Panduit Event Series: Panduit and Rockwell Automation Partnership

Panduit and Rockwell Automation: A Sum That’s Bigger Than the Parts

Rockwell Automation Fair logoWith Rockwell Automation Fair 2018 right around the corner, there’s never been a better time to talk with Jeff Beller, who is Panduit’s business development manager for industrial automation infrastructure, as well as the point person for Panduit’s alliance with Rockwell Automation.

Here are some highlights from our interview, including Jeff’s take on what not to miss at Automation Fair on November 14 -15 in Philadelphia.

Jeff, thanks for making time to talk with us today. With Automation Fair just a week away, I’m sure you have lots to do before you leave for Philly.

Our list is longer than the Rocky Steps, but it’s all good. Automation Fair is my passion and our team’s moment of glory.

Passion and glory? Was that an intentional nod to the Rocky theme song Eye of the Tiger, or did you just get lucky?

That was luck.

I thought that might be the case. Speaking of luck, Panduit is lucky enough to have a ton of opportunities to connect with customers at Automation Fair. Can you tell us a little bit about what you have going on?

Sure, so we’ll be showcasing solutions at several locations throughout the show floor. There’s the Panduit booth of course, Booth #349, where we have tons of exciting stuff happening. We’re showing how we ‘turn standards into solutions’ with a new industrial connectivity demonstration board and the launch of our NEMA-12 rated Micro Data Center solution.

We’re also in several of the Rockwell Automation booths: Connected Services, Connected Enterprise, Intelligent Packaged Power and Smart Devices. And we are also pleased to partner with another Rockwell Encompass partner, Eplan, where they will demonstrate integration of Panduit solutions into their control panel design platform.

That is a big presence, no wonder you are so excited. I’m assuming not every company gets to be in six booths?

You are right, most companies don’t get this opportunity, and we’re very grateful. It is reflective of our long-standing relationship with Rockwell, our commitment and support of the partner ecosystem and our increasing relevance in the industrial and manufacturing space. We’ve been a Rockwell Automation Encompass Partner since 1999 and a Strategic Alliance partner since 2012. It’s a collaboration we very much value, and one that helps us – and by us I mean both Panduit and Rockwell – to really help our customers. We’re working together on business strategy, product innovation and partner enablement programs.

Rockwell is all about industrial automation and information – I mean it says so right in their name.

And for customers to fully benefit from automation they need a physical infrastructure – networking, connectivity, intelligence – from the enterprise to the edge. That’s where Panduit shines strong. We understand customer needs on the plant floor as well as what’s happening with the enterprise network piece that needs to work with it. So it’s really about closing that physical infrastructure gap in OT the way it has long been done in IT.

So it sounds like Panduit’s relationship with Rockwell extends far beyond the Automation Fair show floor?

Absolutely. For example, we align our respective areas of complementary domain expertise to develop solutions, as well as offer joint product promotions and network project services to our customers. We also collaborate in developing and delivering training and services enablement for our partners.

Sounds like a power house team to me. Tell us, what types of Panduit-Rockwell solutions should attendees keep an eye out for?

There is so much to see at Automation Fair, here are some of the highlights:

  • In the Rockwell Smart Devices booth, check out the Panduit VeriSafe™ Absence of Voltage Tester, which determines the absence of voltage with a push of a button, integrated with Rockwell’s MCC solution. Also, try out the new Rockwell push-in terminal block using Panduit ferrules and crimping tools.
  • In the Rockwell Intelligent Packaged Power booth, check out the IntelliCENTER Integration Unit. It’s engineered by Rockwell and built by Panduit, and provides data integration of electrical power and distribution into the control system architecture.
  • The Rockwell Industrial Data Center (IDC) solution, which is powered by Panduit data center and connectivity infrastructure, will be in the Connected Services, Connected Enterprise and Intelligent Packaged Power booths.
  • Also in the Connected Services booth, learn how Panduit physical infrastructure design services are combined and leveraged to provide a standards-based holistic network solution for customers.
  • And don’t even think about leaving the show without visiting Rockwell’s Innovation booth for a glimpse into where the industry is headed.

Earlier you mentioned something about turning ‘standards into solutions’ inside the Panduit booth. What is that all about?

Oh right, yes, in the Panduit booth we’ll be showing attendees how we ‘turn standards into solutions’ with our complete portfolio of industrial connectivity, network building blocks and control panel build solutions. We bring to life the concept and standard of MICE analysis with a connectivity demonstration that also includes a couple of new Rockwell products being introduced.

