Climate Control maintenance is no false economy…. It’s the key to efficiency

£480,000….

Is a lot of money!  But that is what I was told it costs one of the UK’s largest automotive manufacturers PER HOUR when they experience downtime on their paint plant.  Your overheads may not be as substantial as the above example, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the old adage you hear in every corner of business and production is true:

Time is Money

Regardless of your industry and the product you manufacture, production downtime is a crucial performance indicator to monitor because of the direct impact it can have on your bottom line. More downtime equals increased spares/maintenance costs, taken directly from your profit. This could have been invested to meet more pertinent business objectives, purchasing new machinery etc.. 

When I speak with customers across the UK regarding their attitude towards climate control maintenance, it tends to fall by the wayside on the priority list and there seems to be some main drivers for this thought process:

“I will just fix a problem when it occurs”

In the past, the approach of reactive maintenance was seen as acceptable for most businesses. However times have changed. The key goals of any sized business are now becoming “increased throughput”, “Cost Efficiency”, “Continuous Improvement”.  Potential roadblocks to output targets need to be nipped in the bud and nobody wants to be the one in the morning meeting explaining why yesterday’s targets weren’t met!

The implementation of a semi-regular maintenance schedule doesn’t have to be massively time-consuming. Even something as simple as a weekly visual check of cooling equipment filter mats or any system alarms can alert you in good time to call in the experts, who can then perform a more detailed review for you.

 “My equipment is currently operating and I haven’t serviced it in months/years”

The problem may be “out of sight, out of mind” for now but the longer your cooling equipment is left unchecked, the higher the risk.

For example, if a fan unit is in a dusty environment and the filter mat becomes clogged, this will reduce its effectiveness to cool the electrical equipment within due to a reduced level of air throughput.

This in turn can increase the enclosure internal temperature. As a rule of thumb, for every 10°C you increase your internal temperature, you halve the life of the equipment within and increase the likelihood of an unexpected failure.

“We just open the enclosure door for a while”

This is treating the symptoms rather than the illness. If you are having to resort to a tactic such as using large fans to blow ambient air into an open enclosure you could be doing more harm than good. Not to mention that this is a massively dangerous solution from a health and safety standpoint.

An enclosure’s purpose is to create an environment in which electrical equipment is protected from ambient contaminants. Having the door open allows a constant stream of dirty air to be pulled into the enclosure. This will then gather in switchgear/connection points and can cause short circuits or block on-board fans which will result in damage to componentry, reduced life and possible critical component failure.

If this course of action is required it can point to the fact that the cooling equipment currently employed is not adequate for the installation, or it requires some level of maintenance to bring it back into working order.

A RiAssure FREE Cooling Review from Rittal is perfect in this instance as your local Climate Control expert will perform a short appraisal of your existing equipment, give you honest feedback as to whether the equipment is adequate, and also provide details/quotations for a service contract to suit your ongoing needs.

 “I don’t have the manpower/we have a company who does that work for us”

Many companies I visit tell me that they outsource their servicing to a third party, however I tend to question what checks they are performing, given that I have been called onto site because an enclosure is overheating!

On one occasion, I asked the customer to speak with his current service provider to understand what checks were being undertaken, because his cooling units were in quite a state of disrepair. It became clear after a short discussion that they serviced “Air Conditioning” in the offices and didn’t even look in the factory…

Obviously this is not the case for all service providers out there, however climate control equipment becoming increasingly efficient, while new, sophisticated, cutting-edge technology is launched every year.  The only guarantee of the highest level of checks and service will come from engineers who have been trained by the manufacturers about the technology and its detailed workings.

Rittal has been manufacturing industry-leading climate control equipment for 30 years and all of our service staff are highly trained on the whole portfolio to ensure they can remedy your issues. 

Take the introductory example again and turn the spotlight onto your business. Everyone has budgets and savings targets to hit, so ask yourself, can you afford NOT to have correct maintenance in place?

For more information, email klycett@rittal.co.uk, go to www.rittal.co.uk or www.friedhelm-loh-group.com, or on twitter @rittal_ltd.   

 

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Celebrating 40years of Rittal Ltd UK

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Rittal Ltd is proud to be celebrating 40 years in the UK. We opened our operations in Rotherham in July 1979 where we provide distribution, sales and marketing support for our customers. 

