Controller Meets Tesla Coil

Aug. 25, 2016
Automation controllers undergo a variety of tests to ensure their ability to withstand industrial environments. But this may be the first time a controller has been tested on a Tesla coil.

Not long we reported on Bedrock Automation’s testing of its backplane loaded with its secure I/O, power and controller modules along with copper and fiber optic Gigabit Ethernet communications to see if it could withstand the force of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and still continue to operate. See the results here.

While testing an automation system for EMP resistance might seem pretty extreme, apparently Bedrock Automation was not done with such tests to prove the ruggedness of its equipment. The company has now released a video of its industrial control system (including Bedrock Automation's power, UPS, I/O and control modules) withstanding sustained multi-million volt strikes from a large Tesla coil.

The video shows two of eight sustained arc blasts over one hour. According to Bedrock Automation, this kind of test has never been attempted or demonstrated in the history of automation.

Bedrock Automation control system undergoes Tesla coil blasts

Explaining how the control system is able to withstand these blasts from the Tesla coil, Albert Rooyakkers, Bedrock Automation’s founder and chief technology officer, says that numerous design elements of the control system “work together to make this possible, including a patented pinless backplane and I/O modules, sealed all-metal construction, fiber optic communications and extreme galvanic isolation of modules and channels.”

Rooyakkers adds “there are no test equipment or labs to simulate sustained extreme electrical storms for stress testing, so we built one ourselves. The purpose of the test is to unequivocally demonstrate the extreme margins of safety and reliability built into the Bedrock OSA platform.”

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