Product Exclusive: Panel wiring system saves time, space

Eaton transforms panel wiring, lowering total cost of ownership, improving system reliability for original equipment manufacturers. This is a March 2011 Control Engineering Product Exclusive.


Diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton Corporation is introducing the Eaton SmartWire-DT panel wiring solution into the United States. SmartWire-DT is designed to reduce panel wiring complexity, improve system reliability, save installation time, and reduce panel space. It replaces the myriad of wires found in the control circuit with one cable, connecting motor control components to customers’ programmable logic controllers (PLCs). It changes the way original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) build control panels.

SmartWire-DT transforms standard motor control components into communication-enabled devices and connects them within the panel as well as in separate distribution panels, or in remote control stations. By connecting control devices using quick connectors, OEMs save time by having less fault prone point-to-point wiring.

Richard Chung, product manager, Eaton, said, “SmartWire-DT is engineered to reduce panel wiring complexity and assembly labor time, speed the startup commissioning processes, and provide extensive run-time diagnostics.” It eliminates the time needed to cut, strip, mark, bundle, and check numerous individual wires. Flat cable connections safeguard the control panel from unauthorized wiring changes, helping to protect the craftsmanship and integrity of the control panel. An eight-conductor, flat cable located in the control cabinet connects motor starters, pushbutton actuators, indicator lights, and other components. The SmartWire-DT gateway connects to standard programmable logic controller (PLC) fieldbuses, including Profibus-DP and CANopen.

Because the product integrates the input/output (I/O) level in the switching devices, no conventional PLC I/O modules are needed; communication-enabled modules attach to standard Eaton motor control components. The PLC in the control cabinet simply consists of a central processing unit (CPU).

Using the flat cable and special connectors reduces typical faults—like loose connections and mis-wired terminations. Each SmartWire-DT enabled device has individual status indicators to reduce commissioning time and troubleshooting in the field. Connected devices are automatically addressed with the push of a button on the gateway, assigning addresses in the order that the devices are connected. The system continuously monitors all networked devices and panel changes. The network functions up to 2,000 ft and can connect up to 99 devices per gateway.



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