Thursday 3 December 2009

Ethernet Switch

P&F adds Amphenol switch to range

To meet the requirements concerning industrial applications placed in explosive atmospheres, Pepperl+Fuchs has adopted the hardened Ethernet Switch developed by Amphenol, which complies with the ATEX Zone 2 regulations.

Certain industrial applications involve monitoring and control of industrial processes, together with data acquisition, in harsh environments, and sometimes even in working areas where explosive atmospheres can be present. For applications of this type, the consequences of the tiniest spark can be catastrophic. Hence the necessity of using specific equipment that is compatible with the dangerousness of the working zone in question.

These explosive atmosphere zones are covered by drastic regulations stemming from a European directive, the ATEX (Explosive Atmosphere) regulations, which define three main zones. Thus electronic equipment with ATEX Zone 2 classification is compatible with working atmospheres that are temporarily and/or slightly explosive, while equipment marked ATEX Zone 1 can be used in zones that frequently contain explosive atmospheres. ATEX Zone 0 equipment, for its part, is the only type that can be used in constantly explosive atmospheres.

To transmit signals outside dangerous zones to completely safe data processing areas, Amphenol has developed a hardened 5-port Ethernet Switch, the RJ Switch. Pepperl+Fuchs wanted to occupy that niche market, so it was seeking to enrich its offer with a high-quality product. Quite logically, it selected the Amphenol RJ Switch, which it now sells under the terms of an agreement signed with the American manufacturer.

"Over and above the RJ Switch's ATEX Zone 2 classification, it also benefits from very careful manufacturing processes, and in particular it has unique technical characteristics that make it an unrivalled product on the market, from our point of view", said Andreas Grimsehl, the product marketing manager at Pepperl+Fuchs.

With its 5 ports, the RJ Switch has a range of 200 metres for Ethernet links and can distribute signals to other components in an Ethernet system.

The 5 RJ Switch ports are further strengthened by the RJFieldTM technology (an Amphenol patent). Furthermore, a mechanical spring enhances its locking safety. Disconnection of a port involves a further operation for the operator. Even though that operation is simple and does not require any specific tools, it still limits the risks of untimely disconnection under load.

What is more, it adapts to the maximum outputs of the equipment served, i.e. 10 or 100 Mbits/s. The switch´s intelligence is also to be seen in its Crossover function that automatically identifies the type of cables connected. Lastly, the RJ Switch is compatible with an IP68 sealing level and it can function at normal temperatures of between -40°C and +75°C, which enables its use in a very wide range of applications in harsh environments.

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