Also in our booth will be the new NEMA-12 rated Micro Data Center (MDC), which enables secure reliable deployment of FactoryTalk/PlantPAx applications out on the plant floor where a controlled room environment space is not available.

Q: Jeff, thanks so much. Our readers will surely appreciate these tips. We know you have to go, but one last question: Where can we find you at Automation Fair in case we have other questions?

I’ll be at Panduit Booth 349 much of the time and assisting with our Technical Session titled Panduit: The Control Cabinet on Wednesday and Thursday at 9:00 AM.

Where to find Jeff and the Panduit team at Automation Fair in Philadelphia:

Visit Panduit Booth #349
Stop in to see our industrial networking solutions at work – and enter for a chance to win an Apple Watch.

Panduit: The Control Cabinet
Wednesday and Thursday at 9:00AM
Room 108B

PANDUIT PRESENTS OPTICAL CONNECTIVITY PAPERS AT IWCS

Panduit participated at the 67th International Cable & Connectivity Symposium (IWCS) at the Rhode Island Convention Center, Providence, October 14-17, 2018. During the technical conference, Panduit contributed two presentations that summarized recent advancements made in the field of data center communications.

Asher Novick presents at Advances in Optical Connectivity session

Asher Novick, Optical Research Engineer

At the technical conference, Asher Novick, optical research engineer, on behalf of our Fiber Optics Research Group, presented two papers at the Advances in Optical Connectivity session and the Multimode Fiber session. Novick‘s first presentation, titled “Performance Improvement of Single Mode Signal Transmission in Multimode Fiber using Ultra Low Loss Connector,” described a collaborative work with Cailabs (http://www.cailabs.com/) to enable single mode transmission over multimode fiber. Our research shows that utilizing novel optical phase masks technology and Panduit’s Ultra Low Loss connector can enable transmission of single mode lasers over links longer than 300 meters with multiple connectors at data rates of 100 Gbps. This investigation enables the use of installed multimode infrastructure with single mode transceivers. This is important to cope with needs of higher data rates in data centers without replacing fiber infrastructure.

His second presentation, titled “Correlation OTDR for Accurate Measurements of Optical Length of Fiber Optic Cables under Diverse Environmental Temperatures,” presents a novel technique to characterize optical length of cables, which is critical to equalize latency in emerging Financial Technology applications such as algorithmic trading. This paper has already been invited to be presented in the 2018 / 2019 IWCS Webinar Series program.

“Enabled by our world-class fiber optics laboratory, these contributions summarize our most recent research on the current factors limiting the reaches of multimode fiber communication systems,” said Panduit’s Chief Technology Officer Brett Lane. “They demonstrate our longstanding commitment to connecting original research to meeting our customers most demanding challenges of tomorrow.”

Panduit Event Series: Over 40 Technical Sessions at Automation Fair 2018

Episode 2: The Connected Control Cabinet is a Must See Session

Rockwell Automation Fair 2018 attendees take note: Panduit’s Jeff Beller is leading a technical session titled The Connected Control Cabinet on both Wednesday and Thursday mornings at 9AM in Room 108B.

With more than 40 technical sessions to choose from at this year’s Automation Fair, deciding which one to attend can be harder than choosing than where to enjoy your first Philly cheese steak sandwich. So without further ado, here are five reasons why you don’t want to miss The Connected Control Cabinet.

1. More and more new control devices are ethernet-enabled.

Simply said, control panel design strategies must support industrial Ethernet-managed switches and networked devices.

In this session, Jeff will explain how an Ethernet-enabled connected panel can help organizations to measure performance in real-time, and how with that insight they can increase productivity and reduce costs.

2. There are six critical connected control cabinet considerations to keep in mind (say that six times fast) ⎯and this session covers all of them.

There is a real transformation going on inside control cabinets, which creates opportunities for the business but also creates some design obstacles to overcome.

Jeff will discuss:

  1. Space Optimization: How to add capacity for network components and enabling design flexibility
  2. Noise Mitigation: Grounding and bonding strategies to help reduce Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)
  3. Organization: Planning for network devices, placement and segregation from power devices
  4. Safety: The need to educate personnel not trained for hazardous voltage
  5. Network and Device Cabling: The impact of more connected devices on control panels
  6. Security: Network and cabinet access control practices

3. Learn about selecting cabling and connectivity solutions to environmental M.I.C.E severity levels across different areas of a plant floor.

