New Lab Delivers Best Practices for AV Deployment

World Laboratory Day is observed on April 23 each year and the timing couldn’t be better to announce the opening of Panduit’s new Audio-Visual Lab. Panduit has a long history of providing superior category cabling solutions for enterprise applications. We are able to offer our customers the best infrastructure solutions for their networks, thanks to the breadth of our expertise. Customers can rely on Panduit as a trusted advisor covering all aspects from installation, testing, industry standards, network topologies, along with the performance and capabilities of the infrastructure deployed.

With the acquisition of Atlona a few months ago, Panduit can now be that trusted advisor for emerging audio visual (AV) applications that make their way onto ethernet networks. Combining Panduit’s existing expertise with Atlona’s AV expertise, we can now give our customers a unique end-to-end perspective covering all aspects of an AV solution. To realize the benefits of our combined expertise, we have built a new research lab at the Jack E. Caveney Innovation Center. The lab was developed with three key objectives:

  1. Leverage our expertise of infrastructure and networking in AV over IP applications using Atlona’s industry-leading OmniStream solution
  2. Create an environment to understand the best practices for configuration and deployment of Atlona hardware on ethernet networks
  3. Enable competitive testing of AV infrastructure as well as alternate networked AV solutions

From these objectives, we defined key areas of focus for various AV technologies and set about to develop a site with all the necessary equipment, infrastructure, and hardware needed for a world-class lab. 

For AV over IP applications, we will have the ability to explore aspects such as network topology, infrastructure, congestion, and redundancy. The lab will consist of a highly configurable network topology to emulate real world local area network (LAN), core campus, and wide area network (WAN) configurations. A diverse array of cabling infrastructure is being installed to allow networks to be connected with either Category 5e, 6, or 6A in unshielded or shielded applications. Each cabling option will also be available in worst case configurations covering maximum and minimum four connector channel lengths per Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) guidelines. We will have the ability to evaluate the impact of network congestion on AV traffic when it is converging with other ethernet traffic such as email, voice, and web. For redundant network applications, we will be able to study the impact of various network failure modes on AV traffic. From this type of experimentation, we will be able to provide our customers with a detailed understanding of an AV network’s capabilities, along with recommendations and best practices for equipment configuration and infrastructure deployment.

Along with studying the various use cases of AV over IP and deployment options, the lab will have the ability to test other emerging Enterprise applications in the future. For this reason, the lab is known as EARL, or Enterprise Application Research Lab.

With the knowledge and insight gained from EARL, we can provide the best customer experience and guidance based on a cohesive Enterprise solution.

Earth Day 2019: Your Infrastructure can Help your Building Reduce its Environmental Impact

On Earth Day, environmental sustainability becomes a hot topic. But, the environmental impact of a building is around every day, and there are things you can do to lessen that environmental impact 24/7/365.

At Panduit, we do more than just talk about sustainability. Our world headquarters, which will celebrate its tenth birthday next year, is a LEED Gold Certified building and is just one example of our commitment to healthy, energy efficient, and sustainable business environments.

We can help you achieve that LEED certification as well. Panduit copper cable and jacks hold Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and Health Product Declarations (HPDs), which contribute points towards your building’s LEED certification.

A couple of years ago the US Green Building Council adopted LEED version 4, which allows cabling systems to be counted toward LEED points. In response, Panduit was the first manufacturer to offer both EPDs and HPDs on copper cabling and connectors.

If you’re thinking about LEED certification, here’s what you need to know to make sure your cabling infrastructure can help:

EPD and HPD defined

  • EPD = Environmental Product Declaration
  • HPD = Health Product Declaration

EPDs and HPDs are both issued by a third party after they verify reports supplied by the manufacturer. EPDs disclose potential environmental impacts of a product, while HPDs disclose what a product contains and how it impacts human and ecological health.