Our Rotherham distribution centre is not the only Rittal presence in the UK. With sites at Canary Wharf in London and manufacturing operations in Plymouth – which recently won the “Manufacture of the year award”, we’re one of the industry’s leading lights for providing solutions for our customers’ needs.

40 Years of innovation

Rittal UK is part of a huge international success story.  Our core product range of enclosures are exported all over the world and are found in more than 90 percent of all industrial sectors. One of our most popular products, the AE Enclosure, has sold more than 35 million units alone.

Rittal’s focus on innovation and reinvention permeates all parts of our organisation, even across long-standing and highly successful product lines. We’ve a determination to embrace Industry 4.0 as well as a customer-first approach to product development.

For example, we developed the VX25 – providing a system that delivers beyond the market’s expectations. We’ve also developed the highly-anticipated and soon to be launched AX & KX range of enclosures. These developments incorporate key elements that support a digital value chain for panel building and switchgear construction.

Seamless Value Chain Enhancements

Rittal, and its sister software company Eplan, have sought to create a seamless value chain for customers through enhanced process steps in engineering, design, work preparation and production.  This approach and the delivery of an end-to-end solution – from design software and digital twins to automated systems for modifying enclosures – means Rittal can give our customers boosted productivity and efficiency across all aspects of the enclosure creation process and beyond.

We’re helping customers to capitalise on the myriad of opportunities that are being created across the global technology sector in automation, the Internet of Things and cloud-based computing.

We’d like to thank our customers and all those who have helped us on our journey – here’s to the next forty years – and beyond.

For more information visit http://www.rittal.co.uk

Celebrating 40years of Rittal Ltd UK

40th anniversary image with bg

Rittal Ltd is proud to be celebrating 40 years in the UK. We opened our operations in Rotherham in July 1979 where we provide distribution, sales and marketing support for our customers. 

Our Rotherham distribution centre is not the only Rittal presence in the UK. With sites at Canary Wharf in London and manufacturing operations in Plymouth – which recently won the “Manufacture of the year award”, we’re one of the industry’s leading lights for providing solutions for our customers’ needs.

40 Years of innovation

Rittal UK is part of a huge international success story.  Our core product range of enclosures are exported all over the world and are found in more than 90 percent of all industrial sectors. One of our most popular products, the AE Enclosure, has sold more than 35 million units alone.

Rittal’s focus on innovation and reinvention permeates all parts of our organisation, even across long-standing and highly successful product lines. We’ve a determination to embrace Industry 4.0 as well as a customer-first approach to product development.

For example, we developed the VX25 – providing a system that delivers beyond the market’s expectations. We’ve also developed the highly-anticipated and soon to be launched AX & KX range of enclosures. These developments incorporate key elements that support a digital value chain for panel building and switchgear construction.

Seamless Value Chain Enhancements

Rittal, and its sister software company Eplan, have sought to create a seamless value chain for customers through enhanced process steps in engineering, design, work preparation and production.  This approach and the delivery of an end-to-end solution – from design software and digital twins to automated systems for modifying enclosures – means Rittal can give our customers boosted productivity and efficiency across all aspects of the enclosure creation process and beyond.

We’re helping customers to capitalise on the myriad of opportunities that are being created across the global technology sector in automation, the Internet of Things and cloud-based computing.

We’d like to thank our customers and all those who have helped us on our journey – here’s to the next forty years – and beyond.

For more information visit http://www.rittal.co.uk

 

All-round hygienic solutions for the meat industry

At the IFFA, the leading exhibition for the meat industry held in Frankfurt, Rittal presented complete system solutions for enclosures, power distribution and climate control technology, appropriate for both hygienic and non-hygienic zones of production.

It included Rittals comprehensive ‘Hygienic Design’ range of stainless steel housings, enclosures and climate control systems, all of which are designed for hygienically sensitive areas of production which need regular wash-down.

During both production and cleaning, this range will shield and protect installed equipment from dust, dirt and powerful high-temperature water jets, by significantly reducing both dead-space and dirt traps where debris can build-up. This guarantees the highest standards of safety at all times by reducing the risk of direct and indirect cross-contamination.  It also makes cleaning easier and more economical, increases uptime and improves productivity, all while contributing to the creation of a hygenic production environment.

