Reliability key to monitoring level control and leak detection relays

Paul Boughton

Coorous Mohtadi outlines the advantages of a range of measuring, monitoring, level control and leak detection relays.

The principal drivers for marketing a majority of electronic products in today's economy revolve around the three key elements of availability, quality and total cost of ownership to the customer. These indicators have a direct impact on the style of manufacturing and distribution networks applying greater emphasis on monitoring key parameters, adopting preventative measures while maintaining costs of manufacturing at reasonable levels.

A fundamental parameter relating to most machines and test equipment is the electrical mains. Monitoring voltages and currents will give the simplest indication of up-time and down-times, production levels and overall utility of the machine in a simple and effective manner.

Moreover, quality of mains (ie voltage and current levels) directly influences the quality of the machine. Significant drops in voltage in a phase, or incorrect wiring during commissioning leading to an incorrect phase sequence, can have very serious ramifications and costly consequences. It is only natural that many machines should, as a matter of course, be equipped with measuring and monitoring relays, which can identify over and under voltage, current overload, loss of phase and incorrect phase sequence.

At the next level, where more detailed fault diagnosis is required, current transformers in conjunction with communicating single- and three-phase current detection units are employed. These provide the actual values of currents as well as trigger points for alarms and failure conditions. In this way, the operation of equipment can be monitored closely.

Many machines are installed in properly air-conditioned rooms to be closely protected. A common problem in air-conditioned rooms where expensive equipment like computers, semiconductor manufacturing machines or other valuable utilities are stored is detection of potential leaks and condensation in these areas. Effective leak detection bands and control equipment can identify onset of such leaks thus preventing very expensive damage to equipment and subsequent loss of production and its associated delays and re-scheduling aspects.

These are some themes addressed by Omron's K8AB, K8AC and K7L range of measuring, monitoring, level control and leak detection relays -- all these form part of the overall Omron family of products, with the flexibility to be screwed on a panel or mounted on a DIN-rail. Wide operating voltage ranges and simple configuration via easily accessible dipswitches and pots mean that the same units can be used anywhere in the world operating under any voltage or frequency. Their simplicity and modularity means that systems can be built from building blocks where needed.

Reliability and prevention need to be designed into a machine and most of the time expensive equipment can be simply protected by inexpensive preventative measures. In conclusion, Omron's underlying philosophy for manufacturing and automation components is as the well-known saying goes -- aprevention is the best cure'.

Coorous Mohtadi is Technical Manager Control Components, Omron Europe, Hoofddorp, The Netherlands.