How can the best be made even better? This is the question that Rittal asked itself as it began developing a new enclosure system. “The market needs an enclosure that cuts throughput times in engineering and assembly, reduces complexity and that finds a place for itself as a full-grown module in the megatrend of digitisation,” said Dr Thomas Steffen, Managing Director Research and Development at Rittal. And he went on to say that “the new Rittal large enclosure has now become 100 percent Industry 4.0-capable. With the combination of a real enclosure and its digital twin, the new development will meet every future digitization needs – from online configuration and engineering to assembly, as well as automation, logistics and maintenance.”
Study: observe, listen and learn
Intensive dialogue with Rittal customers was crucial in developing the new large enclosure system. During a large-scale, scientifically based usability study, researchers used words, images and moving film to document the everyday working life of control and switchgear manufacturers, covering ten companies in Germany, eight in the USA and six in China, including small, medium-sized and large companies. “This user analysis was an eye-opener. In some cases, we spotted problems that the customers themselves hadn’t yet identified,” said Dr Steffen. As a result, 150 systematically recorded and specific requirements for a new enclosure emerged, providing developers and product managers with a robust guide for the actual development work. Rittal also used the findings of the customer advisory council, which was also involved, to complement this. Later, during the development phase, Rittal did not give up any single essential point.
The result: Pure customer benefits!
The development culminated in the new VX25 large enclosure system. VX25 stands for the versatility of options, the fulfilment of x customer requirements and for perfect symmetry through a consistent 25-mm pitch pattern. “What is new is that no enclosure system has ever been previously developed so consistently and systematically to ensure maximum customer benefit. The VX25 matches the way the control and switchgear manufacturer thinks and works – both in functions and processes, added Dr Steffen.
Customer benefit along the entire value chain of control and switchgear manufacturing can be summarised in three key points: maximum data quality and a constant supply of data, reduced complexity and savings in time, as well as safe assembly.
Patents: a high degree of innovation
The heart of the innovation is the newly developed frame section. It determines the installation space, the efficiency in engineering and assembly, the expansion options, the stability and thus the reliability and flexibility in the customer’s workshop. With the new large enclosure system, it has been possible to maintain all the important and established product features of the existing, worldwide TS 8 large enclosure system and to expand them significantly with a multitude of new functions and customer benefits. More than 25 registered property rights demonstrate the high level of innovation involved.
Production: maximum quality
For Rittal, SYSTEM PERFECTION also involves high-tech manufacturing. It has invested in new state-of-the-art production facilities in order to manufacture the new frame section of the VX25. New and fully automatic profiling systems and volume production lines with a total of 31 welding and handling robots are witness to maximum quality combined with precision and stability. The result is that the frame section of the VX25, which has a consistent 25-mm pitch pattern, is clearly more stable than its TS 8 predecessor, although the weight is the same.
Rittal, headquartered in Herborn, Germany, is a leading global provider of solutions for industrial enclosures, power distribution, climate control and IT infrastructure, as well as software and services. Systems made by Rittal can be found in more than 90 percent of all global branches of industry, including mechanical and plant engineering, food and beverage production and in IT and telecommunications.
The wide range of products from the global market leader includes configurable enclosures, whose data is available throughout the entire production process. Intelligent Rittal cooling solutions with up to 75 percent lower energy and CO2 consumption can communicate with the production environment and enable predictive maintenance and service concepts. Innovative IT solutions ranging from IT racks and modular data centres through to edge and hyperscale computing solutions all form part of the portfolio.
Leading software providers EPLAN and Cideon complement the value chain, providing interdisciplinary engineering solutions, while Rittal Automation Systems offer automation systems for switchgear construction. Rittal delivers within 24 hours in Germany – precisely as needed, flexibly and efficiently.
Founded in Herborn in 1961, Rittal is the largest member company in the owner-operated Friedhelm Loh Group. The Friedhelm Loh Group operates worldwide with 18 production sites and 80 international subsidiaries. The entire group employs more than 11,500 people and generated revenues of around €2.5 billion in 2017. In 2018, the family-owned enterprise was named one of Germany’s leading employers by the Top Employers Institute, for the tenth year running. Within the scope of a Germany-wide survey, Focus Money magazine identified the Friedhelm Loh Group as one of the nation’s best providers of vocational training for the third time in 2018.
For more information, visit www.rittal.com and www.friedhelm-loh-group.com.
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