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K-System was 25 years ago, the first DIN rail-oriented interface system Pepperl + Fuchs and has since been largely unchanged in the market. Many quasi-industry standards originate in the K-System. Today, the K-system of about 200 separation barrier and approximately 150 signal dividers provides for all signals and applications the widest range of comparable systems. The article describes the development history.



A quarter of a century after the launch of the K-System from Pepperl + Fuchs are many features industry standards today. In the 1970er years the European maps were established in electrical engineering. It is assembled printed circuit boards, which are plugged into a backplane and exchange by means of a contact strip on bus signals with other units. When K-system, however, the isolation modules are plugged into the so-called power rail, a 35 mm DIN rail profile with an insert with gold-plated busbars. Using Power Rail modules are supplied and a group error message allows. Compared to the European maps the K-System saves about 80% of the installation costs. In addition, savings from higher packing density.

The idea: modules for plugging


pepperl02162Easy to replace, standardized sizes and vendor independence - because of these properties Eurocards were widespread over many years in automation technology. The sizes of these cards are specified in DIN IEC 41494 or 60297, the most widely used format is 100 160 mm x mm and is designed for the number and size of the offices in the 70er and 80er years components. With increasing miniaturization of electronics but the space of a map of Europe was not always required.

So the end of 80 years began the interface development team of automation supplier to develop a solution that was not only this trend, but also avoided other disadvantages of the European card system. The idea: modules for mounting on a DIN rail cost, which can supply the modules on a bet and collect error messages of the modules. A 19-inch rack is then no longer necessary. the complex wiring of the card connector, for example, soldering or driving to screw also eliminates. Another advantage of a DIN rail-based system is the easier maintenance: While indicator LEDs and wiring are located necessarily spatially so unfavorable in European maps that usually requires two people for troubleshooting, can be the K-System ads and wiring with a monitoring and controlling person.

Early nineties came the K-System as the first DIN rail oriented interface system on the market. The challenge was for the developers not only to develop components that were at that time without precedent. It was also necessary to develop a complete system that includes all types of signals and device functions with all major Ex approvals and common requirements as typical supply voltages is justice.

K-System today


pepperl02163The K-System in its present form includes isolation modules, the power rail, the infeed and accessories for commissioning and installation. The Power Rail consists of an 35 mm DIN rail profile with insert with gold-plated busbars. These busbars are used to supply power to all modules mounted on the DIN rail through the infeed modules. In addition, a group error message is enabled.

The structure with a DIN rail avoids a point-to-point wiring for the supply, so to reduce wiring complexity and enables a redundant power supply. It also ensures a cost-effective installation of the modules, they are fastened by simple snap on the power rail; the system can be easily expanded.

About the power feed the supply voltage to the power rail is coupled. A detected by the interface module line fault is output via the potential-free contact of the supply unit. The portfolio of interface modules in its present size is designed for a wide range of applications: Isolated Barriers eligible for use in mixed applications for use in hazardous areas and signal isolator for safe area in question. For all types of signals with many device functions, there are about 200 separation barrier and approximately 150 signal isolators. This represents the largest product portfolio of its kind. Designs with 12,5 mm width for compact single loop integrity and 20 / 40 mm width for maximum packing density and functionality, as well as terminals respectively removable screw and spring terminals (for wide modules as a retrofit package) are also available as well as modules for supply voltages of 24 VDC, for supply voltages of 100 VAC (Japan), 115 VAC (USA), 230 VAC (Europe) or with wide range power supply (DC: 20 V ... 90 V; AC: 48 V ... 253 V ).

All modules are horizontally and vertically mountable and increase without derating or distance between the devices, the availability of the overall system. Multifunctional devices have pushbuttons and displays for parameter setting and software (FDT-DTM) for a quick setup via PC. Internal diagnostics with error, power and input signal status with LEDs for each device as well as hard-signal transparency for easy access to field devices and removable terminal blocks with test points simplify maintenance of the interface level.

The K-System also includes tools to install under demanding environmental conditions, as well as for commissioning and for test purposes. The so-called K-Duct is a metallic cable trunking for mounting on DIN rails. The wiring for field and control signals takes place here below the installed modules, separated by an integrated separator element that ensures spatial separation of field and control wiring. This saves space in the cabinet, since modules are viewed from the front in succession mounted. Terminals with test or with internal cold junction compensation permit adjustment of any installation on individual requirements. In addition, an attachable overvoltage protection for the K-System is available.

Pioneer of the Termination Board based fault-tolerant system


A series of quasi-industry standards of today's interface systems have their origin in the K-System. This includes especially the philosophy Guideways-based module assembly, supply and collective error message. The continuous front control panels and status LEDs per channel, as well as reduced-power electronic circuits with low heating are as widespread today features. An attachable overvoltage protection, there is still only in the K-System. Also at the module level of the time were set milestones with the K-System over. Standard isolation amplifier in only 20 mm width, 1- and 2-channel, 40 mm for complex devices were just the first time to see the K-System as 20 mm narrow devices with removable terminals and the first interface module to 12,5 mm width with today highest single -Loop integrity. Last but not least: The K-System with the first system cabling on Termination Boards was also the beginning of another family, the Termination Board based fault-tolerant system - This is especially designed for the large-scale plant.
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