The need to monitor and control pipelines is crucial in preventing breaches that could endanger life and property for hundreds of miles over land and along coastlines.

To protect infrastructures against such disasters, promote worker safety and facilitate automated functions ranging from drilling to wellhead operation and transport pipelines, oil and gas operators are increasingly turning to fiber optic cable suppliers for end-to-end communications and control solutions. Many such solutions include ruggedized cable and connectors that ensure survival of fiber-based DCS/PLC automation/control architectures for onshore and offshore oil and gas operations, even in the harshest environments.

As fiber optic cable emerges as the medium of choice in many industrial arenas, the DIN rail enclosure plays an increasingly important role. Mounted to a standard DIN rail — the metal rail used to mount various electrical components (terminal blocks, motor starters, circuit breakers) in a control cabinet — a DIN rail enclosure provides a central location where external and internal wiring can be connected quickly and efficiently.

“This type of enclosure is ideal for production applications, the industrial automation side of businesses,” says Stephen Porach, senior manager of business development, enterprise solutions at Optical Cable Corporation (OCC). “Today the oil & gas industry is turning from highly proprietary communications systems to the more enterprise-wide prevalent Ethernet communications protocol via fiber optical cable. The appropriate DIN rail enclosure provides an optimal connection for fiber cable that can be terminated in a fixed position.”

Porach says that the Ethernet protocol allows products from various manufacturers to talk to one another, making the system less proprietary and costly. Also, fiber cable won’t cause an electrical spark, another advantage that makes it ideal for many oil and gas applications, particularly in the field.

OCC has developed a new, ruggedized line of DIN rail enclosures to provide highly secure terminations within a wide variety of industrial applications even in the most adverse environmental conditions. Available for both fiber optic and copper applications, this type of enclosure is very easy to install and provides very simple patching for the connection of all those automation components in a patch field for the industrial automation environment.

 “Companies in the oil & gas industry are placing this enclosure into a cabinet located in the automated ‘driller’s cabin’ on their rigs, where one person monitors drilling controls, automated pipe handling controls, computer hardware and data processing systems in single room on the rig,” says Phillip Hoyle, OCC business development specialist. “From there they’ll connect them to the HMIs and PLCs and other systems. Typically the enclosure would be placed next to the PLC, and then has a 6-, 12- or 24-fiber connection there.”

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