DIN Rail Power Supplies: Users benefit most from optimised basic functions

By Bernhard Erdl | Managing Director, Chief Developer and Founder | PULS GmbH

The fourth industrial revolution is extremely power-hungry. Due to increasing networking and continuous information exchange in production technology, power requirements as well as the importance of machine availability are ever increasing.

A critical factor for smart companies is therefore the efficient power supply of their electrical systems. In short: No industrial revolution without efficient power supplies.

Hardware clash at the factory

Almost all power supply manufacturers are currently occupied with the digital features of their products to facilitate communicate in the networked system environment. This is certainly right and important , and PULS as a manufacturer is also working on and investing in this area. Despite all the "hype" surrounding the topic of Industry 4.0, the Munich-based company is concerned in particular with the security, reliability and long-term availability of its products.

Software-related risks, such as DDoS attacks, data misuse and potential hacker attacks, are already being featured heavily in the media, and companies are beginning to respond. However, with the advent of IT electronics in the industrial environment, it also means that two completely heterogeneous hardware product worlds are on a collision course.

In the manufacturing industry and in mechanical engineering, manufacturers require the same, unchanging components over a period of at least 10-15 years. This long-term availability is now also being required of IT equipment, which at the moment is considered hopelessly out of date in just half that time and is therefore much more affected by obsolescence.  Frequent hardware updates, expensive spare parts or IT equipment that is no longer available can lead to plant standstills, resulting in latently increasing, ongoing system costs. There is still much to be done for Smart Factories and their suppliers in the coming years to minimise the associated economic risks.

Maximum customer benefit from optimised basic functions

At the same time, it is important that, despite all technical possibilities and challenges, power supply manufacturers continue to focus primarily on optimising the basic functions of their power supply units. This still provides the greatest customer benefit, after all. The basic functions of an efficient power supply for PULS include efficiency, reliability, size and service life.

At first glance these basic functions would appear to be fully met, and it would not appear that there are any quantum leaps expected here in the coming years. But that's not true. Efficiency is a good example. In the market, the peak efficiencies of 24V / 10A DIN rail power supplies are currently fluctuating somewhere between 91 and 96%. Users are rightly asking themselves: What does a 5% difference up or down in efficiency matter? How would I even notice the difference at all?

Each additional percentage point on the efficiency helps users – irrespective of the area of application, industrial branch or region – does minimise system costs and increase system availability. According to calculations by PULS Application Support, the energy cost savings with a 24V / 10 A power supply with 95.2% efficiency (PULS DIMENSION CP10.241) – compared to a competitor with 91% efficiency – is about €11 per year.

Investment in a PULS power supply results in a return of approx. 10% per year due to the lower power consumption. (see diagram 1)

This is an economic benefit that the customer actually notices. This is why PULS works hard on the maximum energy efficiency of its products, from idle to full load. Customers benefit enormously from their digitalisation and automation projects. In the case of networked and permanently communicating elements in particular, it is important to provide this basic load as efficiently as possible.

Greater transparency in power data

In times of tightly controlled power budgets, the reduction in electricity consumption will gain even more weight in the future. For this reason, many users want greater transparency in power data. For power supply manufacturers, the aspect of professional consulting is becoming increasingly important. This first of all involves understanding the customer's application and then offering a fair and precisely dimensioned solution where the customer can also track the effectiveness digitally. However, this service only works if a sufficiently large range of power supply versions is available from stock for a variety of different applications. PULS is therefore putting considerable effort into expanding its standard range.

In its contribution to the fourth industrial revolution, PULS is therefore focussing consistently on customer benefits and not necessarily on what is currently technically feasible. At the same time, focus and vision are critical: What is essential for all customers worldwide? Both today and in 10 to 15 years' time, because that's how long many machines need to offer reliable service.

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