What is a Panel Interface Connector?
A basic PIC typically contains a power outlet (single, duplex, or GFCI) along with one or more of the connectors commonly used by the PLC, computer, or other programmable devices within the control cabinet. These connectors include but are not limited to D-Subminiature (9, 15, 25, 37, or high density 15,) RJ45, RJ11, mini Din, BNC, USB, Ethernet, & Device Net.
A panel interface connector (PIC) is a device that typically mounts to the outside of a control panel in a manufacturing or other automation setting. Once installed, the PIC, which houses convenient pass-through connections, allows the user to interface with the computer, PLC, or other programmable devices inside the control panel without opening the panel door.
Mencom currently has well over 2000 PIC designs in production. However, new ones are being created on a regular basis, so if you do not find what you are looking for here or in our online catalog, just contact us and we will work with you to design what you need.
Low-Profile Panel Interface Connectors
Mencom’s Low Profile PIC design protrudes from the side of the cabinet 75% less than the standard metal housings. The Low-Profile housings are UL listed and available in three sizes; one single cover (LP1), two single covers (LP2) and one double cover (LP3). The transparent polycarbonate cover allows users to see which components are within the enclosure. These enclosures provide an IP65 rating and feature a unique locking mechanism.
Our smallest Panel Interface Connectors are ideal for tight spaces. The anodized aluminum housing has a connector potted inside and can easily be mounted to a cabinet through 1" diameter hole. The M25 mounting thread has an O-Ring and Lock- Nut. A cap is supplied with each unit to make them suitable for washdown. Stainless Steel versions are available.
Why should I use a PIC?
The ability to interface with the contents of the cabinet without opening the door helps eliminate some potential safety hazards associated with having an open electrical panel. One of the main safety concerns is arc flash.
An arc flash explosion is an extremely dangerous system malfunction that occurs when a short is created between electrified conductors. This can happen when the conductors can no longer contain the applied voltage, or when the isolation between the conductors is breached. As a result, the air surrounding the short can ionize and create an intense “arc flash”.
These explosions, with temperatures capable of exceeding 5000°F, have been known to cause severe burns and fatalities. In an effort to help protect individuals on the shop floor, the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) has written standards (NFPA 70E) that require protection boundaries, training, and clothing, for operators.
Only properly trained personnel, with fire-resistant suits, hoods, and gloves, with non-conductive tools, are allowed access to enclosures capable of producing an arc flash. The training, the equipment, and the time are all expensive. The use of a PIC eliminates the need to open the door, thus reducing the need for extra training, equipment, and time.