Designing a Panel? Contactors Can Help Cut Costs

Designing a Panel? Contactors Can Help Cut Costs

Three features are engineered into modern contactors to optimize your budget through an improved coil, smaller size and expanded certification.

By Hannah M. Schermerhorn, marketing engineer, Rockwell Automation

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 now are designed to reduce costs. But exactly how can a contactor save you money? Three features have been engineered into modern contactors to optimize your budget.

1. Improved Coil

The first feature modern contactors offer is a wide-range electronic, universal coil. Traditionally, contactors had a coil that was for either AC or DC power. To design a panel, you would need to search through a product’s multitude part numbers to find the coil that fits your application’s specific needs. For every contactor needed, you would need to spend valuable time examining numerous coils with different AC or DC offerings, hertz ranges and voltage ranges. 

Modern contactors have moved away from using those traditional coils. New, wide-range electronic, universal coils have both AC and DC power capabilities in one coil. These can handle larger voltage ranges. This means 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 labor costs.

The new coils reduce part numbers, and they 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 also can 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.

2. 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.

As a result, 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 less hassle.

3. 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. Modern contactors are certified globally, permitting simplified product selection that can save you labor cost in the design stage of choosing a contactor.

Small Changes

Next time you’re 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.

 

 

The Journal From Rockwell Automation and Our PartnerNetwork™ is published by Putman Media, Inc.

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