24 Jul 2024

AUTOMATION FOR MANUFACTURING

Communicating motor starter warns of overloads

Eaton has announced a new generation of its multifunction electronic motor starter (EMS) which supports communications via its SmartWire-DT system. The new version adds current-measuring and overload warning capabilities to the actuation and feedback functions of the original model, launched in 2013. It also adds emergency-stop capabilities to direct-on-line and reverse starting, and supports tool-free, plug-in terminal connections – claimed to cut wiring time by up to 60% compared to screw terminals.

The plug-in SmartWire-DT interface turns the starter into a communicating device that can capture data such as motor currents, overloads and diagnostic data. This information can be sent to an application for further processing or transferred via a gateway to a fieldbus. Eaton says that the reduced wiring, and the communications capabilities of the SmartWire-DT device, allow users to produce simple, cost-effective and compact machinery.

It adds that the decentralised intelligence will open up new possibilities for preventative maintenance and simplify servicing. The starter can indicate critical motor load states at an early stage. In the event of an imminent shutdown, operators can prevent motor protection trips and associated actuator failures. If a trip occurs, the EMS provides information on the cause – for example, a phase failure.

The starter combines four functions: direct motor starting; reverse motor starting; motor protection; and safe shutdowns in accordance with Cat 3 (EN 13849-1).

Eaton claims that the starter cuts the number of hardware components needed by up to 70%. The 30mm-wide device also saves space compared to conventional 45mm-wide starters.

The wide-range overload protection means that only two models are needed – with current ranges of 0.18–6.5A (AC-53a) and 9A (AC-51) – simplifying selection and the stocking of spare parts. The built-in hybrid circuitry is said to be almost wear-free, extending lifespans compared to conventional switchgear.

“SmartWire-DT not only reduces the cost of designing, wiring and commissioning, but also transforms simple switching devices into communications-enabled automation components with minimal effort,” says Eaton product manager, Mike Edelmann.

The main uses for the EMS, which delivers outputs from 0.06–3kW, will include conveyor systems, and logistics and packaging equipment.