The top of an industrial network can look very much like an enterprise network, but the deeper one goes into the manufacturing process, the more severe environmental conditions become.

M.I.C.E is short for Mechanical, Ingress, Climatic Chemical, Electromagnetic, and TIA-1005-A is the guiding premise standard that references environmental and architectural considerations. There are different M.I.C.E rankings for different parts of the environment, which can make it difficult to know how to design the infrastructure and what products to use where to ensure safety and performance without overspending.

Panduit is the only Tier 1 Supplier that aligns solutions to these guidelines, so Jeff is in a good position to share some tips on this topic.

4. Find out why structured cabling in the plant floor is a best practice.

TIA standards follow a practice called structured cabling, which is about building of cabling systems for compliance, consistency, predictability and upgradability. This methodology is universal in commercial buildings, data centers, healthcare facilities, and often in higher levels of the industrial network.

The increased use of managed industrial network switches is making structured cabling a best practice in the cabinet as well, which will be covered in this session.

5. Hear how Panduit solutions complement Rockwell Automation’s physical layer defense in depth security strategies.

In-depth physical layer security strategies are often overlooked, but very much required in order to reduce physical access to ports & reduce risks, prevent network access by unauthorized personnel and devices, and prevent inadvertent changes.

Panduit: The Connected Control Cabinet
Wednesday, November 14. 9:00AM, Room 108B
Thursday, November 15 9:00AM, Room 108B

Visit Panduit Booth #349
Be sure to stop by Panduit Booth #349 to see our industrial networking solutions at work – and enter to win an Apple Watch.

Panduit Event Series: Automation Fair 2018, The Premier Industrial Automation Event of the Year

Episode 1: What to Know Before You Go to Automation Fair

This year, Panduit is rockin’ the Rockwell Automation Fair (November 14-15 in Philadelphia) with both a booth (#349) and a speaking slot. We caught up with Jill Shea, Business Development Manager, at Panduit, for her take on what not to miss on the show floor and in the city of brotherly love.

Q:  Both a booth and a technical session, Jill. That’s a pretty big presence. What makes Automation Fair the place to be?

Well, a few things really. First, Automation Fair really is the premier industrial automation event offering a ton of knowledge and skill-building opportunities in just two days.

Second, Rockwell Automation is one of Panduit’s two key alliance partners in the industrial networking space–the other one being Cisco. So this is a great opportunity to tell the story of how we’re working together to help customers.

And that brings me to the third reason. Panduit has a long history of working with customers on the plant floor. It’s where we started with our electrical equipment before expanding into the networking space. Many companies have great networking or great cabling or understand the plant floor and have ethernet products, but only Panduit has both. We understand customer needs on the plant floor as well as what’s happening with the network piece that need to work with it. So Automation Fair is a perfect fit for us.

Q. Isn’t Philly a great city? So much history, and so many famous lines from the Rocky films. Tell me, what’s Panduit’s line that Automation Fair attendees will remember when the event is over. What will be Panduit’s “Adrian!!!”

A.  That’s an easy one, it will be “Turning standards into solutions.” And that’s with a period, not an exclamation point. We don’t like to yell at our customers.

Q: Can you tell me more about what “turning standards into solutions’ means?

A: Smart manufacturing continues to be a key trend, and connected machines and devices help us understand performance like never before. We can find and fix potential problems before they become actual problems.

So perhaps now more than ever, having a robust reliable physical network infrastructure that can keep everything connected is crucial. Standards tell you what is required for different applications and in different environments, but not how to do it. That’s where Panduit provides value. We’re helping people understand how to take a standards-based approach, and what products fit where in the process.

That’s what we’re doing with TIA-1005-A M.I.C.E guidelines, for example.

M.I.C.E is short for Mechanical, Ingress, Climatic Chemical, Electromagnetic, and at Panduit we align our solutions to industrial standards for evaluating M.I.C.E factors.

Because there are different M.I.C.E rankings for different parts of the environment, it’s difficult to know how to design the infrastructure, and what products to use where, to ensure safety and performance without overspending.

Panduit is the only Tier 1 Supplier that aligns solutions to these guidelines, and we’re showing what this looks like in these really cool environmental terrariums on the back wall of our booth. It’s Booth #349, by the way. That’s 3 – 4 – 9.

Q: Speaking of the Panduit booth, what else are you excited to talk about and show?

