Phoenix Contact introduces new VIP-ER system

May 30, 2018
Marshalling system supports configurable I/O

Phoenix Contact's VIP-ER system with Input/Output Accessories provides wiring functionality to match the flexibility of software-configurable I/O.

The introduction of configurable I/O has given users a new world of opportunity and advantages. With this evolution though, there remain traditional requirements and challenges like safely marshalling signals, converting voltages and simplifying loop checks.

“The Honeywell Universal I/O solution is fantastic because it’s software- rather than hardware-based, so people who want to can keep their marshalling,” says Michael Hardman, product specialist, Phoenix Contact. But traditional marshalling requires I/O-specific components for each point, such as relays, fuses and isolators, which traditionally must be individually wired."

Phoenix Contact’s new VIP-ER system allows users to configure the wiring functionality for any type of signal, and easily choose or change the conditioning and protection features via plug-ins at the marshalling base. Engineers can plan the overall I/O count during FEED stage, and assign input/output accessories (IOAs) during installation to easily accommodate late binding project changes.

“Once you know the number of points, you select the number of bases (eight points per base), and marshal to the VIP-ER base. Then, up until the last minute, you can slide in the appropriate input/output accessory (IOA),” Hardman says. “When you know exactly what type of I/O—analog, digital, temperature—then you use the IOA with the appropriate functionality for the signal type.”

IOA options range from passive feed-through, 24 V to 230 V relay, fused with test point and disconnects, to HART-transparent current isolators, so each channel can be individually matched to the programmed I/O function. Each channel also can be wired for compatibility to two-, three- and four-wire field devices, as well as provide multiple shield options. The IOAs are equipped with a hinged cover to allow access to removable fuses, signal disconnects, and test points for quick and easy system validation and maintenance.

Along with adding project flexibility, VIP-ER decreases inventory overhead by providing a common base that spans 24 V – 240 V. Its agency approval package allows worldwide use, and though it’s designed for Honeywell Universal I/O, it’s compatible with configurable I/O-based controllers from any manufacturer.

“You can place any IOA in any channel without lifting any control wiring,” Hardman says. “So you can have all the wiring done—the base wired up—and both the type of I/O and the type of marshalling can be switched at the last minute. You can change the wiring functionality as easily as you change I/O type with Universal I/O. The ability to easily change wiring functionality at the last minute and reduce inventory requirements allows for a significantly shortened project lifecycle.”

Each IOA variant is equipped with a unique pair of male/female plugs, preventing a different IOA from being installed by mistake. “The IOAs have keys, so once they're snapped in, only the same kind will fit in that slot unless the key is pulled out,” Hardman says. “You can easily pull it out to make a change, but it requires a conscious decision, so the wrong IOA won’t be used by accident.”

Accessory cables make the solution fully pluggable to the Honeywell DCS. “You can use a Honeywell-specific cable, or an open-ended cable to a different controller, now on the market or yet to come,” Hardman adds. “Today, you can migrate an older PLC or DCS using mixed I/O, or use VIP-ER as a junction to a new controller.

“No matter how large or small, most projects will have last-minute, late binding changes. VIP-ER helps simplify and reduce the domino effect from changes because the terminal blocks, fuse blocks and relays don’t have to be swapped out. You can just switch the IOAs.”

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