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“WOW” Say goodbye to production downtimes with our FreeCon Contactless maintenance-free power transmission | Weidmüller UK

AP_FreeCon_Contactless_orientation_Det2In industrial automation, electrical power is usually transmitted via plug-in connectors. With this “conventional” solution, burned out, warped and dirty contacts are common causes of time-consuming and costly production downtimes. This is especially true of applications with frequent plugging cycles. This includes, for example, the frequent tool changes performed by industrial robots. Here, the level of wear is particularly high. And this is the exactly the type of application for our contactless, maintenance-free energy transmission system “FreeCon Contactless”. This innovative system uses inductive-resonance coupling to transmit energy, without contact, over an air gap of up to five millimetres and it is therefore completely wear-free.

Compared to similar solutions on the market, FreeCon Contactless achieves twice the power density and a much higher degree of efficiency. Plants equipped with this system run longer without errors and the resulting costly interruptions for maintenance, repairs or replacements.

The system uses inductive resonance coupling to transmit an output of up to 240 watts – 24 volts and 10 amps – with an efficiency rating up to 90 percent. An innovative thermal management system and a high degree of efficiency translate into extremely high performance. FreeCon Contactless works by generating a magnetic field on the primary side by means of a coil. The receiver also consists of a coil, in which a voltage is induced by the magnetic field. When an electrical load is connected to the coil, current begins to flow – and electric power is transmitted. To cope with the increased heat produced by this transmission technique we came up with an innovative thermal management system which keeps the heat within manageable limits while allowing the system to have a compact design.

AP_FreeCon_Contactless_fixation_Det1_Technical benefits such as freedom from wear and maintenance speak volumes for FreeCon Contactless. Furthermore, the system is currently the only one on the market that can be switched via a controller, which means it can be “triggered” directly via PLC. An additional contactor is not required. Measuring just 100 mm x 100 mm with a height of 47 mm , FreeCon Contactless is also very compact. It was designed for industrial application, which means the system housing has a high protection class rating of IP 65. The system can be installed via direct mounting or by means of a mounting bracket or groove profile, on any of three sides. This provides users with a high degree of flexibility during assembly.

The areas in which FreeCon Contactless can be used are numerous. Generally speaking, the system is suitable for applications which currently use plug-in connectors that are repeatedly inserted and released. These include tool changers on robots, where several hundred to a thousand tool changes per day take place. The contacting connection needs to be constantly inserted and released, leading to high wear on the contacts and after-effects such as contact erosion. This in turn leads to a reduction in production quality. The regular maintenance required to prevent this incurs very high costs. Other applications include rotary indexing tables, driverless transport systems or applications that currently work with a slip ring. All conventional solutions require intensive maintenance and are consequently expensive to operate.

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