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Ten-year-old product lines are fairly rare even in the notoriously conservative automation business. They’re successful, durable and resistant to change. MTL has revised its popular Instrinsically Safe Isolator product line for the first time in 10 years, providing a set of innovative features.
Even though MTL has invested heavily in other products and digital networking technologies, intrinsic safety remains its core business and its core product line. MTL believes that, even with the significant growth in the fieldbus area in the past few years and projected growth in the future, there will be a significant need for many years yet for isolated 4-20 mADC signals in process automation.
"Our new 4500/5500 series isolators are built on what we call ‘One Core’ technology,” says Dermot Coady, MTL’s marketing director. “Previously, our 4000 series and 5000 series weren’t interchangeable, and had few parts in common. We went out of our way in designing the new products to make them backward-compatible and use the same circuits and boards.”
The 4500 is a direct replacement for existing 4000 series isolators, and 5500 replaces existing 5000 series units. 4500 units fit in existing installed backplanes of 4000 series units, making replacement possible without wiring changes. 5500 also replaces any DIN-rail-mounted 5000 series.
The common components and board-integrated transformer design of the new series make these isolators consume significantly less power than the previous generation. The units also are equipped with three-port isolation, low power dissipation, and a new quick-install/release mechanism. In addition, Coady noted that power consumption is actually 50% less than in the previous generation of isolators.
“The One Core design philosophy reduced the number of circuit boards in the product series from more than 40 to fewer than 14,” Coady revealed. “In addition, the completely automated manufacturing system we’ve installed has significantly reduced both our costs and our failure rates.”
The two series provide an entire family of multichannel isolator modules, with up to two analog channels and four digital channels per module. According to Coady, this produces the highest density and lowest width of any isolators on the market.
This is the first new product release from MTL since the sale of the company to Cooper Crouse Hinds in January 2008. It’s fitting that the new product is from MTL’s original core business.
“MTL has always been recognized as a technology leader, and the introduction of these new intrinsic safety isolators will reinforce that reputation. With project time scales and constraints becoming ever tighter, control system vendors and end users are looking for a source they can trust to deliver and implement their IS interface requirements quickly and effectively. Through the innovative use of transformer technology and other advanced electronics, our engineers have produced a product that meets these needs,” Coady said.
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