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4 Technologies That Improve Industrial Operations

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If you work with industrial equipment or machines, new inventions designed to streamline processes and make things easier regularly turn up. Here’s a list of four recent new technology developments you might find useful.

  1. Phase 3 Powersafe connectors

Phase 3 Powersafe connectors were created by the same designer who worked on the Veam Powerlock series. This designer made several excellent design improvements to those connectors such as higher current, temperature, and IP ratings.

There are plenty of advantages to Phase 3 Powersafe connectors:

  • Carry up to 25% more current of 500/800 Amp, compared to 400/660 Amp with Veam
  • Higher surge-current rating
  • Higher short-circuit rating
  • Higher ingress protection rating
  • Less insertion force
  • Better cable strain relief
  • Stronger impact resistance
  • Connectors can resist high temperatures
  • Can be used with mounting plates
  • Coupling is easy with rubber hand grips
  • Rubber caps protect connectors from moisture and dirt when not coupled
  • RoHS-compliant

If you’re still using Veam Powerlock products, you’ll be happy to know they’re compatible with Powersafe products. Although they’re manufactured in the UK, Powersafe connectors can be purchased anywhere around the world, including Australia and the United States.

  1. Ultra-long-life lithium batteries

Lithium batteries are convenient, but they haven’t been celebrated for a healthy lifespan – until now. Now you can get ultra-long-life lithium batteries that can be used to power remote wireless sensors and facilitate long-distance communications in just about any environment.

For example, the HART communications protocol relies on lithium batteries to link nearly 30 million field instruments and host systems. Among other functions, these systems and instruments are used for:

  • Process control
  • Asset management
  • Safety systems
  • M2M communications
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Wireless mesh networks
  • and more

Many companies worldwide use the HART communications protocol to monitor industrial control systems in manufacturing facilities and power plants. Without being connected to HART, these control systems need to be hard-wired to the grid, which is costly and sometimes impossible in remote locations.

However, now there’s a low-power communications protocol called WirelessHART that poses the solution to this problem. This is the protocol that uses the ultra-long-life lithium batteries

Since the protocol itself is low-power, it will use even less energy from the batteries to start. The devices connected through this wireless system operate primarily on standby, and come out of sleep mode only to process a query or transmit scheduled data.

For example, WirelessHART uses these batteries for:

  • Tank level monitoring
  • Asset tracking
  • Powering environmental sensors in extreme temperatures, such as medical cold chain for transporting frozen pharmaceuticals, transplant organs, and tissue samples

Ultra-long-life LiSOCl2 batteries are beneficial

Lithium Thionyl Chloride batteries offer an extended life, but unlike traditional lithium batteries, they can’t be recharged. They are relatively cheap, though, and given the gaps they fill, they’re well worth the cost in industrial applications.

These bobbin-type batteries provide the highest energy density and self-discharge at an extremely low rate, as low as 0.7% per year. This enables certain devices to operate nonstop for up to 40 years.

These batteries are:

  • Highly reliable; you can install them in locations where it’s hard or impossible to replace a battery
  • Long-lasting
  • Wide temperature range; these batteries can run in extreme environments, anywhere from -80 °C to 125 °C
  • Small
  • High voltage: fewer cells are needed for most operations
  • Lower cost: it costs less to use these long-life batteries than to replace other batteries
  1. Sodium-ion batteries

Sodium batteries are currently being used to power electric vehicles, but they’re also being considered for powering data centers, telecoms, and storing power from the grid.

Unlike lithium-ion batteries, sodium-ion batteries are heavier, since sodium is heavier than lithium. Sodium batteries last only about half as long as lithium batteries as well.

However, they work exceptionally well and offer several advantages when applied to renewable energy storage and backup power for data centers.

Sodium batteries are made of cheap, abundant, and harmless materials. They’re also cheaper and easier to manufacture. Best of all, they aren’t flammable like lithium batteries.

  1. Power over Ethernet

With the rise of IIoT, power over Ethernet is a growing issue in industrial settings. This rise is driven by energy efficiency and flexibility.

Power over Ethernet uses Ethernet cables to carry power. It sounds simple, but it’s fairly revolutionary. Normally, IoT devices require two cables: a cable for power, and an Ethernet cable for data.

Power over Ethernet sends power and data over the same RJ45 cable, which eliminates the need for that additional power cable.

In addition to Power over Ethernet, Switch Mode Power Supply is another way to ensure the operation of industrial equipment

Industrial operations will keep getting better

Today’s industrial operations need reliable and powerful technology. We are witnessing an impressive tech revolution as new technologies regularly improve industrial operations. As long as the tech trend continues, industrial operations will continue to advance.