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`Four-in-one` motor switches will cut costs and save space

31 March, 2008

Visitors to the Drives & Controls Show in April will be among the first in the world to see a new motor switching technology developed by Phoenix Contact. The Contactron system is a microprocessor-controlled hybrid of solid-state contactor and relay technologies which, the company claims, will deliver substantial savings in space, hardware costs, and installation times.

Phoenix Contactron

The "four-in-one" Contractron (above) combines the roles of two types of contactor, a motor protection relay and an emergency-stop contactor to Category 3. It will be available in two versions: 3 x 2A, for loads up to 1kW, and 3 x 9A, for loads up to 4kW.

Phoenix says that one of these rail-mounting devices, costing around £65, will be able to replace four separate devices, typically costing around £78.

There will also be substantial savings in installation time and costs. For example, a typical installation using conventional contactors would require about 70 clamping points and take almost half an hour to complete, at a cost of around £20. The equivalent Contactron installation will involve just 23 clamping points and take eight minutes to complete, at a cost of just £7, according to Phoenix.

Initially, the company will be aiming the new technology at machine-builders and OEMs who need to meet the machinery directive. These price-sensitive users often have to work with limited space inside machines or control cabinets. The 22.5mm-wide Contactron devices will take up much less space than traditional contactor installations.

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