What products carry EPDs and HPDs

A wide variety of materials used in the construction of buildings carry these declarations. Panduit has EPDs and HPDs on 18 types of RJ45 jacks and 22 different copper cables. This offering includes:

  • Unshielded and shielded applications
  • Category 5e, Category 6, and Category 6A
  • Riser and plenum flame ratings

How EPDs and HPDs equal LEED points

LEED requires the installation of at least 20 different products that have third-party certification to qualify for one LEED point. These products must be from at least five different manufacturers. So, when you install at least four different certified products from Panduit, that counts as one portion of one point for EPD and one portion of a second point for HPD. Different levels of LEED certification require different numbers of points to qualify. Our alliance partner, General Cable, also offers EPDs and HPDs on their cabling solutions, so if you use a PanGen solution, it equals a second manufacturer toward the requirement to have five different manufacturers.

Not all cabling and connectors are equal

Panduit is one of a handful of cabling manufacturers that have EPDs and HPDs on copper cabling and RJ45 jacks. So, if you’re looking for an end-to-end solution that can help you earn LEED certification, Panduit is a great choice!

We’d be happy to share more information on our EPDs and HPDs. You can find links to our EPD and HPD documents bundled with each product. For instance, here are the EPD and HPD for our Category 6A, unshielded Mini-Com® jacks. You’ll find similar documentation for other products in our online catalog at www.panduit.com. Or, reach out to your sales rep or customer service for more information.

We like to help companies do their part to help sustain the environment, and not just on Earth Day!

Selecting the Right Cable Cleat has Never Been So Easy

Panduit launches new Cleat kAlculator App that helps design engineers select the correct cable cleat in three simple steps

Selecting the right cable cleat can be a time-consuming process since the key parameters in selecting a cable cleat are cable diameter and short circuit current rating is a complex mathematical equation. The turnaround time to provide a cable cleat recommendation based on these inputs can be lengthy often involving consultation with the cleat manufacturer.

Panduit is proud to introduce the Cleat kAlculator™ App developed for ease of computing and determining what cable cleat is correct for power distribution applications in Oil & Gas, Data Center, Rail Infrastructure,  Alternative Energy and anywhere power is distributed via tray cable.

Balaji Kandasamy, Director of Engineering at Panduit saw the need for this app in August 2018 and spent 20-30 hours per week to figure out the numerous calculations and algorithms to incorporate into an app available for iPhone and Android devices. “There was a problem that needed to be solved for engineers and this is where I came up with the idea to produce an app”.

The app has been built and coded to review thousands of cleat calculations that are available and ultimately recommends Cable Cleat Part Number and Cable Cleat Installation Spacing based on cable diameter and peak short circuit diameter.

The recommended solutions provide:

  1. Multiple Cleat Options
  2. Cleat installation spacing for IEC 61914:2015 Compliance
  3. Level 1 and Level 2 fault installation recommendations

After numerous hours of coding and building out the app, this revolutionary tool will aid engineers in specifing cleats for their projects. This won’t be the last thing you see from Kandasamy, “I have curiosity and love to learn about new things. This is what led to me to develop this app”. By the end of 2019, Panduit will introduce a desktop version to compliment the app.


To download the Cleat kAlculator app, visit: www.panduit.com/cablecleat,  Apple App Store, or Google Play

Troubleshooting Safely: Using PtD Methods to Provide Safe Access to Energized Equipment

Control of Hazardous Energy – Lockout/Tagout has once again appeared on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Top 10 Most Cited Violations in 2018. Although this category covers a wide range of violations, it confirms that personnel continue to pursue access into electrical enclosures without being fully aware of the danger involved. Before performing electrical work, OSHA and the NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace both direct workers to de-energize circuit parts to which an employee may be exposed, but why would a worker attempt to access an electrical enclosure without first ensuring that the enclosure is de-energized?

In an increasingly connected and intelligent plant floor, the need to maintain, monitor, or troubleshoot Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), motors or Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) in an electrical enclosure is exponentially increasing. As more and more of this technology is designed in to equipment today, the personnel required to service this technology expands beyond the standard qualified electrician role and into roles inhabited by machine operators, IT personnel, and others. But whether it’s a qualified or unqualified electrical worker, opening an energized electrical enclosure poses the same serious safety risks.

Even though there is inherent risk in opening an energized electrical enclosure, performing service work without power in the equipment is prohibitive to diagnosing or monitoring the equipment. This poses the question: how does a worker safely operate in a potential electrically unsafe work environment and still perform the duties they are assigned? This conundrum has challenged equipment designers to standardize on a solution that allows for personnel who are not electrically qualified to access networks or systems within an electrical enclosure without risk of exposure to hazardous electrical conditions.


