At the Hanover Trade Fair 2019, Rittal showcased its new AX compact and KX small enclosures. The AX and KX enclosures are both embedded with digital processes, delivering simpler, faster assembly and component installation, greater flexibility and enhanced safety. In other words, Rittal has rethought and redesigned the two enclosures inline with the principles of Industry 4.0.
Digital transformation brings new challenges for products, their operating environment and their operational availability. This launch marks a transformation of AE, a standardised product made by Rittal for more than 50 years. More than 35 million AE enclosures have been manufactured making it the most popular compact enclosure in the world.
Digitalisation and automation in the era of Industry 4.0 are creating new enclosure challenges.
Uwe Scharf, Managing Director at Rittal, explained: “We understand the principles behind digitalised industry and we have developed a new generation of compact and small enclosures in response. In conjunction with the introduction of our Blue e+ range and the VX25 large enclosure system, this means all our core products have been entirely redesigned, and are fit for Industry 4.0.”
The digital age is increasingly making its presence felt in switchgear workshops with a growing need for automation, greater flexibility and product availability.
Rittal aims to provide effective support for the entire value chain surrounding the production of panels and switchgear - from engineering to ordering to automation.
Its digital product twin delivers high-quality data for the entire design, configuration and manufacturing process. QR codes allow all parts to be precisely identified and assigned. The launch of the AX and KX, brings compact and small enclosures inline with this approach.
For example, the Rittal Configuration System (RiCS) provides customers with a fast and simple system for configuring enclosures, accessories and modifications and an automatic plausibility check helps prevent erroneous choices. The results can be transferred directly to Rittal’s online shop, and this then gives the customer immediate access to both price and delivery date. The data can also be uploaded to EPLAN software engineering software and used for downstream tasks, complete with any modifications. This substantially cuts the time and effort needed for the engineering process.
Once the customer order is received by the Rittal Global Distribution Centre (GDC), it is shipped directly to the customer. The GDC is seamlessly integrated with the nearby, highly automated manufacturing plant, ensuring the timely and reliable shipping of the required items. As a result, all standard products can, where required, be sent to customers based in Germany within 24 hours.
Simple, fast, flexible and safe
The two latest additions to the Rittal enclosure portfolio contain improved features, along with new opportunities for value creation.
The time-savings start at the point of delivery to the customer: panels can be removed individually because there is no need for the usual disassembly work. Doors and cam locks are easier to install, typically without the need for tools.
The wall mounting bracket can be quickly screwed into place from the outside of the enclosure, without impacting the enclosure’s protection rating. This substantially reduces the risk of damage during transit as the brackets, which protrude beyond the sides of the enclosure, can be attached on-site at the final destination.
The AX and KX are more spacious than their predecessors, the AE, CM, KL, EB and BG enclosures.
The rising number of sensors and actuators being deployed in the switchgear industry is, in turn, raising the quantity of cables to be housed. The new enclosure’s modular design - along with improved cut-outs and larger gland plates - creates (on average) a third more space for cables. In addition, integrated locators in the side panels enables the simple, precise and time-saving incorporation of interior installation rails.
As the rails have a 25mm spacing (pitch pattern) the AX and KX can use accessories from the VX25 portfolio, such as lights or terminal blocks. This keeps the inventory of the smaller parts to a minimum, and there is no need for machining.
Safety is a high priority for all Rittal enclosures. Installing components into the AX and KX leaves their protection category unaltered and the same is also true of their UL certification, which is essential for deployment on the North American market. Overall, the new design features make the compact enclosures more robust, and ensure greater resistance in particular to dynamic loads.
Suitable for many requirements
The new product lines provide answers to many varied needs.
KX small enclosures (from 150x150x80mm) are ideal if only a few components are to be housed in terminal boxes and bus enclosures.
AX compact enclosures are between 120 and 400mm deep, with a maximum size of 1,000x1,400mm.
For all models, there is a choice of spray-finished sheet steel or stainless steel. Despite the greater number of potential use cases, the total number of components and accessories, and as a result complexity, has been markedly reduced.