A: Our new NEMA-12 rated Micro Data Center (MDC) is something customers have been asking us for, so we couldn’t be happier to show it to them.

For those who don’t know, the MDC is part of the TIA standard, and is referred to as a Dist C – or where the enterprise meets the plant floor.

The new version of our MDC is a fully enclosed cabinet – an all-in-one logical-to-physical solution that can
be placed anywhere – and provides safe, secure connectivity.

Office-grade IT equipment often is deployed in the industrial space, with additional environmental
protection required. With the MDC, that’s no longer necessary.

Q: Well it sure sounds like Booth #349 is the place to be. Tell me, Jill, what about things to see off of the exhibit floor?

A. My colleagues Mike Berg and Jeff Beller are presenting a technical session titled Panduit: The Connected Cabinet, and they’ll be demonstrating how an ethernet-enabled connected panel allows the business to measure productivity in real-time, resulting in improved efficiencies, increased productivity and reduced costs. It’s on Wednesday and Thursday at 9AM in room 108B.

Q: One more question before we let you go. Do you have any tips for first-time tourists to Philadelphia?

A:  I sure do. When it comes to cheese steaks, you’ll hear most people talk about the ongoing battle between Gino’s and Pat’s. The real number one is this great place right on South Street called Ishkabibble’s. They have chicken cheesesteaks in addition to steak ones, but it’s walk up only, so don’t go there expecting to dine in.

Investing in the future: collective thinking in facility design






Future-proofing facilities while leveraging previous investments

A new generation of facilities are being designed and constructed around the globe. A key facility design challenge is ensuring the systems and infrastructure involved will not only deliver new advantage but also function seamlessly with (and add value to) the other parts of a company’s ecosystem, including legacy systems and existing capital projects. Old and new primary investments need to work together harmoniously to deliver a more productive and profitable future.

Future-Proofed Facility Design White Paper

READ THE WHITE PAPER: Why state-of-the-art facilities require state-of-the-art infrastructure

In this age of digital transformation, data underpins modern business, connectivity is key, and operational scaling is a fact of life. This is why corporate facilities in banking, finance, and any other sector are being conceived to take advantage of the opportunities offered by this new landscape. Getting the infrastructure right, the strongest underpinning, is crucial. Continuing with the banking example, companies such as HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, Crédit Suisse and CitiBank (or their outsourcing partners) are doing precisely that.

The data center, now evolving into next-gen digital infrastructure architecture, has provided the core of banking operations for generations. Today, such data centers are expected to work smarter and do more to process and store vastly increased volumes of data, globally, quicker than ever. They must be always available, with no delays.

As a result, global heads of facilities and real estate want assurances they are investing in the right technical infrastructure, maximizing the ability of the organization’s IT to, for instance, deploy workload in the right places, and deliver the right services to users and customers at the right time (and at the right price) – integrating with still-valuable legacy systems where necessary. This requires technology that is both reliable and flexible, based on global standards, as well as working with acknowledged leaders in the field.

At a basic level, it can mean tried-and-tested cabling – the strongest physical foundations – and ensuring an overall standards-based approach that is not only optimized for interoperability and performance but also addresses a multitude of other facilities (and cost) requirements, from energy efficiency to cooling optimization, even space considerations. By looking at the bigger picture and applying joined-up thinking when making technology choices that affect facility design, facilities and real estate leaders – in partnership with IT and procurement teams – can ensure both connectivity and investment protection. This, in turn, can have a real impact on the bottom line as infrastructure converges, data volumes increase exponentially, and the pace of business continues to speed up.

To find out more about how you can future-proof your facilities while leveraging previous investments, read our report, “Why State-of-the-art Facilities Require State-of-the-art Infrastructure.”

Case Study: Purdue’s New University Network Infrastructure

Panduit’s Innovative Wireless Solution Enhances Purdue’s University Network Infrastructure

Image of case study cover

The average college student steps onto campus with approximately eight devices and expects seamless wireless connectivity for each one. Aware of the increasing demand for wireless access, Purdue University invested in a wireless infrastructure that included deployment of 1,200 wireless access points. The initial project targeted areas where students congregate but as the use of wireless devices continued to grow, the university network infrastructure needed to expand to accommodate an enhanced wireless service.

