Industrial electronics is a branch of electronics that deals with power electronic devices such as thyristors, SCRs, AC/DC drives, meters, sensors, analyzers, load cells automatic test equipment, mulitimeters, data recorders, relays, resistors, semiconductors, transistors, waveguides, scopes, amplifiers, radio frequency (RF) circuit boards, timers, counters, etc. It covers all of the methods and facets of: control systems, instrumentation, mechanism and diagnosis, signal processing and automation of various industrial applications. The core research areas of industrial electronics include electrical power machine designs, power conditioning and power semiconductor devices. A lot of consideration is given to power economy and energy management in consumer electronic products.
So to put it simply, industrial electronics refers to equipment, tools and processes that involve electrical equipment in an industrial setting. This could be a laboratory, automotive plant, power plant or construction site etc. Industrial electronics are also used extensively in: chemical processing plants, oil/gas/petroleum plants, mining and metal processing units, electronics and semiconductor manufacturing.
The scope of industrial electronics ranges from the design and maintenance of simple electrical fuses to complicated programmable logic controllers (PLCs), solid-state devices and motor drives. Industrial electronics can handle the automation of all types of modern day electrical and mechanical industrial processes. Some of the specialty equipment used in industrial electronics includes: variable frequency converter and inverter drives, human machine interfaces, hydraulic positioners and computer or microprocessor controlled robotics.
Industrial electronics is a large family indeed, but remember it is different than entertainment and consumer electronics. Instead of thinking DVD players and computers we are talking about things such as capacitors, motor drives, panel meters, limit switches and testers. Actually the list goes on and on.
Because industrial electronics covers such a wide range of devices it’s important that you keep on top of your maintenance schedule or you will find yourself replacing items quite frequently. You should also keep abreast of all the new developments in the electronic world as new items are being manufactured all of the time and you may want too upgrade some of your components to stay up to date. As with all types of electronics you should also be aware of all of the safety hazards of each individual item.