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01 October 2019

The next generation of smart and small control relays

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The next generation of smart and small control relays

 

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Picture 1: Thanks to its outstanding possibilities the new easyE4 can control more complex machine projects than control relays were able to handle in the past.

 The next generation of smart and small control relays will enable flexibility and support the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things)

Over the years, control relays, a family of devices that are often referred to as smart and  micro controls, small automation systems, small controls or function modules, have been used across industries and have been a vital part of securing the world’s electrical systems. Today, many of those applications have gone through transformations of their own and have been replaced with programmable logic controllers and new-age “smart relays.” Regardless of recent adaptations, they still have an incredibly important part to play in both industrial and commercial processes. The latest version, also known as “easyE4”, represents the next generation of control relays.

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Picture 2: Up to 188 I/O can be connected to the easyE4

Changes for controls

Before recent advances, the limited number of available input/outputs and programming languages had been a significant barrier to the use of small controls. Today, that’s no longer an issue, as new models have over 188 I/O contacts available to cover a broad range of applications. Various modules can also now be locally connected to both digital and analogue inputs/outputs, making it possible for programmers to be more independent of electrical wiring diagrams, and ultimately enabling a more flexible design.

A step away from traditional programming

Manufacturers and coders who have experience dealing with similar technologies will have no difficulty handling and programming the new devices. This is largely due to the fact that users have the option to utilise structured text (ST) and EDP language directly on the device. All programs can simply be imported, which also allows for the creation of interrupt functions and UFs (user function blocks).

Users of the new technology also have the option of implementing cutting edge programming using the new ladder diagram. By doing so, users can directly integrate function blocks into the circuit diagram – all without limiting the number of serial or parallel contacts. This programming method increases the possibilities for structuring, thereby making it easier to follow the programming logic.

Networking development and the IoT

Communication options are one of the most important features for small and smart automation systems. For this particular product, both the Ethernet and Modbus TCP can be used for programming and networking. When communicating between individual devices, the easyE4 mirrors the easy800 small controller, but replaces the Easy-Net with Ethernet protocol.

Through the new and integrated Ethernet interface, the product can be connected to any LAN / WLAN router, repeater or standard dLan system, also allowing it to successfully integrate with IIoT networks. Despite the move, the majority of users who are familiar with similar products will not be able to notice the absence of CAN-based Easy-Net protocol.

A broadened scope and automation

The easyE4 opens up numerous application possibilities for building installations, especially when it comes to machine building. Its incremental decoders can be connected without any additional hardware, while the interrupt reactions to inputs allow for different referencing methods and positioning controls.

Using structured text in small controls enables a cost-effective approach for teaching and acquiring the basics of text-based programming in automation systems. Given the number of simulation options, most exercises do not require any hardware, and tests have shown that the programming demands of the computer are not very high. Simply put, easyE4 facilitates a very easy-to-use structure that is adaptable for all users.

Visualisation improvements

It’s well known that through recent technological advances, small controls now double as small visualisation devices. The easyE4 goes one step further and includes various other visualisation improvements, including multi-language capabilities, corresponding changeovers, as well as the option to use colour when designing the elements of a mask structure. The display allows users to visualise the contents in three different monochrome background colours and can even showcase multi-coloured displays through a smartphone or tablet.

Today’s devices, with their ability to handle multiple functions and bring together connected devices, are a great example of the innovations currently coming to a head within the electrical industry. They’re making the implementation of control tasks easier, more convenient, and faster, ultimately saving industry professionals valuable time and making them the optimal choice for a wide range of applications.

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