Challenge

This was no small effort. The university network infrastructure needed to serve more than 40,400 students and nearly 16,500 staff members and their wireless devices. It also needed to accommodate the university’s existing 149-year-old physical footprint. We were up to the task, providing an enterprise solution that included our structured cabling system and surface raceway to secure and route the structured cabling throughout the campus.

Solution

Working with Purdue, we helped design a solution that meets IEEE performance standards while increasing capacity and incorporating as many existing raceways as possible. Because we are experts at eliminating alien crosstalk at a reduced diameter, Purdue was able to run 116 28-Gauge cables in a space that would only allow 47 traditional cables.

Result

These days, bandwidth is plentiful for Purdue students and staff, with nearly 8,600 high-performance, reliable wireless access points across the campus. What’s more, in addition to 100% wireless capacity, Purdue provided one wired access point per student in the dorms using Panduit Ethernet jacks and Purdue’s color–old gold.

See How Panduit Did It

Learn how Purdue University stayed connected: Read the full case study.

IoT Platform Sensors: 5 Characteristics To Explore

Sensors and IoT Platforms

Much has been written about the promise of predictive analytics and how IoT data can improve operational efficiency, reduce downtime, and save money for the enterprise. In contrast, little is written about the sensors gathering the data that is fed into the predictive analytics engine. Panduit’s white paper, “E.S.P. for IoT Platforms,” discusses the characteristics to consider when deploying measurement sensors and how to determine the importance of specifications depending on sensor type and deployment location.

Sensor Types

There are three types of sensors: indicators, counters, and measurement.

  1. Indicators are relatively straight forward – they are either on or off. They show when something has occurred, for example, when someone has opened and accessed a panel.
  2. Counters can keep a running tally of a series of events. An example is a tachometer that counts the number of revolutions of a shaft or axle. Both indicators and counters are examples of digital sensors. They monitor and report discrete events. Relatively speaking, they are simple sensors.
  3. Measurement sensors are more sophisticated. They report on the amount of a physical entity, such as weight, or on an environmental attribute, such as temperature. Rather than reporting discrete events, they report where one is on a continuous scale.

Sensor Characteristics

When choosing sensors for your IoT platform, there are five characteristics you should consider.

  1. Accuracy
    Accuracy is the ability of a sensor to provide a true measurement of whatever the sensor is monitoring. There is an uncertainty with the measurement, usually represented as a percentage of full scale.
  2. Repeatability
    Repeatability is the ability of a sensor to provide a constant output when there is a constant input, when acquiring a new sample.
  3. Linearity
    Linearity is a measure of how well the sensor’s response curve approaches a straight line.
  4. Sensitivity
    A sensor’s sensitivity is the amount the input to the sensor must change to detect any change in the output.
  5. Environmental Impact
    Changes in the environment can impact the performance and accuracy of a sensor. For example, some sensors are particularly sensitive to temperature and humidity.

When selecting a sensor, you should also determine which attributes are important to your application. In a benign environment, the environmental impact on the sensor’s performance may not be that important, whereas it may be a consideration if the application is outdoors.

The tradeoff you need to make when selecting a measurement sensor is the level of specificity you require for that attribute versus cost. For example, a temperature sensor monitoring a pizza oven does not need to be as accurate as one monitoring a pharmaceutical process. A temperature sensor with an accuracy of ±0.01°C will be more expensive than one with an accuracy of ±1°C.

To learn more about why sensors are important for your IoT platform, download Panduit’s
E.S.P. for IoT Platforms” white paper – or subscribe to our blog to access all the papers in our IoT “101” white paper series.

One-Step Automation to Supersede Multiple Manual Tests

Machine-driven outages at the factory are an expensive spanner in the works, so planned maintenance shutdown is critical in limiting machine glitches and production downtime. But in practice, equipment servicing isn’t always as frequently or regularly scheduled as desired. Why? Because planned servicing can be very resource taxing to the business.

Turnaround maintenance is highly orchestrated endeavor, as different internal teams, third-party technicians and contractors work concurrently on multiple machines for diverse servicing. An incident at any point in the operation can significantly impact turnaround cost, speed and safety.

Factory owners and operators will be pleased to know that machine maintenance just got easier. Panduit’s new VeriSafe absence of voltage tester (AVT) is bringing NFPA 70E-compliant automated testing and verification of energy discharge for lockout safety – to supersede the lengthy and complex manual tests – in as little as 10 seconds, and at no risk to the user.

