We’ve Got the Power (Supplies)!

Modern automation technology is a myriad of devices all working in unison to make a product.  When we stand back and look at all the lights, sensors, and conveyors, it is difficult to consider the product development that got us to this point.

Each one of those lights and pushbuttons must be powered with electricity.  However, unlike a large robot or motor, low voltage power must be used.  To generate this kind of low voltage power requires a separate device for several reasons:

  1. Electricity coming into a facility is high voltage alternating current (AC).
  2. Much of the incoming electricity has variations that must be corrected before powering sensitive devices.

Most modern devices are powered with direct current (DC).  The differences between AC and DC power are in how the voltage variation occurs:

AC power is generated in a manner that causes the voltage to increase and decrease.  It looks like a wave.  This is useful for motors and compressors but cannot be used to power more sensitive devices such as cabinet lights or push buttons.  A DC power supply is designed to convert this wave-like power into the steady output shown by the straight line above.  This is a consistent and specific voltage output that will power these devices.

Consider an unmanaged industrial Ethernet network switch.  These are designed to transfer data across an industrial network.  When an Ethernet cable is plugged into this switch it identifies the incoming signal, replicates it, and then transmits it to the proper location.  It does this with DC power from a power supply.

Common power supply technology has been around since the 1970s.  These can be found in practically every machine cabinet.  Smaller and more sensitive devices like PLCs, tower lights, and LED cabinet lights require this steady smaller voltage.

MISUMI offers a wide range of industrial-grade power supplies and many are ready to ship same-day.  While our website allows users to browse for the brand and type of supply they need, here are some questions to consider when looking to buy a power supply:

  • What kind of devices are you powering with this?
    • Make sure that the devices require DC power and consider the wiring.  Power supplies typically require devices to be hard-wired.
  • Where will the power supply be located?
    • In-cabinet power supplies might need to be smaller than those located outside the cabinet.  Environmental factors may also need to be considered.
  • How many watts and amps do you need to consume?
    • Watts are a measure of the available energy in the supply itself.  If you have a 100-watt power supply and plan on adding devices that will consume more than that in total, then you will need to consider a larger system.
  • How do you plan on mounting the power supply?
    • Most industrial power supplies are DIN-rail mounted.  Double-check that this is what you need.  If not, then you may want to consider a different version.
  • Do you have all the wiring devices necessary to complete this project?

MISUMI can help answer any question you may have regarding power supplies.  We have a portfolio of a dozen well-known brands including Eaton, Murrelektronik, and Omron.  In total, we can provide nearly 550 different power supplies to meet your needs.

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