Easier Signal Connections With New Banner Junction Blocks
Merging shared signals has been the job of terminal strips and junction boxes since the early days of electrical systems. Banner Engineering’s new molded junction blocks ease the process for assembling and troubleshooting.
Wire Connections and Junctions
When wiring a simple sensor or coil device, there are likely to be multiple connections made in the field before that signal makes its way back to the controller rack. These connections are often found in harsh condition locations and require skilled technicians to both assemble and troubleshoot with the aid of engineering drawings. These wire connections are done inside enclosed junction boxes.
A junction box is simply an enclosure with one or more terminal strips where wires can be joined together using screwdown or punchdown terminal blocks or sometimes with wire nuts. Typically, we use junction boxes when there are shared signals in close proximity. Power and ground are very common signals that are shared between multiple devices. These boxes can be large and bulky but are necessary when making secure and protected connections. The cost of designing and assembling junction boxes can also become expensive, and troubleshooting junction box connections can be quite time-consuming, even for the most immaculately fabricated boxes. It is for these reasons that junction boxes are avoided when possible and logical.
Junction boxes can be massively complex; who wants to track down wiring problems in this box? Image used courtesy of Canva
Banner Engineering’s Molded Junction Blocks
Similar to plastic or metal junction boxes, Banner’s new molded junction block solution connects multiple signals together. Unlike typical plastic or metal junction boxes, the molded junction blocks are compact and rugged with an IP rating of 65, 67, or 68, depending on the model.
Several models of Banner's new molded junction blocks provide a variety of connection points. Image used courtesy of Banner Engineering
The junction blocks feature parallel wiring with a four-port or eight-port design. The parallel connection design allows for one single input connection and allows for up to eight output connections. All connectors use the industry standard five-pin M12 A-coded connection, which makes for easy field connections that are water and dust-tight. The junction blocks include mounting features that facilitate easy mounting to virtually any surface.
The operating voltage is 30 V DC with a max current of 4 A, and an operating temperature of -40 °C to 70 °C. With the integrated wiring within the molded junction blocks, there is no need for complex engineered drawings or wire-tracing troubleshooting techniques.
Applications of Junction Blocks
Within any factory, there are typically many junction boxes, but a common place where junction boxes are almost always found is with robots. On most robots, there is a limited number of conductors that travel up the arm and can be used for input and output signals. These signals need a power source, ground, and the signal source itself. Typically a junction box is mounted at the shoulder of the robot arm. Sensors and output signals are then wired into this box and share common power and ground signals. These boxes are bulky and prone to having issues like loose connections, they also require a trained electrician to wire the boxes. With the molded junction blocks from Banner, any technician can simply plug in the connections that need to be made. This solution takes up less space and requires little to no troubleshooting or maintenance.
Printed wiring diagrams give a clear view of the internal structure of these junction blocks. Image used courtesy of Banner Engineering
The junction block takes less time to wire and mount versus the standard junction box, saving time and money on the overall installation. This solution is ideally suited for signal connections that are shared along the same bus lines, such as RS-485 or IO-Link devices, in which all conductors are shared, but each device contains a unique ID to differentiate its signal from others. For discrete signals originating from a single I/O point on a controller, this solution may not be the right choice.
Banner Engineering is a global leader in sensor and I/O device manufacturing. Their product catalog includes measurement solutions, lighting and indication, machine safety components, barcode and vision systems, and connectivity technology. This new solution from Banner has the potential to reduce wiring complexity and downtime events in anticipation of a more reliable, efficient future of automation.