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Five years of r&d simplifies large enclosure systems

23 April, 2018

After five years of development, Rittal has launched a new generation of large enclosures designed to simplify designs and cut costs through the use of a consistent 25mm pitch pattern and symmetrical layouts. The new VX25 system was unveiled at the Hannover Fair and among the first people to see it were the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the Mexican president, Peña Nieto. Mexico is the Fair’s country partner for 2018.

Because the new frame section in the 25mm grid is also used in the horizontal part of the frame, the enclosure can be expanded more flexibly than well-established TS8 system, which it will replace. The new system is protected by more than 25 patents.

Rittal has invested heavily in production facilities for the system, including automated profiling and series production lines that are using 31 welding and handling robots to ensure quality, precision and stability. Rittal says that the new frame profile, based on a 25mm dimension grid, is much more stable for the same weight than the TS8.

When developing the new cabinet system, Rittal undertook large-scale usability studies at more than 20 control and switchgear manufacturers of all sizes, in Germany, the US and China.

“The user analysis was an eye-opener,” reports Dr Thomas Steffen, managing director of Rittal’s Research and Development operation. “We sometimes recognised problems with the customer, which he himself had not yet noticed.” As a result, 150 requirements emerged for the control cabinets, which were implemented in the new design.

“Never before has a control cabinet system been developed so consistently and systematically for maximum customer benefit,” says Steffen.

Installation components for the vertical frame parts now fit into the enclosure’s roof section and base area. When the enclosures are bayed, the 25mm pitch pattern continues through into adjacent enclosures, allowing rails to be mounted over multiple enclosures. These and other baying options can now be installed with a 40% reduction in the range of punched sections, with or without mounting flanges. This means inventories can also be reduced substantially.

The number of common parts has also been increased significantly, again reducing the number of components and saving storage space. 

The new frame section with a 20mm installation depth provides more space in the enclosure to install components. Depending on the application and components used, smaller switchgear can be used, cutting costs further.

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel (right), was shown the new enclosure system at the Hannover Fair by Rittal's managing director for sales and marketing, Hans Sondemann (left).

Cabinet doors can now be assembled and disassembled by one person, without needing any tools. The doors are simply hung on their hinges, which have been designed so that the door is secured automatically when closed, avoiding unnecessary lifting.

Electronic locking systems, which are increasingly being used to enhance safety, can be retrofitted. There is no need for subsequent machining of the door because the bushings needed for the cables are included.

Several innovations have been implemented when joining up enclosures in bayed suites. The new baying system needs far fewer parts. Because all of the screws are mounted in the direction of the bay, assembly is also said to be much simpler. A new snap-on baying seal ensures that IP ratings are maintained when baying.

Dr Steffen believes that the new large enclosures will answer the market demand for “a control cabinet that shortens throughput times in engineering and assembly, reduces complexity, and integrates itself as a fully-fledged building block in the megatrend of digitisation”.

In keeping with one the themes of Industry 4.0, Rittal will offer digital twins for the new system. “Only the combination of a real control cabinet and its digital twin will fulfil all digitisation requirements in future ­– from online configuration and engineering to assembly, automation, logistics and maintenance,” says Steffen.

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