APPLYING PtD AND THE HIERARCHY OF CONTROLS TO THE ISSUE

In order to combat this challenge, more and more designers have employed a methodology called Prevention through Design (PtD) when developing products. According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH): “Prevention through Design encompasses all of the efforts to anticipate and design out hazards to workers in facilities, work methods and operations, processes, equipment, tools, products, new technologies, and the organization of work. The focus of PtD is on workers who execute the designs or have to work with the products of the design . The initiative has been developed to support designing out hazards, the most reliable and effective type of prevention.”

Hiearchy of Controls infographic
Hierarchy of Controls infographic by NIOSH. The most effective control methods are located at the top with the least effective at the bottom.

It is interesting to note that NIOSH states that “designing out hazards” is the most reliable and effective type of prevention. This is a core concept that is also shared in the hierarchy of controls system. As represented in the graphic, Elimination (physically remove the hazard) appears at the top of the pyramid and corresponds with being the most effective method of hazard prevention. Substitution (replace the hazard), Engineering Controls (isolate people from the hazard), Administrative Controls (change the way people work), and PPE (protect the worker with Personal Protective Equipment) follow Elimination in a descending order from most effective to least effective, respectively.

Returning to our challenge to standardize on a solution that allows for personnel to access networks within an electrical enclosure without risk of exposure to hazardous electrical conditions, we can apply the Prevention through Design methodology by employing the hierarchy of controls. Since Elimination is the most effective method to design out hazards, the solution to our challenge would be to completely remove any energy within the electrical enclosure. Unfortunately, in this case, removing all energy from the enclosure is prohibitive to diagnosing or monitoring the equipment within, so Elimination is not a practical or reasonable solution to our challenge.

Working down the hierarchy of controls pyramid, our next option is Substitution, the second most effective hazard control. Substitution involves replacing something that produces a hazard with something that does not produce a hazard. For our challenge, Substitution would seem to suggest that we either replace the energized enclosure with a de-energized enclosure, develop a PLC or VFD that somehow doesn’t require energy to operate, or create a separate panel for the PLC without any hazardous voltage. Again, it is impractical to entertain any of these substitutions as viable solutions to our challenge.

This leads us to the next option: Engineering Controls, the third most effective means of controlling hazards. Engineering Controls do not eliminate hazards, bur rather isolates people from those hazards. Isolation involves creating a physical barrier between personnel and hazards and this option seems to have potential. If there were a way to access the PLCs and VFDs in our electrical enclosure without having to open the door to the enclosure and expose the worker to significant risk, we could achieve the most effective hazard control that is practical to our challenge.

A FRESH APPROACH TO A MODERN NEED

Panduit Data Access Port

Isolating personnel from the risk of opening an energized electrical enclosure to access the intelligence inside has led to the development of the Panduit Data Access Port (DAP). The Panduit DAP is mounted on the outside of an electrical enclosure and provides programming ports as well as electrical outlet access without the need to open the enclosure. This allows personnel safe access to PLCs, VFDs, and other internal components without the risk of exposure to electrical hazards. With the Panduit DAP, a practical and successful solution with the most effective hazard control possible for the application has been attained.

While connected and intelligent plant floors continue to develop at the speed of light, there are additional aspects of new technology that often go overlooked. As OSHA’s Top 10 Most Cited Violations has indicated, electrical safety can be an afterthought, but planning for safety should be an important first step when developing new processes or products. The Panduit Data Access Port is designed from the beginning to provide the most effective safety control while still allowing personnel to complete their tasks. Even as intelligent plant floors develop faster than we realize, creating a culture of safety should always move equally as fast.

For more information on Prevention through Design methodology, read our whitepaper.

For more information on Panduit Data Access Ports, visit www.panduit.com

Panduit Solutions Can Help Prepare Your Network Infrastructure for IIoT Technology

How Can Your Network’s Performance Impact Deploying IIoT Technology?

Use Panduit’s Insights to Build a Robust Network Foundation for Your IIoT Deployment

How can you prepare your network infrastructure to successfully accommodate IIoT technology? Get answers to potential IIoT technology deployment issues that may impact your network infrastructure.

