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`Flexible busbar` gives quick links to distributed motors

08 June, 2007

Weidmüller has developed a "flexible busbar" technology for distributing power in decentralised applications. The FieldPower system uses round or flat cables which do not need to be cut and terminated because all connection are made using an IDC (insulation displacement connection) technology. The German drive-maker, MSF Vathauer, has produced an IP65-rated frequency converter that attaches to the FieldPower cable.

Weidmuller Powerbox

A key to the new system is the PowerBox distributor box (shown above), which allows power to be tapped from the cable near to each load in a plant. Also available are pluggable or fixed junctions and feeders, with current-carrying capacities up to 41A, for starters and drives. As well as slashing cable lengths and installation times, the system is said to make it easier to modify an installation at a later date.

The system uses five-core cables, either in a round format 7–17mm in diameter, or in a flat format with a cross-section of 8 x 27mm. The continuous, uncut cables are placed inside a PowerBox – both types can be used at the same time – where a tool strips the sheath from the cable. The colour-coded cores are placed into the base of the connector box which is then snapped shut. Finally, a screwdriver is used to close the contact element to make a connection with the conductors that can be used up to 400V.

The IP65-rated PowerBoxes integrate the power supply, extension, outgoing feeder and distribution. The system also includes fuseholders designed to protect loads, outgoing feeders and junctions, with an LED indicator to show if a fuse has failed.

MSF FieldPower drive

MSF Vathauer’s FieldPower-compatible three-phase frequency converters (shown above) are rated up to 1.5kW and are mounted inside special PowerBoxes. As an option, they can incorporate bus cables.

Weidmüller has plans to expand the FieldPower range. For example, it is developing a maintenance switch which will allow motor feeders or drives sub-circuits to be shut down reliably and protected against unintentional restarting, to allow service work to be performed.

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