Article
Emerson says it has introduced the world’s first hybrid panel board 
designed to serve as a single point of control for both power and fiber 
communications to serve the burgeoning Industrial Internet of Things 
(IIoT) market. <br><br>The company’s Appleton PlexPower Fiber Panel is 
specifically designed for hazardous locations such as petrochemical 
plants, chemical plants, wastewater treatment centers, pulp/paper 
facilities, corrosive indoor and outdoor environments and other locales 
where flammable gases or vapors are present.

Explosion Proof Enclosure for the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) from Emerson

James R. Dukart
Emerson says it has introduced the world’s first hybrid panel board designed to serve as a single point of control for both power and fiber communications to serve the burgeoning Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) market.

The company’s Appleton PlexPower Fiber Panel is specifically designed for hazardous locations such as petrochemical plants, chemical plants, wastewater treatment centers, pulp/paper facilities, corrosive indoor and outdoor environments and other locales where flammable gases or vapors are present.

By collecting both power and data cables into a single stainless steel enclosure, the company says, the new box helps users save up to 77% in installation, commissioning and maintenance costs.

"We conducted extensive research with end users and customers,” offered Mark Garton, senior product marketing manager, Emerson Automation Solutions. “We found that many have struggled with the complexity of routing hundreds of feet of dedicated power and fiber cables from separate enclosures. They want a simplified, cost effective connectivity solution to accelerate their adoption of IIoT technologies into their operations.”

Garton said the PlexPower box meets those needs by centralizing control of electrical circuits and communication patch panels contiguously in a single enclosure located inside a hazardous areas, thus reducing cabling costs and increasing power safety while offering greater configuration flexibility and a more reliable IIoT infrastructure.

The Appleton PlexPower Fiber Panel incorporates Belden MIPP fiber splice boxes that can shave installation time for fiber patching while offering easier access during routine maintenance. It provides easy access for organizing and managing up to 12 ST (Straight Tip connector), SC (Subscriber Connector) and LC (Lucent Connector) type fiber connections, allowing for use in a wide range of industrial networking applications requiring maximum system reliability and flexibility.

Applications in the petrochemical industry, Garton claimed, will greatly benefit from this hybrid cabling technology, as it will help automate operational management of boilers, tanks, pumps, control valves and meters with intelligent sensors that collect maintenance and flow information, among other data.

The Panel uses circuit breaker modules to provide explosion-proof protection for standard off-the-shelf breakers, thus eliminating the need for a heavy-cast enclosure. Component-level protection means the panelboard enclosure is lighter, more compact and easier to install. Breakers can be easily replaced, upgraded or added in the field with no bolted cover to remove, no need for sealing or rewiring and no danger of compromising flame path integrity. The enclosure is 316L stainless steel featuring stainless steel hardware and a hard drawn, tin-plated, copper bus bar for corrosion resistance and maximum reliability.
Photo courtesy of Appleton
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