Configurable safety relays are implemented in factory automation to help prevent injuries and equipment damage by cutting off electrical power in response to sensor data. When a relay fails, production must be halted for repairs, meaning downtime often costing many thousands of dollars. The normal alternative is to change relays on a schedule that occurs well before actual failure.
Using ANSYS Twin Builder, engineers at industrial electronics manufacturer Phoenix Contact Electronics have developed reduced-order models to help determine a relay’s usable lifetime. This advanced modeling takes into account difficult-to-observe factors that affect longevity, such as a relay’s armature rotation angle and contact bounce time. The system has been validated on a demonstrator relay, and this solution is now being integrated into relays used in real-world applications.