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Low voltage systems, defined as 50 volts (V) or less, include telecom/IT network infrastructure, security systems, audio-visual systems, dynamic signage, and other systems associated with the IT network, namely building management systems (BMS) and possibly lighting control systems. Low voltage power cable is also being used more and more in the alternative power industry. In solar-power generation, low-voltage cables are used to connect the panel to the combiner box, inverter, and the transformer. Medium-voltage cables then connect the transformer to the substation, and then high-voltage and extra-high-voltage cables connect the substation to the electrical grid. Wind energy systems utilize low voltage cables to connect the wind turbine tower to the grid as well.
Engineers are always finding new ways to streamline design processes, getting products to market sooner. With the help of new technologies and engineering trends, these new technologies are not just helping to get products to manufacturing quicker, they’re also speeding up the process of manufacturing itself, getting it to the consumer in a timelier fashion. Consumer usage is how products can be truly monitored, analyzed, and improved on by an engineering team. So, let’s take a look at a few of these engineering trends and how they are affecting the manufacturing industry.
Fifty volts (V) or less is defined as low voltage. Low voltage power cables are commonly used for doorbells, garage door opener controls, heating and cooling thermostats, alarm system sensors and controls, outdoor ground lighting, household and automobile batteries. Typical low voltages are 12 V, 24 V, and 48 V. The voltage is supplied by batteries, or by a transformer that converts line voltage to a low voltage. Low voltage will not create a shock from contact. However, a high current, low voltage short circuit from something such as an automobile battery can cause an arc flash and possible burns. Low voltage systems are usually wired with telephone cable, using very small wires. Low voltage lighting systems can carry a higher amount of current, resulting in a need for larger diameter wires.
As new technologies emerge, companies are doing what they can to stay ahead of the curve. These days, this means using the cloud, the internet of things (IoT), 5G, telecom, and typically investing big money in fiber optics. Driven by consumer demand, the need for a speedier and long-lasting connection has taken precedence.
FTTP, FTTH, FTTC, and FTTX all refer to different types of fiber optic cabling. Fiber optic cables encapsulate tiny strands of glass which help to create a more streamlined and speedier internet connection. Compared to traditional copper cable wires, there’s more room for signal traffic. When it comes to picking your method of connectivity, it may be confusing with all of the different options available. So, how do you know which one to go with?
A fiber-optic cable is a high-speed network cable, made up of strands of glass fibers. These strands are wrapped with an insulated casing and aren’t much bigger than a human hair circumference wise. Fiber-optics use pulses of light, generated by small lasers or light-emitting diodes to carry their communication signals, or data, from one point to another at an extremely high transfer rate. Fiber connectivity is the process of using technology to connect devices and ultimately to the internet.
The “G” in 5G stands for generation, meaning that 5G is the 5th generation of cellular technology. All prior generations of cellular technology have utilized cell towers that are connected to a network and divided into sectors or territories. 5G networks are different in that they are more likely to use small cells as opposed to the larger cell towers, also known as macro cells. Small cells are about the size of a suitcase and can be installed on anything from streetlights, poles, sides of buildings, and more. They are lower-powered cells, but there are more of them – every few blocks as opposed to every few miles. This is what promises to make 5G so powerful. The total number of small cells are expected to increase from the 13,000 we had in 2017 to over 800,000 by 2026.
Telecommunications, or telecom, refers to the process of exchanging information such as voice, data and video transmissions via electronic technologies like telephones (wired and wireless), microwave communications, fiber optics, satellites, radio and television broadcasting, and the internet.