Rethinking enclosures to face digital demands
Small or compact enclosures from Rittal protect sensitive control electronics systems across the globe, building from this Rittal has recently completely revised its product range, focusing on the opportunities and demands arising from digitalisation.
The new AX compact and KX small enclosures not only offer customers numerous assembly advantages - as part of the Rittal System, they also hope to offer new perspectives for continuous digital value creation.
Here, Emma Ryde, Rittal’s Product Manager for Industrial and IT Enclosures, responds to customer questions about the new product ranges.
Rittal’s compact and small enclosures are already market-leading; why redevelop them?
Our customers’ requirements are rapidly changing. Fierce global competition, a shortage of skilled workers and, finally, digitisation all demand a new way of looking at our entire order processing and manufacturing processes, as well as the product itself.
We never stop innovating; we always strive for more and better, and we are consistently improving our systems by seeking regular feedback from our customers.
Are there other benefits to switchgear manufacturers?
Very much so. We’re always looking to improve the working environment of our customers. This starts with the order process.
Rittal’s Configuration System allows customers to prebuild their cabinets using a digital twin. This allows them to configure a cabinet with relevant accessories, which then provides customers both with a Bill of Materials, and a 3D model of their final cabinet for future reference. Customers have the option to upload their own modifications for the panel or can use the configurator to create cut-outs. The data from the configuration system can then be directly downloaded for machine processing.
There’s also delivery itself; standard AX and KX products are available from stock and can be delivered within 24 hours.
With the new KX and AX systems, all panels such as the doors and gland plates are supplied loose in the packaging. This means that the customer does not have to dismantle them first; a time-consuming chore, especially with bulk products such as compact and small enclosures.
These components can then be processed on a machining centre in the switchgear manufacturer’s workshop, using the data that is already available through the configuration.
Afterwards, each door and gland plate must be assigned to the corresponding project again. QR codes containing the project data have been applied by default to every part, in order to make this process easy.
Do these enclosures have specific attributes suitable for companies working internationally, such as UL approval?
Our new compact and small enclosures are all UL-compliant, and this is maintained even if additional Rittal accessories are installed in the enclosures. So, for example, the accessories can be installed in the AX compact enclosures without the need to drill any holes.
The same goes for the wall-mounting brackets. It means that the protection category is maintained and the approvals are met.
Does the new enclosure range feature the great range of accessories used in the earlier range?
Absolutely, in fact the range has been expanded to incorporate a larger range of internal rail systems. These are compatible with our VX range (to simplify things).
We have also introduced new gland plate options in order to try and reduce the need for any modifications to the gland plate to allow for cable entry into the cabinet.
We want to make installation as easy as possible, and one way is to eliminate as many modification processes as we can for the customer so that they can build panels more quickly and cost-effectively.
Are there any new addition to the range?
Yes, we have included a variant that incorporates a 19” rail system.
We are increasingly seeing a cross-over of IT and 19” rack-mounted equipment in industrial environments. An increasing number of companies are opting to put some of their IT and data equipment closer to the actual production facility, in order to deliver real-time data. That requires them to configure an IT install within an IP-rated industrial enclosure. With the new glanding options, our standard offering on this enclosure is a brush-strip gland plate, but this can be swapped with any of our other standard solutions.
We have always had 19” IP-rated enclosure ranges in floor-mounted variants, as well as in our larger wall-mounted, three-part cabinets but until now, we haven’t had a standard smaller cabinet that could be IP rated, so this is an exciting step forward.