When low power meets industrial IoT

08 November 2019

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As technology continues to advance exponentially, the capabilities of our devices, networks, and infrastructure will continue to grow. For example, only a decade ago, the meaning of the unfamiliar “IoT” term was vague. It was used to describe products that could connect to the internet. Now, the term IoT is so widely used that it seems almost to be a cliché, as if everything must be connected to the internet to be valuable. Subsequently, the term IoT has evolved to represent an ingrained, network-enabled substructure that is a part of our everyday lives and processes. It has widened our view of nearly all processes old and new and is constantly evolving to make technology and our daily lives more efficient.

Industry reimagined

Across all sectors of our world — consumer, commercial, industrial and so forth — the IoT has revolutionized how we operate. Among many of the successes of the IoT, large strides have been made in optimizing, tracking, recording and preventing the failure and reinventing of industrial systems. The integration of IoT applications in industrial settings has earned industry its own subset of the IoT, intuitively called IIoT — the industrial internet of things.

Figure 1: The IoT has evolved to represent an ingrained, network-enabled substructure that is part of everyday processes.Figure 1: The IoT has evolved to represent an ingrained, network-enabled substructure that is part of everyday processes.The IIoT consists of network-enabled technology that controls, collects and analyzes data for equipment, operations, technicians, products and systems that are used in industry. This onslaught of disrupting technology into the industrial sector and the resultant changes in processes and systems has earned it the nomenclature “Industry 4.0.” However, these devices and systems are not what most consumers consider a typical IoT product. These devices are robust and durable to ensure that data is properly collected, even in the harsh environments that are often found in industrial settings. IIoT devices present unique design challenges to engineers and designers given that these devices must be able to endure volatile conditions on both the external and circuit levels.

Powering the industry

In industrial settings, longevity and durability of any device is imperative for proper operation. The same holds true for power supply devices. With such stringent demands and design requirements for IIoT systems, a power supply used in Industry 4.0 applications must meet a plethora of design criteria that enable it to be effective in such complex environments. Additionally, given the low operating voltages of smart technology components, such as fast and efficient MCUs, and mid-range voltages of industrial-rated sensors and actuators, power supplies used in IIoT applications must be able to provide low-enough voltages and operate with input voltages commonly available for industrial equipment without compromising efficiencies.

Figure 2: RACO5-K, R2 SX, REC15E-Z and RPM-6.0.Figure 2: RACO5-K, R2 SX, REC15E-Z and RPM-6.0.As a solution to this complex power problem, RECOM offers a large variety of DC/DC converters and AC/DC power supplies, specifically designed for use in IIoT and Industry 4.0 automation applications. These universal power supplies operate across industrial temperature standards, wide line voltage input ranges, stringent voltage output ranges, and they can be subjected to significant voltage fluctuations.

For example, the RAC-K series includes models that accept universal voltage while supplying regulated 3.3 to 48 V outputs for downstream circuitry. Some units can accept up to 305 V AC, and 528 V AC for line to line connections. The RAC-K series includes many power options, from 3 W up to 20 W for a dynamic range of IoT and IIoT applications. While most units are designed for through hole mounting, RECOM also offers wired options and is developing SMD and open frame modules as well.

RECOM also offers 0.25 W to 240 W DC/DC board mount converters for board level power distribution, an option that can be particularly valuable in IIoT applications. The RxxX series of SMD converters offers regulated power from 0.5 W to 2 W. These converters are available in wide operating temperature ranges and are EMC compliant, making them usable immediately in nearly any low voltage industrial automation application. The REC15E-Z series provides excellent service in high start-up voltage conditions or with the volatile power sources often seen in motorization applications, as it can withstand 100 V transients and features a 4:1 input voltage range. For example, REC15E-2405SZ boasts an input range from 9 to 36 V, making the nominal input voltage 24 V, while outputting a regulated 5 V. Lastly, the non-isolated RPM series offers nearly 99% conversion efficiency for input voltages from 3 to 17 V and output voltages of 3.3 V or 5 V. The RPM series boasts an excellent thermal range from -40 to 107° C and fits into a minuscule ultra-compact 3.75 mm tall module.

Figure 3: An example of the power good function and power sequencing capabilities using multiple of RECOM’s RPM series.Figure 3: An example of the power good function and power sequencing capabilities using multiple of RECOM’s RPM series.

All products and series previously mentioned, and many more in the RECOM portfolio, are capable of operating in industry temperature ranges making them suitable for IIoT applications for that reason alone. However, these power supply devices have advantages that extend far beyond meeting temperature rating requirements. They are also EMC-certified and safety approved, making cost of ownership minimal while maintaining optimal product longevity and reliability. RECOM’s large portfolio of power solutions and modules that are EMC-certified reduces supply chain logistics and complexity as well as development time versus discrete component power management designs.

Reliability, time to market, cost of ownership, and efficiency are all key performance indicators in the growing segment of the IIoT. RECOM offers a variety of power supply solutions that will address multiple requirements of IIoT design, ensuring a design that is as effective as possible. RECOM has the right power supply solution for situations ranging from sensing and relaying the temperature of a single machine’s oil to a remote data logger, tracking ambient toxin conditions across an entire chemical processing facility, or anything in between.

To learn more about RECOM Power and their products, visit recom-power.com.

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