Alongside the Hygienic Design range, the company presented the new stainless steel range for universal applications. This included its AX and KX small, compact enclosures (available from autumn 2019) and its VX25 enclosure system.

The new stainless steel VX25 large enclosure system offers the highest levels of corrosion resistance. In addition to the frame structure, doors, panels and gland plate, all the external parts – such as 180° hinges and comfort handle variants – are stainless steel.

While this type of enclosure has IP 55 and NEMA 12 protection categories as default, the optional NEMA 4X version, with its IP 66 protection category, goes one step further.  It means that the electrical and electronic equipment in the VX25 is reliably protected against both dust and splashes – even jets of water.

The new ‘Blue e+’ cooling units are now also available in stainless steel, offering energy-efficient climate control for VX25 stainless steel enclosures, if required.

The new AX, KX and VX25 housing and enclosure systems are also fully integrated into the digital value chain of panel building and switchgear construction.

Besides the high-quality 3D data and configuration tools, QR codes have been placed onto panels which need to be machined.  This simplifies each panel’s integration into the production workflow and allows for efficient monitoring – from the receipt of incoming goods right through to completion.  Added to which, everyone within the supply chain – from the enclosure constructor to the mechanical engineer to the end customer – has access to up-to-date data for the fast ordering of spare parts, economical retrofitting projects or easy planning for plant expansions.

Further information at www.rittal.co.uk and www.friedhelm-loh-group.com or on twitter @rittal_ltd.

 

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Rittal forms global strategic partnership with Atos and Siemens for Edge and IoT initiatives

Global strategic partnership targets IoT environments in smart industries with high real-time data loads. Joint solutions will allow easy and fast implementation of IT infrastructures with powerful edge datacenters (from single rack to turnkey-ready datacenter container)

Rittal announced a new global strategic partnership with Atos and Siemens to develop intelligent edge datacenter solutions for smart industries, smart cities, smart retail, energy & utilities, and public sectors.

The new ‘Intelligent Edge Data Center’ (IEDC) is a highly configurable datacenter solution that enables companies to process IoT data in real-time using solutions such as MindSphere®, the cloud-based, open IoT operating system from Siemens, the new BullSequana Edge computing server and the BullSequana S server from Atos, Atos Codex Cloud Industrial Supervision (CIS) and thus optimize their entire value chain with an advanced data-, analytics solution.

The OT Infrastructure is developed by Rittal and is designed as an edge datacenter: One of the resulting improvements lies in the direct operation at the point of data generation to allow real-time processing of IoT data to enable faster analytics of streaming data and improved industry automation. From the IT perspective, Atos and Siemens’ software applications for IoT and Edge solutions will serve for data collection, computation and data analytics.

Solution for Edge Computing

The IEDC is available in different performance classes, from a wall box or a single IT rack up to a powerful turnkey-ready and scalable datacenter container.

The IEDC is ideal for companies that have already started the digital transformation and need to process large amounts of real-time data in smart production environments or other areas. Further application examples can be found in industries ranging from smart retail to smart healthcare but also in smart cities or in the expansion of 5G mobile networks in which the IEDC can carry out data processing directly at the mobile base station.

The IEDC solution in detail

The IEDC is a secure, highly standardized, industrialized solution. It can run autonomously in non-datacenter environments and there is no need for a white room nor for local IT teams to operate it. The solution comes with Siemens’ MindSphere readiness (an IoT operating system by Siemens) to benefit from IoT dedicated applications both in the cloud or on-premise. It supports the MindSphere architecture running in a cloud-based or an on-premise implementation.

The IEDC embeds the BullSequana Edge server for computer vision and IoT datalake from Atos, Atos Codex CIS software which forms the IoT backbone, but it enables also to inter-connect several other sensors within a single IEDC. The IEDC could be inter-connected to establish a swarm as a meshed edge datacenter network. This enables the progressive deployment of advanced business applications and solutions. The relevant data of each node of the network is available on top-level dashboards used for a deep insight by monitoring, controlling and optimization using advanced analytics.

The following list shows which components are supplied by the individual partners:

• Atos: IT infrastructure such as BullSequana Edge, BullSequana S, Atos Codex CIS, MindSphere (Apps), Atos Business Applications & Services, Predictive Maintenance, 3rd -party AI applications and overall supervision.