For example, here are some questions you may ask when deploying IIoT technology:

What is the impact of real-time data?

Most networks were not designed to react to and process data in real-time. From self-driving cars to digital control systems on factory floors, real-time data is a big part of IIoT deployments. Not being able to act on data in real-time can result in catastrophic results.

How does edge computing affect network performance?

Edge computing allows the compute, storage, and application resources to be located close to the user or the source of the data. With cloud deployment, these resources are in a distant data center owned by the cloud provider. Deploying IIoT solutions using the cloud makes it difficult to manage latency. Today, IIoT deployments can benefit more from edge computing than cloud computing.

How important is the data gathered from sensors?

IIoT data from predictive analytics provided by sensors can improve operational efficiency, reduce downtime, and save money for your business. The many types and characteristics of sensors are important to consider when deploying IIoT technology.

How important is bandwidth for helping IIoT technology extract information from data?

Bandwidth is everywhere. It is this ubiquity of bandwidth that allows devices to seamlessly switch between networks. As a result, connected devices no longer require endless cables and wires. Bandwidth allows us to communicate quickly and effectively, which makes IIoT possible.

What is the impact of packet loss?

IT network managers dislike packet loss because it steals valuable bandwidth, reducing the link’s available throughput. For OT network managers trying to deploy IIoT, a network’s latency is more important than bandwidth or throughput. Despite their differences, the minimization of corrupted packets requires both IT and OT to work together as they transform their network to leverage IIoT technology.

Panduit has developed a series of white papers describing the challenges surrounding the IIoT’s impact on the typical data center, why IT and OT managers may look at the same problems differently, how they can successfully resolve those problems, and the importance of IT/OT convergence to your network’s performance. In addition, you will learn the following:

  • The importance of IT and OT network infrastructures
  • Why IIoT process controls demand real-time data
  • The relationship between IIoT technology and bandwidth
  • The ways IIoT deployments can benefit from edge computing
  • How to determine the importance of sensor specifications

Access all the papers in our IIoT white paper series.

Panduit named Wired Networking Category Leader by Automation World Magazine

Panduit, built on a foundation of innovation with a commitment to deliver excellence in product design and customer satisfaction, was recently recognized by PMMI Media Group’s Automation World Magazine’s 8th Annual Leadership in Automation Awards First Team Honoree list in the Wired Networking category. To view the official press release, click here.

Automation World, the leading business magazine serving automation professionals, launched this community-based program in 2011. The program reflects the growing range of automation technologies and industry’s recognition of the outstanding suppliers in the field. The list, based on end-user feedback, promotes excellence within the automation community.

Automation World, the leading business magazine serving automation professionals, launched this community-based program in 2011. The program reflects the growing range of automation technologies and industry’s recognition of the outstanding suppliers in the field. The list, based on end-user feedback, promotes excellence within the automation community.

Automation professionals were invited to vote for their favorite automation vendors in an open-ended survey. Over two dozen categories are featured, representing the wide variety of automation technologies, software and products in use by today’s manufacturing professionals across the discrete, batch and continuous process manufacturing industries.

“We’re pleased to recognize the First Team Honorees who offer both excellent customer service and best-in-class product innovation,” said Kurt Belisle, Publisher of Automation World. We appreciate the end-users who took the time to vote for their favorite solution providers. Congratulations to the honorees!”

Leadership in Automation First Team Honorees are recognized in Automation World’s January 2019 issue, available here.

Cabling Infrastructure: New Year, New Goals

Poor cable structuring can lead to several problems including a short lifespan of your cables and a large expense in your budget.

Properly installing your cable management system from the beginning will ensure that you get it right the first time and spare yourself the headache later.

With the introduction of the PatchRunner™2 Enhanced Vertical Cable Manager with Vertical Patching, your cables will live up to their expectation in an organized fashion, saving space and allowing additional cables to be utilized.

The picture to the left shows what poor cable management practice looks like. Scary, right?

The last thing that you want to do is stress over major downtime and an efficiency reduction.

With the start of a new year, your physical infrastructure deserves a refresh to ensure that you are set up for success. We bet you’re wondering where to begin, here’s your answer.

