Posted by: Harold Ennulat | July 16, 2010

Get Rid of Remote I/O Cabinets Once and For All

I tend to be a traditionalist when it comes to using control cabinets for I/O.  This brief article got me thinking about remoting the sensor I/O to the various machine or process sections.  I am reposting it below:


Every time I travel, customers tell me, “we just wire everything into a box.”  Every equipment designer goes through a phase of their design process where they need to decide how their I/O gets from their sensors and their valves to their controller.  Some people use I/O cards on their PLC, or networks with IP20 solutions inside remote I/O cabinets.

Remote I/O cabinets are costing you money in three ways:

Initial Equipment Costs: You have to purchase a remote NEMA Box, bulkhead pass through connectors or gaskets, the remote I/O network connection as well as the required input and output cards for the application.

Installation Time: The box needs to be mechanically mounted in it’s big bulky space and installed with all of the wires and connectors run to it.  An electrician then needs to come in and wire everything to the I/O ports.  If you are using PNP or NPN sensors, there are 3 terminations per sensor that the electrician needs to connect.

Setup Time: If for some reason the machine needs to be torn down and shipped someplace else (which many machines do), many hours can be spent disconnecting the I/O only to be reassembled in the final destination.

These costs in time and money can be reduced by looking at industrial network I/O mounted right on the machine.  IP67 I/O gives quick industrial connection for the network communication and power cables.  Most of the sensor and actuator cables can stay with the block because the I/O block is mounted right on the machine next to where the I/O is needed.

So the next time you are working on designing cost out of your machine, look at the labor and money you are putting into your remote I/O boxes and consider machine mount I/O.


The original article can be viewed from this link:  Get Rid of Remote I/O Cabinets Once and For All.

The one thing I don’t like about the photo are the cable loops that are just waiting to get snagged.  This can be overcome with a cover plate and/or right angle connectors and carefull sensor wire routing and/or cable protection ducts.


  1. I completely agree, the best installations of cables and networks take thought: into how the cables are going to be routed, the use of right angle connectors to lower the profile and strategic mounting & protection.

    • Will,
      I see you work for Sensor Technology, which is where I found this article. Actually I now see that you appear to be the author of the original article.
      Thanks for your comment.

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