5 Reasons Why VeriSafe Automatically Supersedes the Manual Process

1. Standardized and consistent testing
Manual testing is conducted on handheld tools, such as non-contact voltage tester for the first test, a digital, non-solenoid, electrical tester for the second test and a multi-meter with a low-impedance for live-dead-live test, and results can vary depending which tool the electrician chooses, his familiarity with its use, whether the tool is correctly used, and what is its state of maintenance and calibration as the time of use.

VeriSafe however, is permanently mounted on the electrical enclosure of the machine and will consistently run the standardized test sequence when activated – which automatically verifies the phase conductor or circuit part for both phase-to-phase and phase-to-ground, as well as check for both AC and DC voltage as a standard.

2. No exposure to electrical hazards
On the handheld process, the electrician can only know if energy discharge is successful after opening the electrical enclosure and going through the respective tests in exacting steps. But that means putting himself at risk of an arc flash upon opening of the enclosure, if the level of voltage present is still sufficiently high.

VeriSafe has provisions to ensure direct contact with the circuit at time of testing, while preventing hazardous voltage from reaching the mounted surface by way of an isolation module. Because the push button sits at the outside of the enclosure, the user will not be exposed to electrical hazards when activating the process.

3. Easy testing in difficult-to-access locations
It is cumbersome and time-consuming for electricians to test for absence of voltage in hard-to-reach enclosures, or in crowded or complex layouts that make using handhelds difficult. VeriSafe’s flexibility for different mounting and testing/detection applications makes it much easier to work in the tightest of spaces – which is also a significant advantage in shop floor design, as having more compliant options for placing capital assets means facility layout can be made more efficient.

4. Streamlined and simplified testing
The manual verification process is complicated, including different steps and checks within the general process to:

1. Select the tester
2. Test the tester
3. Check for voltage
4. Retest the tester
5. Perform work

VeriSafe begins with a simple activation and ends with the green light to open the panel, as the middle steps are completely automated based on the recommendations of NFPA 70E.

5. Error-less process
The problem with manual testing is the potential for errors that ranges the gamut, from human oversights and mistakes, to instrumentation fault, to possible missteps or omissions in the testing sequence, and more. Such is the over reliance on the electrician’s experience and skill to complete the job, which cannot be a comforting thought for the said worker, the maintenance staff, or the company.

VeriSafe’s automated process and single step activation are standardized to avoid missteps in execution and sequence. It is further constructed to resist factors that could affect its accuracy and functionality – such as mechanical or electrical failures from wear, mechanical shock and environmental extremes.

Standards Update: 28 AWG, MPTL Now Compliant!

When Panduit introduced 28 AWG patch cords to the market in 2011, we knew we were on to something big. When we showed customers and contractors the skinny patch cords, they were amazed by the sheer size and flexibility of the cords. At the time, they might not have fully realized the impact the cords could have in overcrowded telco rooms, but nonetheless, they were impressed.

28 AWG Patch CordsHowever, while the cords met all the performance requirements of the copper cabling standards (with reduced channel lengths), they didn’t meet the wire gauge requirements of the standard, which required 22-26 AWG wires. Hence the 28 AWG patch cords were not fully standards compliant. Because of the huge size advantages and minimum channel length reductions, most Panduit customers adopted the 28 AWG cords. However, even after 7 years on the market, some customers remain hesitant or flat out refuse to try them, as they want a solution that is fully standards-compliant.

Compliance Achieved!

Today, Panduit is excited to be able to say that 28 AWG patch cords are FULLY COMPLIANT with copper cabling standards. ANSI/TIA-568.2-D, the Balanced Twisted-Pair Telecommunications Cabling and Components Standard, has been revised to include 28 AWG patch cords. The revised standard is expected to be published this month.

The revision was developed by the TIA TR-42.7 Copper Cabling Systems Subcommittee, which I’m a member of. The effort to get 28 AWG included wasn’t a small feat. In fact, this represents the culmination of two years of work by a broad spectrum of companies and individuals. During our discussions, it was apparent the committee members see the value the small cords bring. As more and more building systems are networked, space in TRs is at a premium. Everyone is looking for ways they can squeeze more into their space and 28 AWG is an easy, inexpensive way to help make that happen.

At Panduit, we’ve been beating this drum for a while now. We’ve seen firsthand the impact 28 AWG cords have made in TRs. We’ve heard from customers how they have been able to add devices but keep the same pathways because of the reduced size. We have contractors telling us how the smaller size and flexibility have simplified moves, adds, and changes. And, we’ve seen other manufacturers jump on the bandwagon. In short, the industry has embraced 28 AWG patch cords.

