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Umer T.

Project Manager at Siemens Energy Sector Oil and Gas

Interposing relays are mostly used in automation industry to isolate field equipment and automation equipment (
IO modules).

Danny B.
I & E Lead at Cadre Proppants
My main reason to is when I control a device with a Digital Output that is rated higher than 0.5A (Solenoid
Valves, Bigger Motor Starters that may need 3-5amps to energize) and/or have the need to separate different
voltage sources that share the same common on a card.

Also with the NFPA70e it is wise to have only 24vdc on your DO card that will energize an interposing relay
and thus have the interposing relays in a different "NFPA70e friendly" panel.

Barry P.
Bored Certified Ultracrepidarian
Any digital interface with an unknown system. Start/Stop/Feed/Ready. There are some wicked floating grounds
out there.

Geert W.
Werkvoorbereider elektriciteit at Amcor
To create a galvanic separation between a control system (PLC) and extrernal utilities with forenger voltages, or
having te need for a dry contact aswell for the outputs (24Vdc) as for input separation exemple 220Vac signal to
be interfaced to an 24Vdc input or to create an output current boost. When used on DC output better take a
relays with an inverse EMP blussing diode.

Zubair A.
Lead Instrumentation & Control System Engineer at M.S. Al-Suwaidi Industrial Services Co.
Mostly used in Motors Start/ Stop/ Reset/ ESD Trip control signals between PLC and MCC or Switch gear.
Danny is right, NFPA 70E is applicable.

Akilan R.
KM Analyst-Honeywell
Detailed discussion is available in this link -

Freddy R.
Engineering & Construction Consultant and Contractor
@Akiran. I realize this question looks quite simple but the responses are not necessarily simple...

Vitor F.
Teacher: Instrumentation and SIS
Use them strictly where needed, because they reduce loop reliability, use "expensive" instrumentation electrical
power ( with batteries back-up, etc.) ,
warm up the environment (when you have an air conditioning failure, this can be critical) need spare parts, but
definitively provide excellent galvanic insulation,
are EMI interference immune, etc.

Freddy R.
Engineering & Construction Consultant and Contractor
Is fair to say this? Use IR when:
1-Isolating Two different power levels
2-Isolating two different voltage levels
3-Isolating different grounds I.e. Instrument gnd, power gnd, IS ground

Paul B.
Systems Engineer at HIDECS Consultancy
All the other respondents have given good reason to use an Interposing Relay. I would only be echoing what has
already been said. However, if you need to be sure that things are working correctly through the chain from
Digital Output through the Interposing Relay to the Final Contactor then you should monitor the contacts of the
Interposing Relay as well as those of the final contactor. The interposing relays I use have Force Guided
Contacts which means that all contacts on the relay will echo the same state. This is useful in quick fault

Vctor Daniel
Vctor Daniel P.
I agree with all your comments.
Using interposing relays give you an isolation between field and control system (i.e. a short circuit will damage
the interposed relay, not your DO card), inmunity in case of different 0 reference (not chattering output) and
also offer the versatility to be able to send to field different voltage with the same hardware for the DO: 24 Vdc,
110 Vac, 220 Vac or a dry contact. They are necessary when your DO is not able to drive the device you are
connecting to (i.e. a load exceeding the maximum current provided by your hardware)
Nothing new, but I hope my comment be helpful to understand the concept.

Alejandro V.
Project / Construction Management at DEVCO USA
Top Contributor
Interposing relays are used as indicated for isolating instrumentation or low voltage signals from the MCC
higher level voltages, also helps in eliminating induced voltages.
Also they are used when you need to drive discrete signals at long distances where the voltage drop requires
using higher voltages than general instrumentation levels.
Finally and most importantly interposing relays allow to have the isolation point in a unique area, like an
interposing relay panel, allowing the segregation of signals and allowing the minimization of cabling.
Fortunately nowadays interposing relays are not as critical as many years ago, first because the majority of all
PLC's allow to handle higher voltages, and also the newer MCC components have the control relays working at
lower voltages.
So nowadays the need to use interposing relays is simplified by having a greater flexibility in the systems.