Panduit has the PatchRunner™2 Vertical Cable Manager family, providing the cable management foundation you need to drive efficiency to your infrastructure.

The new PatchRunner™2 Enhanced Vertical Cable Manager with Vertical Patching will erase your stress and launch you into the new year on the right foot.

PE2V features include:

  • High density manager
  • Significant additional cable capacity
  • 0 RU patching design
  • Color options – black or white
  • Ships partially assembled for configuration versatility

Panduit® PatchRunner™2 Enhanced Vertical Cable Manager with Vertical Patching provides a comprehensive architecture that helps regulate access to network equipment, efficiently organizing cables to ensure continuous coherent performance.

Learn more about the recent launch of the PatchRunner™2 Enhanced Vertical Cable Manager with Vertical Patching.

Panduit Innovation Recognized with 2019 ANSYS Hall of Fame Award

Panduit is built on a foundation of innovation, and our unwavering commitment to excellence in product design and performance was recently recognized with a Best in Show, Commercial category, in the 10th annual ANSYS 2019 Hall of Fame competition.

ANSYS, a global leader in engineering simulation software, conducts the Hall of Fame competition to highlight how engineers are solving key challenges with ANSYS Pervasive Engineering Simulation solutions across numerous industries. Panduit was one of three companies recognized in the Commercial category.

Panduit’s winning entry showcased how Panduit engineers optimized the design of high voltage cable cleat products to prevent the substantial damage that can occur before circuit breakers react to a short. The entry also highlighted how Panduit achieved significant cost and time savings for its latest line of cable cleat products.

View the video to learn more about our simulation testing model for innovative Panduit cable cleats.

Advanced R&D Solutions for Product Design

Cable cleats are needed to restrain high voltage cables during short circuit events. Current levels in these events can range upwards of 200,000 Amps. In the worst case of a 3-phase short, magnetic field induced repulsive forces between the cables can range upwards of 10,000 pounds and develop within 1/100th of a second. Substantial damage can occur before circuit breakers can react to the short. Cable restraint is critical to protecting personnel and infrastructure as well as reducing downtime.

Using state-of-the-art simulation software, Panduit’s engineers modeled this highly dynamic, multi-body contact, 3-phase alternating current short circuit test event that occurs over a period of 1/10th second (ref: IEC 61914:2015), can develop component velocities of more than 2000 inches/second, and exhibit high material deformation and catastrophic failure. Significant simulation development milestones included:

  1. Adjusting the stiffness, yield strength, and mass of solid copper conductors to behave like stranded conductors at the prevailing temperatures
  2. Developing high strain-rate material models for each component
  3. Integrating the electro-magnetic solution capability into the simulation
  4. Development of a 30-variable mathematical model to exactly match the short circuit test current pattern and using a genetic algorithm to find the variable coefficients
  5. Developing element erosion criteria to enable simulation of physical failure
  6. Successful verification in early testing

The new cable cleat product lines were originally certified in testing very near the peak short circuit current levels predicted by the simulation. The understanding of the variables involved in the 3-phase short circuit event and repeated simulations to verify design changes and predict peak current certification levels in testing resulted in a substantial reduction in the prototype-and-test cycle.

To find out more about Panduit’s legacy of innovation and our future-forward network and industrial electrical infrastructure technologies, visit our research and development section on panduit.com.

Atlona Acquisition Announcement and Must-see Products made Panduit the Team to Talk to at BICSI 2019

Atlona becomes a Panduit Company in a joint meeting at the Atlona Headquarters in San Jose, California. Pictured are (Left to Right): Marc Naese, Panduit SVP Network Infrastructure Business; Dennis Renaud, Panduit CEO; Ilya Khayn, Atlona CEO and Co-founder; Michael Khain, Atlona VP Product Development/Engineering and Co-founder

Show Summary: BICSI Winter Conference and Exhibition

BICSI Winter took place this week in Orlando, Florida, and for three days, industry leaders came together to talk trends, showcase solutions, and network with some of the brightest minds in the business.

We heard loud and clear that smart building technologies over Ethernet – systems such as security cameras, lighting and AV – are a top-of-mind topic for nearly everyone, and Panduit has the products, the know-how, and the relationships to help our customers take full advantage of the opportunities they present. We’re proud of our leadership position that is a result of our commitment to innovation, our passion for problem solving, and the strategic investments we make in our future.

