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11.5mm-wide I/O slices are ‘the world’s thinnest’

13 November, 2015

GE Automation & Controls solutions has announced a modular I/O device based on 11.5mm-wide slices which, it claims, are the world’s thinnest. It adds that the RSTi-EP device has a smaller footprint than any other I/O device available today and will fit into the tightest spaces, while remaining easy to access and use.

GE also says that the device will deliver improved performance and response times with its high-speed system bus reading up to 256 discrete I/O points in 20µs. It offers a capacity of up to 1,024 I/O points per drop.

The I/O system offers similar performance and diagnostics capabilities to GE’s VersaMax Modular products. It allows a connected controller to know and affect the state of a process or application by providing a networked interface for control systems to connect to the real world via sensors and actuators.

Any system failures can be identified in a control centre, instead of an operator having to go out to the factory floor to diagnose the problems. A built-in Web server allows users to look at diagnostics, test I/O points and upgrade firmware via the Web. This is claimed to simplify start-ups, streamline maintenance and increase uptime.

LEDs on the module and on each channel show where and when an error has occurred, and also indicate when the problem or error has been resolved.

According to GE, this diagnostics functionality, combined with the small footprint, creates a device that is suitable for Industrial Internet-enabled applications and for applications where I/O can be difficult to reach – for example, in wind turbines, where I/O can be located a long way off the ground.

GE says that its new I/O system has the smallest footprint on the market

“Sending someone to diagnose a problem in an application like a wind turbine can be dangerous, expensive and time-consuming,” points out Vibhoosh Gupta, a product management leader with GE Automation & Controls. “With our modular RSTi-EP I/O’s advanced diagnostics, operators can detect when there is an issue remotely and in real time, eliminating the need to send someone up the tower to check. Because of this, operators can quickly and cost-effectively determine if a problem needs to be fixed immediately or if it can wait until the next scheduled maintenance takes place.”

The RSTi-EP I/O system has been designed for easy installation and maintenance. It has a single-row connection level which allows faster wiring, installation and service, while its hot-swappable design enables operators to replace failed components quickly and conveniently while the system continues to operate. The device also has an extended operating temperature range and a high channel density to simplify machine design and maintenance.

The device uses separate power supplies for inputs and outputs, reducing the number of power-feed modules needed, while also saving space. The independence of the inputs and outputs allws specific sections to be activated or deactivated without affecting production.

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