Eaton designs motor controls system for materials handling

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Suited for use in distributed control applications on conveyors, materials handling systems and all installations that can benefit from a decentralised motor control system, the latest Rapid Link 4.0 motor control units from Eaton’s Electrical Sector combine versatility, ease of installation, plug-able connections, space-saving compact construction and an IP65 rating designed to allow them to be used in the toughest of environments.

The Rapid Link 4.0 range includes direct-on-line and reversing motor starters with electronic motor protection for 0.3-3kW and variable speed drives with four ratings up to 2.2kW. All models in the range have the same fixing arrangements and dimensions, which helps simplify both plant design and equipment installation. In addition, the standardized design means that fitting a variable speed drive unit in place of a direct-on-line starter – or vice-versa – is a straightforward task, allowing changes in user requirements to be accommodated readily and inexpensively.

The compact square housings used by Rapid Link 4.0 are designed to allow power and motor cables to enter from either side or from the bottom, and the unit to be rotated on the same fixing holes, which means that the units always can be mounted in a convenient position and orientation. All units in the range also have the option of a lockable switch disconnector to help provide fast, safe isolation from the electrical power source. A further option, available for variable speed drive models, is an integrated brake chopper that helps eliminate the need for the installation of additional modules should breaking of the motor be required.

Motor starter units in the Rapid Link 4.0 range incorporate electronic control, helping them to achieve a life of 10 million operating cycles at 3kW. The units are suitable for duty cycles of up to 3,000 starts per hour and can be used at temperatures up to 55 degrees Celsius without derating. The variable speed drive units in the range are available with ratings of 0.75, 1.1, 1.5 and 2.2kW, and all models can be set by the user to operate in either Voltage Frequency control or Speed Control mode. Eaton says the units incorporate a quick-stop function, and with its onboard intelligence, it can be programmed with cyclical sequences, reducing the processing needed by the PLC.

Rapid Link 4.0 motor control units from Eaton’s Electrical Sector incorporate the latest AS-I 3.0 protocol, which provides a wide range of communication options between the PLC and the units. In addition to standard control functions, these options include transmission of diagnostic information such as motor current, as well the transfer of operating parameters and set frequencies.