• Rittal: OT Infrastructure such as edge datacenter, power, cooling, basic monitoring and safety and housing.

• Siemens: Technical infrastructure such as advanced monitoring and safety, power protection, security and IT-infrastructure like building management system and MindSphere (platform & apps).

“The Intelligent Edge Data Center developed in partnership with Rittal and Siemens is part of Atos’ Edge strategy to move the compute of large amounts of more and more complex data close to the location where they are generated: factories, shops, airports and hospitals. By combining the IT hardware and software developed by Atos and Siemens, together with the infrastructure from Rittal, we’re offering a very successful solution to accelerate customers’ journeys to efficient and powerful IoT Data analytics.” said Emmanuel Le Roux, Senior Vice President, Big Data, Atos.

“The exponential volume of data with heterogonous complexity is putting any kind of organization and industry in front of a massive digital revolution. Only the ones, which will have smart edge infrastructures, enabling compute close to data sources, as extension of cloud infrastructure, will secure their path to sustainable economic or social growth.“, says Bertrand Delatte Head of Data Center Solutions Europe at Siemens.

“The realisation of the digital transformation requires a broad expertise across different competencies. Only a team of technology and competence leaders is capable of developing a truly intelligent and plug-and-play-ready Edge Data Center solution that enables the rapid development of new IT infrastructures”, comments Andreas Keiger, Executive Vice President, Business Unit IT, Rittal.

Availability

The IEDC is available globally from third quarter 2019 onwards, with a strong focus on EMEA and the USA in the first months.

As general contractor, Atos will market the solution as part of its Digital Factory and Smart Infrastructure competence areas.

http://www.rittal.co.uk

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Are your electronics getting you “hot under the collar”?

Businessman pulling his collar.We’re offering users of Enclosure Climate Control a FREE RiAssure cooling review.

Your control equipment is the lifeblood of your business. Without it your production would grind to a halt and cause a myriad of issues!

Enclosure climate control is vital to control the heat inside your enclosure and ensure your critical equipment is running smoothly throughout the year.

Rittal offer our RiAssure service which appraises the suitability and performance of your existing climate control equipment and offers you practical advice to ensure everything keeps running.

Simply e-mail cooling@rittal.co.uk to find out how Rittal can help and claim your FREE inspection survey.

Remember -The costs of downtime, loss of production and system shut-down due to equipment running over temperature can easily exceed £10,000 per hour.

Can your business afford this?

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For more info please visit http://www.rittal.co.uk

 

Digitally supported switchgear engineering

What do American footballers, and the workings of their teams, have in common with system technology from Rittal and Eplan?

More than you might expect.

In short, both operate on an “all for one and one for all” basis.  Both demonstrate how coordinated systems that link together can tap into unimagined potential.

American football is a heady mix of speed, precision and power, with individual players relentlessly pushing their performance to the limit and beyond, all for the good of the team.

Action on the field is now backed-up by digital technology such as play-call plans on tablets and live-data analysis.   This combination of athleticism and tactics has been proven, time and again, to optimise the team performance both in the successes of the system coaches and the enthusiasm of the fans.

It’s an interplay between enclosure system technology and software which can also be seen as comparable with the relationship between Rittal and Eplan.

When companies are planning and implementing systems in line with their requirements, they always have to bear in mind the potential need for future modifications and the importance of cost-efficiency. Rittal and Eplan are continuously developing their individual system portfolios, then combining value-enhancing process steps in engineering, design, work preparation and production to create a seamless value chain.

When it comes to efficiency, it’s always important to scrutinise long-standing processes –  many major innovations have been introduced by using this approach in order to develop solutions that deliver more.

One specific example is wiring. Wiring accounts for the largest proportion of the total time needed to build an enclosure – around 50 percent.

The conventional approach is to prepare each wire in advance, a process that involves cutting every strand to length, crimping it and labelling it, which takes on average just under two minutes to complete per strand.

Thinking Ahead Speeds Things Up

It’s a job that can be considerably expedited if the necessary connections can be factored in at the planning stage, with the ideal routes identified and the required wire lengths also calculated.

The physical execution of everything that has been thought through while the electronics were being designed – the functionally defined electrical connections – can be planned in Eplan Pro Panel.

