It’s a truism that most of us encounter every day: little things can mean a lot. A word of thanks for a job well done, an act of kindness from a complete stranger, a free sample from a retailer – we’ve all experienced the feeling. It’s something that underpins Omron’s recently introduced “361° Approach” to
It’s a truism that most of us encounter every day: little things can mean a lot. A word of thanks for a job well done, an act of kindness from a complete stranger, a free sample from a retailer – we’ve all experienced the feeling. It’s something that underpins Omron’s recently introduced “361° Approach” to product design and delivery. The concept is based on the idea of looking at what the market needs with a wider view – in fact, an all-round, 360° view – and then adding that something more. It’s this extra, this 1°, that makes the difference, because it symbolises the extra degree of confidence that comes from specifying products that do precisely what the customer needs – and then some.
Omron’s new S8VK Series power supply range provides an object lesson of how this approach works in practice. Omron’s been building power supplies for over 35 years, and the S8VK is, as one might expect, a reliable and well-designed range of products. But there’s more to it than that. For a start, the series is available in three lines – Pro, Pro plus and Lite – to present designers with a choice of specifications to meet different applications. Each line shares similar characteristics, including easy installation, flexibility and reliability, but the choice means that manufacturers don’t pay for something they don’t need.
The S8VK-G power supply, launched in January, is the Pro line, and will work in temperatures that range from -40°C to +70°C. This kind of application is, of course, out of the ordinary – although by no means unknown. However – and this is an example of the 1° difference – the units are designed start-up immediately (even at the very low voltage inputs that result from temperatures of -40°C ), and to resist permanent damage even in high temperatures caused by, for instance, a short-circuit on other components. That’s a great confidence-booster for the machine maker who wants to ensure the long-term reliability of his equipment.
If extreme temperatures are not the norm in most industrial applications, then problems associated with vibration are not. Whether it’s low-frequency vibration from a press or high-frequency transmitted by a motor, the results over a period of time can be disastrous. They range from internal components shaking loose from circuit boards through to fixing screws shearing off so that the product becomes detached from a DIN-rail. The S8VK Series is designed to withstand 5G, which is more than twice the designed endurance of any comparable product, and larger-capacity units are fitted with all-metal DIN-rail fixings. It’s another 1° of difference.
Not all of these small differences are related to system performance. One of the many problems that confront designers on a regular basis is the issue of ensuring that components fit together neatly and, ideally, without taking up too much space in the control panel or machine footprint. The S8VK development team had as a key criterion the need to make these units as compact as possible, without sacrificing either efficiency or reliability.
Interesting, one element that contributed to this compactness resulted from the need to control the heat generated by the power supply. Thermal simulation – studying how heat is distributed among components – is widely used by component manufacturers to optimise the design process. Omron used it in developing the S8VK Series, but focused specifically on how the heat is generated by certain components.
In particular, these hotter components are positioned on the circuit boards so that an updraft is caused – the boards are mounted vertically – which improves and controls internal ventilation. It was something of a win-win, because simplifying the mounting of components also reduces space requirements. It makes the S8VK Series power supplies exceptionally compact: there are only two box heights – 90mm and 125mm, so they fit easily into standard DIN-rail apertures. This compact arrangement means that designers can fit more products into the available space.
We live in a competitive world, where customers demand the lowest prices, but with no loss of quality or reliability. One way of reducing costs is to cut the amount of time spent in designing and manufacturing machines. This has to be carefully managed, and must be achieved without jeopardising the efficiency or effectiveness of production. The S8VK Series is designed to help achieve these time-savings in a number of ways. Wiring for both inputs and outputs is logical, speedy and intuitive, which means that designers can quickly and easily locate the power supply precisely where needed. And by the same token, the time taken for assembly of control panels and machines is straightforward and fast, but without the risk of mis-wiring or making loose connections.
It’s another 1° of difference. Another little thing that could mean a great deal to a designer, engineer or end user.