Allen-Bradley’s New Motor Control Cabinet Aims to Increase Worker Safety
What are some features of Allen-Bradley's new control cabinet and how is it designed to promote safety in industrial applications?
Control cabinets are found in most industrial facilities and factories. They consist of multiple control panels, electrical panels, and anything that one might need to control the systems within the facility. As automation and smart technology continues to advance, control cabinets have to keep up with these demands.
Allen Bradley recently released a new medium voltage control cabinet designed with voltage control to help streamline the control process.
The Centerline 1500 is a medium voltage control cabinet for starting and stopping large motors. These cabinets are typically used in power plants, oil and gas refineries, and any industry that is utilizing large-scale electric motors.
An electric motor will draw most of its current during start-up. Using a motor starter controller will reduce this current draw by slowly increasing the RPM until the motor reaches a steady-state RPM.
The Centerline 1500. Image used courtesy of Rockwell Automation
This motor starter has options listed as reversing, reduced voltage, solid-state reduced voltage, and load break switches, just to name a few. Recently, Allen Bradley has increased the safety of these motor controllers by adding grounding points to the load side cables.
Grounding gives electricity a place to go if an electrical potential is built up in an uncontrolled area. Electric motors are common sources of electrical potential build-up. Providing a good grounding point is important for a safe motor control solution.
The new safety features of the Centerline 1500 include grounding the load cables and removes the requirement to use utility grounding balls or temporary grounding cables. The system also allows grounding of the output cables without opening the cabinet door, reducing exposure to potential arc flash scenarios.
These new safety features come with the UL stamp of approval, which provides customers with a level of confidence that the system they are purchasing is safe for use in their factory or plant.
The inside of a control cabinet. Image used courtesy Rockwell Automation
In North America, the UL listing means that the product has been tested by an independent company and is deemed safe for use. With electrical components, it crucial that the electrical device being installed is UL listed. While the UL classification is a global safety certification, a large number of electrical components made outside of North America are still not UL listed.
In addition to the Centerline 1500, Rockwell Automation released a medium voltage motor drive, the PowerFlex 6000T. The 6000T is a medium voltage motor drive capable of accepting up to 13.8 kV on the primary side with a footprint under eight by ten feet.
The compact size helps reduce valuable floor space without compromising functionally. Medium motor drives usually require substations or large transformers to step down the voltage to a usable range. The 6000T is designed to accept the high voltage coming from the power lines therefore not requiring expensive voltage transformation equipment.
The PowerFlex 6000T Drive. Image used courtesy of Rockwell Automation
Using a motor controller such as the 6000T can potentially reduce startup current draws and sometimes recuperate power during breaking of the motors.
Other features listed are adaptive control, economizer mode, and reduction of downtime due to the predictive maintenance option.
You can tell by the incoming voltage to this motor controller that it is designed for large-scale motors that would typically be used in the oil and gas refining industry, mining and mineral refining, and power generation industry. Rockwell hopes these new products will help engineers more accurately and efficiently control their systems.