You must be very popular with the Phoenix sales reps!
I've only seen DIN rail used as a mounting rail
It gets used for everything around here. I have seen it used to reinforce the shelves on a bookcase! ;-)
We actually have another non-German variation as well. It is perforated every ~1/2" so that you can easily cut it to your desired length with a basic hand tool. It sounds like you have the pneumatic guillotine in house, but this is quite handy for the small jobs that we do, like test jigs. Please forgive the plug!
I suspect Phoenix in dominant in Germany, because when we had a German intern, that's all he ever specified. In the US, I'd say their availability is better than the others.
I am not going to be drawn on this because I don't have any numbers, only biased opinions. But what is interesting is that Phoenix, Weidmuller and Wago are all located within about a 100km circle of each other in Germany. I think I was quoted that 70% of the world market in screw terminals was concentrated there- however that must be 15 years ago now.
-- For me, it's Euro-style all the way. And, I've only seen DIN rail used as a mounting rail (we use as much as possible, plus screw holes for the stuff that need it like servo drives and pneumatic manifolds).
-- As I re-design our machines, I'm moving away from DIN rail terminal blocks, replacing them with custom PCBs. BOM cost is about the same, but labor cost is much less, and reliability should be better. I'm currently using Phoenix 4mm ST series spring clamp DIN Rail fuse holders & terminal blocks for power distribution; IMHO, they work great for this.
-- However, there are some cool DIN rail terminal blocks, such as the Phoenix Combi plugs that plug into Combi DIN rail terminal blocks; current is 24A or 32A, and the price is reasonable.
-- Picking the right components helps. In the old days, our motion systems went like this: PCI motion controller <--> expensive cables <--> expensive break out board <--> analog servo amp <--> servo motors. Now, it's: USB to CAN adapter <--> servo drive <--> servo motor. The servo drives aren't much more than an analog servo amp, and save a lot of wiring and money.
-- On my custom break out PCBs, I try to maximize use of standard molded cables (e.g. DB or HD cables from servo drive to PCB) or easy to make cables (e.g. IDC ribbon cable from PLC to PCB -- that's why I like PLCs with box headers instead of terminal blocks). The fewer cable connections our techs have to make, the better. Typically, I've used fixed terminal blocks, because of cost and that we don't normally have to swap out boards. In the future, I will look at using more pluggable TBs, but the value has to be there.
-- Industrial automation is a wide field. We don't have BFS techs, and the machines rarely need re-wiring in the field (only occasionally to add stuff).
-- The Phoenix PC35 15mm pluggable terminal blocks are rated at up to 125A and 600V, but a 3 pos header/plug pair will run about $40. That's impressive, although Positronics has Comb-D connectors at 100A.
-- I suspect Phoenix in dominant in Germany, because when we had a German intern, that's all he ever specified. In the US, I'd say their availability is better than the others.
--Availability can be a big issue, when you start getting into unusual terminal blocks, such as inverterted, screw flanges, or such. If I cannot get it easily, I won't use it.
-- One big plus for the more common sizes & styles of headers (like the Phoenix Combicon Classic 5.08 series) is the wide variety of plugs you can use: screw, spring clamp, or IDC in a variety of styles. So you can spec your headers up front, and pick your plugs later.
-- The Phoenix PTSM series is really cute, and are reasonably priced (I bought a few for playing with). IIRC, the plugs are IDC or spring clamp. You can open the spring clamp ones with a 1.5mm flat screw driver. I haven't tested how well they work with stranded wires. The headers are also available in through hole.
-- However, one of the custest connectors is the Omron XN2 e-Con connector; it's a little pricey, but it's a 2mm spring clamp connector. The e-Con is a Japanese connector standard for factory automation, developed originally by Tyco Japan. In the US, the Tyco RITS (IDC), 3M Mini-Clamp (IDC), and Omron XN2 (spring clamp) are available. Anyway, I use these connectors a lot for stage limit sensors, however, we had problems using the IDC models with Panasonic PM sensors (approx wire size 29 AWG), but the XN2's work great.
To put an even finer point on this (what a clever pun, sorry!), the spelling Weidmueller is also an acceptable German spelling. You have the option of using the umlaut or the u followed by an e, even in Deutsch.
Sometimes, when the name Müller is amercanized, I've seen it spelled Miiller or Muiler.
Actually, the German pronunciation would be Videmewler. E before I, say I; I before E, say E.
The change of spelling is simply to reflect that many Latin alphabets (e.g. English) do not contain umlauted characters (excuse the ersatz verb). The Germans are very progressive on this aspect of their language.
Let's all try one: Wienerschnitzel. How does that sound? And another: Weißwein. Yeah, well we run into another problem here with the ß character, which the Germans would allow us to replace with ss, i.e. Weisswein.
OK, back to connectors. Very interesting post, by the way.
Aubrey....re chocolate strip. I was introduced to this term in the police in Rhodesia as an apprentice Radio Tech. We used to use lots of it in vehicle radio installations.
I have a few of the pluggable type. They came from emergency exit lights to connect the switched live / unswitched live / neutral / earth. In one case both halves were fixed to the case in such a way that when you pulled the two halves of the case apart it disconnected the wires.
I was a fan of Weidmuller connectors decades ago. Then we discovered there were many competitors of similar connectors. After comparing a half dozen lines we zeroed in on the Phoenix Contact line which had many superior details.
You are correct!! No point in having gold plated terminal if the user still inserts tinned copper wire or tinned-ferruled wires...then what makes more sense? Not to have gold plating as that would add unnecessary cost burden, if the users are allowed to insert the wires with ferrule materials of their choice?
I have a friend who calls these chocolate block connectors. He too is orignially from England (and then Kenya and South Africa) and is the only other time that I have heard the nomenclature. Is anyone else familiar with the term?
I have actually seen versions of these with a pluggable connector in the middle. I wonder if they are still made?
As we unveil EE Times’ 2015 Silicon 60 list, journalist & Silicon 60 researcher Peter Clarke hosts a conversation on startups in the electronics industry. Panelists Dan Armbrust (investment firm Silicon Catalyst), Andrew Kau (venture capital firm Walden International), and Stan Boland (successful serial entrepreneur, former CEO of Neul, Icera) join in the live debate.