Ghiu V.
Research Professional
For the biging I red all of you. You are right.Now , I am pensioner. But I worked for a long time in robotics.A
problem it was for electrical actuators. I need to separate the circuits for protect electronics of robot.

Jocko H.
Engineering Manager at Heitek Automation
Lots of good answers here - Just to summarize the reason to use Iterposing relays -
Voltage disparity - NFPA70e requires different PPE for 24 volts vs 120 volts - so if you are switching higher
voltages for motor starters, etc. - put the ir in the high voltage panel, then you can open the PLC panel with a
much lower PPE requirement
isolaiton - need this be explained?
protection of the output module - it sucks to replace an 8, 16, 32 point module due to a problem with 1 field
using Interposing relays is a good practice, however, as stated earlier in this thread, if you do not use a relay
with force guided contacts - and monitor this relay (and the device it controls) with a controller input - you have
an Open Loop situation, where your controller does not really know if the device actually turned on.

Eddie D.
Good answers, I agree with all-depends on the situation.

Vctor Daniel
Vctor Daniel P.
I don't completely understand those guided contacts relays, could you please share some link describing them?

Paul B.
Systems Engineer at HIDECS Consultancy
In a "Force Guided Contact" relay all the contacts are guaranteed to be physically in the same state at the same
time, such that if just one contact got welded the contacts used to monitor state would reflect the actual position
of all the contacts. It is down to how the relay contact assembly is constructed.

Jan P.
JPL Electrical Designer
The main use of interposing relays (according to my knowledge) is mainly the lack of extra contacts in a control
circuit. The relay is used to switch at more places at onces, then sometimes are available on the outputs of a PLC
card. Why use more PLC output channels to get it done! In case of heavy equipment these IR relays can easily
be replaced in case of a short or breakdown, instead of replacing a complete PLC output card. Consider sliced
IO with relay outputs instead. Also easier to use in a PLC program.
Also in feedback to the PLC with these IR's can give the PLC information about the situation of some parts of
the controls.
In safety conditions like EMS circuits it's out of the question to use them, but in most cases it will work fine.
Use forced contacts or use a EMS relay to multiply these signals.

Todd B.
Automation Professional
My definition of an "interposing" relay is similar to the others on this discussion: It is an intermediate relay that
is necessary because the current available from "initiating signal" is not sufficient to activate the final device.

For me, this happens most frequently when using a low-powered digital output from a PLC IO module to drive
the coil of a large motor starter. The limited current capacity of the PLC output (often 24V) cannot pull in the
starter coil, but it can pull in a smaller relay coil whose contacts are designed to handle the current necessary to
activate the starter. The interposing relay also allows the use of a higher voltage that brings down the current
necessary to drive the starter coil.

Two or more relay coils in parallel does not consitute an "interposing" relay situation. The "interposing" aspect
is when you have one relay driving another relay.

In situations where I use an interposing relay, I always monitor the final device for its status and have never
monitored the status of the interposing relay. Monitoring the status of the interposing relay by itself tells me
nothing about the final device and monitoring both is overly complicated but provides no real additional value.

Todd B.
Automation Professional
Others have mentioned using interposing relays to compensate for voltage drops in long runs. This situation
would imply locating the interposing relay far from either the initiating signal or the final device. In this case,
monitoring the interposing relay may facilitate troubleshooting, You need to assess the cost of implementing a
monitoring scheme along with the associated benefits.

Paul B.
Systems Engineer at HIDECS Consultancy
The reason for monitoring the contacts of the interposing relay is to aid in tracing proper operation of the whole
circuit from PLC output to final contactor. There may be several different power feeds along the way (PLC to
Interposing Relay power, Interposing Relay to final Coil Power) and it would narrow down faults in such in
very short time (you could even programme an alarm in the PLC for this with ready diagnosed symptoms
displayed). Useful when the dependability of operation is required to be high.