Modular Plug Terminated Links Added to Standard Also

Along with the addition of 28 AWG patch cords, the revised standard also recognizes modular plug terminated links (MPTLs). MPTLs are essentially permanent links that have field terminated plugs on one end, instead of a typical jack-to-jack permanent link. Although installers have used this method for years, a new breed of MPTL plugs have entered the market, including Panduit’s new Field Terminated Plug. These plugs are designed specifically for connecting the growing number of networked devices that are going into buildings. The standard revision allows for field testing of MPTLs – something that hasn’t been possible previously. With field testing using a recognized and reputable tester, the installer can be assured that the channel that includes the MPTL meets applicable Category 5e, 6 or 6A performance requirements to support data rates of 1G and higher.

MPTLs are a key component in today’s digital building, allowing quick and easy connections for cameras, access points, lights and more. As additional systems are added to the network, MPTL use will continue to grow. The addition of this new connector to the standard solidifies the continued use of MPTLs going forward.

If standards compliance is an issue for your organization, now’s your chance to try these connectivity solutions in your buildings and see the big difference yourself. Reach out to your distributor or your Panduit account manager to see these in person if you haven’t already.

Safer Absence of Voltage Testing Begins with Simplicity

VeriSafe – Absence of Voltage Tester

There’s an interesting new exception in the 2018 edition of the tri-yearly NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace for the use of an Absence of Voltage Tester (AVT) in place of handheld instruments.

In Asia Pacific, NFPA is the commonly referenced standard for mitigating electrical hazards in lock-out/tag-out (LOTO) practices. This exception opens plants and factories in the region to new opportunities in improving safety programs and planned maintenance efficiency.

Here’s why.

In factory machine servicing, the LOTO guidelines protect maintenance staff from electrical hazards, by mandating that an electrical professional first verify the absence of voltage, before maintenance, service or inspection work can begin. However, the guidelines don’t articulate the removal of the hazard, only in transferring the risk from the maintenance staff to the electrician.

This is not an ideal workaround, as no one knows if the energy discharge has been successful without first opening the electrical enclosure for tests. As such, the risk of the electrician getting a painful electrical shock or even dangerous arc flash, remains.

The beauty of an AVT then, is in how it overcomes the dilemma.

INTRODUCING AVT FOR SIMPLICITY
Panduit has recently released the first full-featured AVT product to general availability, and it is game-changing in its innovative approach to an old problem.

Called VeriSafe, the SIL rated, NFPA 70E-2018 120.5 (7) Exception 1 compliant AVT is permanently installed on the electrical enclosure of the equipment that it is testing for. Sitting on the panel door between the circuit and the outside of the enclosure, the self-contained unit consists of a testing and isolation component on the inside of the door, and a push button that faces externally.

The user pushes the button to activate the device, which runs an automated sequence of in-built pre-/post-verification tests, such as phase-to-phase and phase-to-ground testing for AC and DC voltage – to arrive at an active indication in as quickly as ten seconds!

What’s more, VeriSafe ships with a connectivity option as a standard. This allows smart facilities that run software management systems to draw essential logs and alerts from a connected VeriSafe device in real-time.

THE VERISAFE IMPACT
To plants and factories, safety pays. Electrical injuries can account for one of the highest average workers’ compensation costs, second only to motor vehicle accidents. Although estimates vary, studies indicate the average direct cost of an electrical injury ranges US$50,000 to $80,000, while indirect cost can exceed these numbers by a factor of nearly four, to include:

• Wages paid during work stoppage
• Administrative costs related to injury
• Property damage and repair
• Training and compensation for replacement workers
• Lost productivity with less experienced workers
• Lost productivity from low staff morale
• Fines related to workplace safety violations
• Potential increase in absenteeism

Because VeriSafe diffuses electrical risks right at the start, every potential incident avoided can translate to massive savings from side stepping a string of personal injury, and property and equipment damage costs.

VeriSafe also makes the absence of voltage testing more accurate and far less risky than the manual process – as its standardized, compliant and automated approach leaves little room for error on an effectively reduced workflow. With VeriSafe AVT installed in all high-risk machinery, large-scale facility lifecycle management activities can experience a cumulation of cost and time savings, to significantly benefit high-pressure events, such as a maintenance turnaround.

For more information, please visit www.panduit.com/verisafe