Thomas Weichsel, Head of Product Management at Eplan, advises, “By linking together engineering and production, companies can create perfectly coordinated combinations of software solutions, system technology, machinery and services.”

The added value this offers is easy to appreciate.  End-to-end solutions give businesses the opportunity to boost productivity and efficiency across all aspects of the product creation process and beyond.

An electrician needs four-and-a-half minutes to replicate an electrical connection shown on a circuit diagram in actual components in an enclosure.  Breaking this down:

  • Just under a third (31 percent) of that time is spent on preparatory work such as reading the wiring schematic and locating the source and target.
  • Another 13 percent of the time goes on preparing the wire itself – working out roughly the right route and length.
  • The remaining 56 percent of the time is taken up by the physical creation of the connection – cutting the wire to length, fitting the cable terminal end, crimping it and installing it.

“More often than not during the wiring process, electricians will flick through the entire wiring schematic several times over to piece together the information they need and flesh it out where necessary,” Weichsel points out.

About a third of the total working time is thus lost on reading and accurately interpreting the documents.

The Eplan Smart Wiring assistance system is designed to simplify wiring. The software uses a digital prototype to provide wiring technicians with all the information they need.

It clearly visualises the wiring process step by step – even on mobile devices, if required.

Weichsel explains, “This leads wiring technicians systematically through their list of tasks,” which clearly makes the otherwise very complex process of wiring much more straightforward.

If you can read, you can wire – there’s no need for classic circuit diagrams anymore,” he advises.

Most users still consider the classic wiring plan pocket to be the go-to repository for all the information and documentation needed for service and maintenance work, including equipment lists, parts lists, terminal diagrams and, of course, a print-out of the circuit diagram.  It’s similar to the play call sheets that quarterbacks consult during an American football game.

However, that’s set to change in the future. A central information management tool is destined to offer end-users, as well as machinery and plant operators, digital access to system documentation. This digital wiring plan folder could allow users with the necessary access rights to view all relevant documents.

The advantages are clear – documentation is securely and centrally administered, available at all times and always up to date.

Clearly identified on a digital basis

The digital documentation is linked to the enclosure by a unique, patented component QR code, meaning that every Rittal enclosure – from the VX25 large floor standing enclosures to the soon to be released KX and AX small and compact enclosures – their components and accessories, carry a unique labelling system such as this when they leave the plant. The code ensures Rittal enclosures globally can be clearly identified.

An app from Rittal can be used to scan the QR code for accessing information on enclosure items or using Rittal Digital Information Management to view the Eplan project for the enclosure or machine.

What’s more, even red-lining scenarios in service and maintenance can be mapped out by linking up to Eplan eVIEW, the new cloud solution from Eplan.

Fully comprehensive solutions for optimising processes in enclosure building will help users make real progress.

That means combined hardware and software solutions, product-related data and holistic services for process integration throughout the customer’s operations.

If all the solutions really come together, the end result is optimisation – whether in enclosure building or on the football field.  In other words, when the whole team pulls together, combines everyone’s strengths and puts the best people in exactly the right positions, it becomes possible to achieve peak performance.

Further information at www.rittal.co.uk and www.friedhelm-loh-group.com or on twitter @rittal_ltd.

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Rittal Unveils New AX and KX Enclosure Ranges

Rittal showcased its new AX compact and KX small enclosures at the Hanover Trade Fair 2019 (Hannover Messe).

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.

Digitalization and automation in the era of Industry 4.0 are creating new enclosure challenges.

“We understand the principles behind digitalized 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,” explains Uwe Scharf, Managing Director at Rittal with responsibility for the IT and Industry Business Units and Marketing.

The digital age is increasingly making its presence felt in switchgear workshops with a growing need for automation, greater flexibility and product availability.

Digital chain “from customer to customer”

Rittal provides 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, such drilling, etc.

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 150 mm x 150 mm x 80 mm) are ideal if only a few components are to be housed in terminal boxes and bus enclosures.

AX compact enclosures are between 120 mm and 400 mm deep, with a maximum size of 1,000 mm x 1,400 mm.

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.

Further information at www.rittal.co.uk and www.friedhelm-loh-group.com or on twitter @rittal_ltd.    

 

#Automation #enclosures #SystemPerfection #AX #KX