• They take up a lot of space in the panel and in reversing applications this can be more than doubled with the need for mechanical and electrical interlocking
• They can have many electrical connections and take a long time to wire– a reversing safety application could have up to 70 connection points!
• In safety applications you need another contactor wired in series to achieve redundancy
Attaining a safety performance level is not easy, as customers need to calculate it with the associated safety data of the contactor or contactors used.
At Phoenix Contact, we looked at these issues and our designers came up with a new product design to overcome them!
Phoenix invented the Contactron, a hybrid motor starter that is a microprocessor controlled combination of wear free semi-conductor technology and rugged relay technology.
Contactron has many features that benefit our customers over and above those a standard motor starter can provide:
• Contactron can be used as a 4 in one motor starter providing Forward running, Reverse running, Motor overload protection and Emergency stop facility for safety applications.• With Contactron’s unique switching action you will get up to 30 million electrical operations.
• The Contactron is just 22.5mm wide whatever the application.
• You can save up to 70% wiring time because of Contactron’s in built interlock and load wiring circuitry.
• Its Integrated safety function enables its use in safety-related applications up to SIL3 or Ple.
• Contactron hybrid motor starters also achieve type 2 co-ordination to IEC/EN 60947-4-2. This means protection for your personnel and systems – even in the event of a short circuit. Following a short circuit fault the fuses are simply replaced and the Contactron motor starter is ready for operation again.