Total Cost of Ownership is a tricky concept. It means looking beyond the material cost of the product and understanding the larger, surrounding value chain.
In a standard thermal loop, you’ll have a process thermocouple sensing temperature and a hi limit thermocouple attached to the heater itself. This hi limit sends a signal to a dedicated hi limit controller, which in turn cycles power via an upstream mechanical contactor. Having these two separate systems is considered an industry best practice.
Watlow has an extremely robust line of controls with an excellent track record for reliability and quick change out capabilities, all designed to minimize downtime and total cost of ownership.
In their new PM Plus controller
, Watlow has been able to electrically isolate two control loops in a single, compact, 1/16 DIN controller. This means you get the same dedicated circuitry, but without the cost of having to buy two controllers. Because they are fully isolated, the product does have both UL and FM approval.
The PM plus is also extremely easy to program, reducing downtime by minimizing change out time. In the old days, the menus were very hard to navigate, with a complicated series of menus and sub-menus, all written in code and requiring a secret decoder ring buried in page 46 of some manual.
Watlow has solved this problem in three ways. First, the menus on the PM Plus are written in plain English- no partial words or phrases. Second, by plugging a cord into the back of the PM, you can connect it to Watlow’s configurator, which brings up a very intuitive app on your computer. This means you can program on the convenience of a full-sized computer monitor with easy to use drop down menus. Lastly, this model of PM has a Bluetooth feature, which means you can connect directly to your phone and program from there, too. All of these options tie directly to your bottom line in the form of decreased set up time and lower installation costs.
Check out Valin's video tutorial How To Enable Bluetooth on the Watlow EZ-Zone PM
If you are a panel builder, you can realize additional savings in the form of reduced labor costs. Instead of two cut outs in the panel, your technician will now only need to make one. You can also move to a smaller panel size, reducing your overall footprint. Watlow’s PM Plus’s option also has an integrated 15 Amp Power Control for handling resistive loads. Going back to the normal thermal loop, the temperature controller is typically sending a signal to a power controller, which is actually switching the load. By combining three pieces into one, installation costs are minimized, and inventory is reduced as you will need fewer spares on the shelf.
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