How Can a Contactor Save Money When Designing a Panel?

Cutting Costs with Contactors

Engineering labor. Installation labor. Big power supplies. Large transformers. Huge panels. An immense amount of energy to power electronics.

As you consider this list, is the price tag of your panel inflating when you would rather be spending that money somewhere else?

When you think of cutting cost, your mind probably jumps to things like reducing wiring, or faster installation and testing. Most likely “contactors” is not the first thought that crosses your mind when trying to save money.

However, modern contactors are now designed to offer cost reduction that you should be considering when trying to cut cost for your panel. But how exactly can a contactor save you money? There are a number of features that are engineered into modern contactors to optimize your budget.

Universal Coil

Video: Large Frame Contactors.

The first feature that modern contactors offer is a wide-range electronic, universal coil. Traditionally, contactors had a coil that was for either AC or DC power.

In order to design a panel, you would need to search through a multitude of part numbers of a product to find the coil that fit your application’s specific needs. For every contactor needed, you would need to spend valuable time to examine numerous coils with different AC or DC offerings, hertz ranges, and voltage ranges. 

Now, modern contactors have moved away from using traditional coils that were either for AC or DC operation. New, wide-range electronic, universal coils have both AC and DC power capabilities in one coil.  These coils are also capable of handling larger voltage ranges.

This means that one new coil in modern contactors can cover the power and voltage ranges of numerous traditional coils. Instead of searching through a multitude of part numbers to find the product that fits your specification, you only need to look at a few options that cover the traditional options, saving design time and cost of labor.

Not only do the new coils reduce part numbers, they also have lower coil consumption than traditional coils. In fact, modern contactors can have an average of 40% reduction in power requirements compared to legacy contactors. Over time, and especially with numerous contactors, this can result in large cost savings in power.

Since the wide-range universal electronic coils require less energy consumption, other electronics supporting the contactor can also be reduced for cost savings. For example, the control transformer and power supply can be downsized because a large control transformer and large power supply are no longer needed to support the energy efficient coil.

Small Size and Light Weight

The second cost-saving feature of modern contactors is their small size and light weight when compared to legacy contactors. Modern contactors are an average of 25% smaller in width than legacy products and 50% lighter in weight. This size reduction allows for significant savings in panel space, not only from the contactor, but also from the smaller control transformer and power supply that can now accompany the contactor.

With the reduction in size, smaller panels can be used resulting in large cost savings. Additionally, lighter contactors allow for easier, less expensive shipping and installation. Instead of using cranes and large machines to move bulky contactors, the smaller and lighter contactors can be moved and installed with little hassle.

Expanded Certifications

The third feature of modern contactors is expanded certifications that allow the same product to be certified across the globe. Traditionally when buying a contractor, you would have to take the time to find out which product was certified in certain regions of the world.

One product may have been certified in one region, but not globally, so different products would need to be used for different regions of the world. Now, modern contactors are certified globally, ensuring simplified product selection that can save you labor cost in the design stage of choosing a contactor.

Want to cut costs in your panel? Next time you are thinking of ways to reduce your costs, consider the small changes you can make with modern contactors that can lead to big cost savings in labor, space, and energy over time.

Hannah M. Schermerhorn
Posted May 2, 2018 By Hannah M. Schermerhorn, Marketing Engineer, Rockwell Automation
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