Clean. Elegant. A control panel that can be described in that fashion can also be thought of as one that is efficient, reliable, safe. Contrasted to individually wired, point-to-point systems, where operators need schematics to track a jumble of cables and wires that have been cut to various lengths, an optimized and efficient control panel can be installed more quickly, tested more confidently, and maintained more reliably.
Today, OEMs face increasing needs for faster turnaround times to build and install the machinery they make, as well as the control panels that provide the power to the motor starters, contactors, relays, and pilot devices, as well as the myriad sensors, valves, actuators, pumps and other ancillary devices used in manufacturing facilities. Contractors and maintenance people also face pressure to maintain and troubleshoot control panels as quickly as possible; machinery downtime is a bottom-line killer.
The control panel of today has changed in design and build and its wiring needs have become more complex. To ease these challenges, suppliers have stepped in with new, smarter wire and cabling products.
One of the leaders in this wiring evolution is ERIFLEX, a Pentair brand that produces low-voltage power and grounding connections. The company has developed products to streamline control panel assembly and installation that can also be adapted to specific applications and customer needs.
Recently, the company introduced its ERIFLEX Flexibar solution, a flexible busbar wire replacement concept, that is designed to reduce weight and space and make cleaner connections using fewer materials. The company says that the ERIFLEX low-voltage power and grounding connections are the next-generation alternatives to bulky wires and cables.
The Flexibar busbar is designed for low-voltage applications from 27 sq. mm up to 1,200 sq. mm and 125A to 2800A. A bus bar is essentially an electrically conductive strip or bar used to distribute power to multiple circuits in parallel. Busbar can also be used as a common tapping point for multiple ground or neutral terminals.
ERIFLEX’s Flexibar is made from thin layers of tinned electrolytic copper formed into a stack that can be easily bent, folded and twisted, improving assembly flexibility, shortening connections and decreasing foot print.
The copper layers are insulated with a high-resistance, self-extinguishing PVC or silicone compound. The insulating sleeve is grooved on the inner surface, reducing the contact surface with the laminates to less than 20%, increasing flexibility and making installation easier.
The OEMs and electrical contractors who leverage this type of innovative, flexible technology for power distribution and grounding can gain competitive advantage. Because of installation speed, high-quality electrical connections and long-term reliability, early adopters will quickly see the bottom-line benefits, and be better positioned to stay ahead of the competition.