Manivannan S.
Consultant at (Free Lance)
Typically one would use IR under following circumstances. Use of IR increases CapEx & OpEx and decreases
reliability of circuit.
1. To achieve galvanic isolation
2. To interface circuits of two different voltage levels
3. To interface circuits with different grounds or power reference points
4. To connect a high power load demanding more power than what a system output module can deliver
5. To provide noise immunity in certain circuits (in certain cases where the cable qualit and routings are
typically very bad, the noise generated will have enough power to keep solid state output energized, but will not
have a threshold power to turn it on. Thus, in typical output modules using triacs as solid state component to
drive outputs, once the output is turned on, it will never go off due to line noises. An IR can provide a solution
in this case, if one cannot afford to use soak up resistors or inductances' by providing isolation)

Freddy R.
Engineering & Construction Consultant and Contractor
@Manivannan. I'd add to that relay contact multiply!

Manivannan S.
Consultant at (Free Lance)
@Freddy: If no other condition warrants, it may be more optimal to use multiple outputs driven by the same
condition in the logic solver or DCS instead of relay multiplier (higher availability and reliability). One
condition that may require IR for contact multiplying is in case the output needs to be included as one of the
initiators for a First Out Logic circuit; in this case multiple system outputs may not be used due to propagation
delays (of the order of few milliseconds) that may distort the first out recording.

Freddy R.
Engineering & Construction Consultant and Contractor
@Manivannan. I understand your point. However I think that there is a large number of possible cases where a
relay can be used with the intent to multiply the number of contacts...For example, instead of using 3 Do's and 3
pairs of cable from the DCS building to the MCC, several hundreds feet away, an interposing relay with 3
contacts could be used to do the same thing, one contact to stop a pump, one contact to the local panel

sai prabhanjan reddy
sai prabhanjan reddy K.
Project Assistant Engineer at Co- generation unit S.P.Y Agro Ind.Ltd

Jun L.
MC & Commissioning Engineer- automation&Electrical Engineer
I think two reasons for using it. please view the following:
1) "interposing" means module installation and easily replace it and fix the troubleshooting and shutdown.
2)"interposing" means "isolate" voltage and current between control circut and consumer circut. The weak
drives the strong.

Vitor F.
Teacher: Instrumentation and SIS
Sai, You have asked:

There are always alternatives, but what I think you should ask (on a case by case basis) is: "Are there any
technical/economical/reliable better alternatives then to use IR in this application ?" and the answer sometimes
is not very easy or clear.

sai prabhanjan reddy
sai prabhanjan reddy K.
Project Assistant Engineer at Co- generation unit S.P.Y Agro Ind.Ltd
Vitor,Thank you sir for your reply..
Yes, sir am asking this question, reliability as the base for selection.....

EPCM,Commissioning Professional,Project Manager,Power Plant Expert,E&I Specialist, Oil and Energy
I look forward to get expert opinions from you all for

1. Simple IR decides the reliability of the PLC system! Reliability of IR is the reliability of the system. IR is the
weakest link in the chain!
2.For SIS, can we use IR?
3.IR failure detection procedures ( Every one assumes that IR will never fail!)

Paul B.
Systems Engineer at HIDECS Consultancy
To ensure you keep the signal integrity high you need to reduce the probability of undetected errors. Therefore,
you should always use Force Guided Contact Relays for the interposing ones and monitor the contacts to ensure
that the relay state is as it is expected to be within the time-frame you set. You should also similarly monitor the
final outputs of whatever the interposing relay drives to ensure that there were no failures beyond the relay.

Mubaris H.
Instrumentation and Control Engineer available for new opportunity
I would also add when you have a inductive load just use IR .Also Triacs are senetive to over voltage. Inductive
loads have fly back emf which can damage your outputs. It is much cheaper and easier to replace a relay rather
than the output module

Sajeed Z.
Instrument Engineer at Radicon Gulf Consult
is the interposing relay is applicable for digital input?

Freddy R.
Engineering & Construction Consultant and Contractor
The reasons for using an IPR in a system digital output are the same as for using an IPR in a system digital
input. For example: are there different voltage sources, levels or grounds involved between the discrete signal
origin and it's destination at the system DI card? If the answer is yes, the use an IPR to isolate these electrical