One recent investment is our acquisition of Atlona, a leading global provider of AV signal distribution and connectivity solutions, which we announced this week at the show. More and more organizations are interested in AV over IP, which makes Panduit and Atlona a natural fit. Combining our best-in-class products and deep IT expertise with Atlona’s innovative solutions gives us the ability to help organizations worldwide to deploy AV systems inside the network.

Dennis Renaud, our president and CEO, said it best. “Atlona has been at the forefront in developing cutting-edge AV technology that embraces the full potential of the convergence of AV and network infrastructure. Their industry-leading solutions complement Panduit’s extensive physical infrastructure portfolio, which will allow us to offer customers a quality end-to-end solution as they move to increasingly complex network infrastructure systems.” 

And BICSI was the perfect opportunity to show our customers Atlona products alongside related Panduit products, such as our industry-leading Category 6A cabling and connectivity, which creates a robust physical layer that supports increased resolutions, reduces dropped pixels, and reduces latency in AV applications.

Read more about Panduit’s acquisition of Atlona, and the benefits it provides to end-users and our partners.

Having Cable Cleats Now Helps Prevent Re-Work Later

Cable cleats are like home or automobile insurance – you hope you never need to rely on them. And like insurance, cable cleats are an investment worth having. Too often the decision makers involved with industrial infrastructure projects choose to weigh this risk incorrectly, focusing on their bottom line instead of the costly rework a short circuit event without cable cleats can cause.

Future-proofing is a popular subject in the EPC community, but usually the use of cable cleats is not associated with being an effective way to future proof projects in harsh industrial environments. When contractors follow cable manufacturers recommendations and utilize cable cleats accordingly, an opportunity exists to avoid costly disasters that set projects back for years. Instead of taking a risk that can result in costly re-work – the replacement of cables, additional labor time, the cost of operational downtime – EPCs can leverage cable cleats as an effort to prevent these devastating incidents from occurring.

Short circuit events are particularly prevalent in the harsh environments that cable cleats are built and designed for. While it’s become a popular exercise for projects to attach cables to an aluminum rung and aluminum cable tray, what can be overlooked is that these cables are typically copper with steel padding, meaning that once they are affixed and the temperatures change, warping occurs, and short circuit events ensue. This results in an initial explosion, an ensuing catastrophic explosion, and cables being forced from their tray and into unpredictable directions to cause damage to materials, personnel, and anything else in between. This can put any project behind schedule for years, not to mention inflate its cost and leave behind a shaken workforce. Time doesn’t discriminate against this happening in any stage of a project’s lifecycle, but Panduit has built solutions that can accommodate this expected and typical thermal expansion.

Panduit cable cleat products for short circuit protection are designed to perform in a wide range of harsh environments, including industries like Oil and Gas, Power Generation, Mining, and Shipbuilding. Not to mention, they adhere to IEC 61914, the international standard that will soon harmonize with the go-to U.S. NEC standards. Panduit recommends the use of its cable cleat offerings – stainless steel locking tie cleats, stainless steel strap cleats, and clamp-style cable cleats – for many reasons, but one way they benefit EPCs is through their ability to allow for future proofing by preventing short circuit events from ever occurring and costly rework ever being needed.
For example, to prevent damage to cables and mounting brackets to secure the tie to various styles of ladder rack, stainless steel locking tie cleats should be leveraged. Suited for lower to medium peak short circuit current requirements, these cleats have a reduced installation time because they are installed using a manual or battery-operated installation tool.

Also featuring a polyurethane cushion sleeve to prevent damage to cable and mounting brackets to secure the strap to various styles of ladder rack are stainless steel strap cleats. A manually-operated installation tool makes their installation quick and they are suited for a broad range of peak short circuit current requirements, including some of the higher peak kA requirements.

A widely used cleat solution, clamp-style cable cleats are also suited for a broad range of peak short circuit current requirements and are the most durable for high peak kA requirements.

Cable cleats aren’t currently top of mind when it comes to developing industrial infrastructure projects, but they certainly should be. They are a crucial barrier to minimizing disruption and damage to personnel and property, and they allow EPCs peace of mind.