National Customer Service Week: Aiming for the best in customer service

The ICS’s National Customer Service Week, is a week-long opportunity to raise awareness of customer service and the vital role it plays in successful business practice and the growth of the UK economy.

Rittal are again embracing the week – which takes place from 2 to 6 October – and will aim to recognise and celebrate what we do on a day to day basis to serve our customer needs.

We have a commitment to delivering excellent customer service at every stage of the customer journey, and the week will help us to not only reflect on what we’ve done but look ahead to how we can get better. This is part and parcel of and how seriously we take our customer relations and why it is such an important part of our business.

With this aim in mind during National Customer Service Week each day will have a customer service related theme to aid discussion and thought leadership.

Monday – Voice of the Customer

Tuesday – Rising to the Challenge

Wednesday – Getting the Board on board

Thursday – Unlocking your potential

Friday – Reward and recognition

It promises to be a week of insight, reflection, shared experience and hopefully a little fun. It will provided the perfect opportunity to galvanize our efforts around our customer service mission.

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http://www.rittal.co.uk

 

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Rittal’s Solutions for Centralised or De-centralised Automation

We live in a world of rapid change, driven by the growth of ‘smart technology’. Automation components are becoming more compact, both for centralised and decentralised applications, while still delivering considerable computing power. Sensors and actuators are also getting more ‘intelligent’. Packing components into an enclosure is a science and an art. The engineer must plan the interior configuration to reduce wasted space and optimise the size of the enclosure, yet avoid issues such as over-heating or problems of future access to any of the components.

Rittal offers customers a range of solutions for the safe packing of sophisticated electronics systems, both centralised and decentralised.

As well as a huge range of enclosures in different sizes, materials and paint specs, employing the company’s sophisticated Eplan software allows engineers to populate the panel in a CAD format, optimising the use of space while enabling changes to be made quickly and easily before applying them in a workshop.

Rittal “Therm” Speeds-up Climate Calculations

Component size is typically determined by the space needed for terminals, connectors, and clamps, as well as their accessibility for commissioning, servicing, and maintenance. As components get smaller, enclosure packing density is increasing. Furthermore, new functionality such as power management, networking etc, means that additional components are being put in all the time.

Paul Metcalfe, Rittal’s Industrial & Outdoor Enclosures Product Manager comments: “Reducing the size of individual components has not had a noticeable effect on the available space within enclosures, mainly because this is largely determined by the arrangement of the DIN rails, cable ducts and other components. Components are frequently installed in groups and space can only be marginally optimised by individual components.

“We would caution that where space is taken up by smaller components, users should review climate control because higher packing densities increases the overall risk of hotspots. The good news is this doesn’t have to be a laborious task because Rittal’s “Therm” application performs the calculation of climate control in its entirety, providing users with appropriate and correctly dimensioned solutions.”

Components in Distributed Systems

Major distributed systems are commonly found in the petro-chemical industry and conveyor systems. They employ less technically advanced enclosures to house control equipment in a separate room, however, the cost of cabling to connect to the machinery can be high.

Rittal’s range of enclosures includes models with high IP ratings in sheet steel, stainless steel or plastic, designed to protect the equipment housed in it. This means that, rather than putting the control gear in a separate room, all the control gear can be next to the machine itself.

This offers cost savings around the amount of cabling needed and this type of locally-employed enclosure distribution is often more efficient because of the specialist protection it provides the equipment against dust and oil.

In other, highly-sensitised environments such as the food industry where hygiene standards must be met, users now have a choice of both the materials used and the enclosure design, in order to prevent contaminants being deposited and simplify cleaning.

Compact Machines and Decentralisation

In decentralisation, the focus is around making machines as compact and centralised as possible to make it easy to commission them. Machines can be assembled as complete transportable units, however, the control technology for the machines needs to be in the right place. This can be done either by machine-integrated standard enclosures or through appropriate integration in the body of the machine.

Paul advises: “We have products, accessories and expert advisors who can advise around protection category, heat dissipation, EMC (electro-magnetic compatibility) and the corresponding installation regulations/requirements, which all have to be taken into account.”

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

 

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Rittal Drives Standardised “Open Rack” technology

More than three per cent of the total global electricity output is now consumed by data centers, and the sector is one of the fastest-growing users of power today.

In response, the recently launched Open19 Foundation has brought industry leaders together to help develop a new proposition based on standardised, modular IT infrastructures, higher efficiency, reduced costs, and greater flexibility.

Rittal, the largest rack producer in the world, is now a member of the foundation and will be working with other representatives to push the innovative approach forward.

Driven by the Microsoft subsidiary, LinkedIn, along with global vendors such as HPE and GE Digital, the Open19 Foundation was launched in May 2017 with the aim of making data centers more cost-effective, more efficient and more flexible.

The concept of open source design is based on standardised architecture for computer and storage components within a standard 19-inch rack, in which the components from different manufacturers are compatible with each other.

“Energy costs continue to rise, which means we need to explore all available avenues for greater efficiencies as a part of our commitment to support our customers. Joining the Open19 Foundation will enable us to help shape future, innovative rack design”, says Jason Rylands, Global Director, Data Center and Open Compute Solutions at Rittal.

Yuval Bachar, who chairs the Open19 Foundation says, “The Open19 Foundation is a fast-growing community of companies across a wide range of data center and edge ecosystems.

“We are very pleased that Rittal, as a global player in the market, is now a member of the Foundation.”

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Standardised Design at Lower Cost

One of Rittal’s first initiatives since joining Open19 has been designing the inexpensive and quickly applicable Open19 rack, based on the standard 19-inch rack.

The company will also in future be supporting the Open19 ecosystem, including promoting innovations both for existing data centers and for changing customer requirements.

“As a member of the Open19 Foundation, Rittal is now even better positioned to meet the needs of the data center market. These include the growing number of hyperscalers, colocation providers, as well as telecommunication convergence and edge computing,” Rylands added.
Standardisation for a Shorter Time-to-Market

One benefit of the innovative Open19 architecture is the use of direct current to supply the servers.

Electricity is distributed via a special cable harness connected to the power shelves, while the DC power supply ensures energy efficiency. The standardised, modular configuration cuts the time-to-market and its scalability enhances the flexibility in the data center.

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

Rittal Air Circuit-Breaker Supporting System

 

Rittal, the leading global provider of industrial enclosures, power distribution, climate control and IT infrastructure, has developed a new busbar supporting system for air circuit-breakers.  The system has been developed to enable 4 x 120 mm x 10 mm coppers to be secured safely to the top and bottom of the air circuit-breaker.

It has been carefully designed to ensure ease of use, maxiumum convenience and faster fitting for system integrators.

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The support, which is suitable for 600 and 800mm wide enclosures, is quick to install within Rittal’s Ri4Power modular switchgear systems, speeding up the time needed for installing air circuit-breakers in Ri4Power. With only part number to order it simplifies the ordering process and reduces stocking levels for the panel builder.   

Installation instructions are straightforward and there is clear guidance on the spacing of the support enabling verification up to 100 kA Icw for one second. 

The new system has been tested in line with IEC 61439 and can be used with all leading circuit-breaker manufacturers’ products up to 4000 amps.

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

See us at Offshore Europe – Stand 3C190

Protecting Critical Equipment – That’s the message Rittal will be taking to this year’s Offshore Europe event.

Rittal – The System is rapidly becoming the Energy and Power industry’s first choice for protecting critical equipment, by optimising physical work space and minimising the effects caused by conditions in offshore environments.

System enclosures: From small and compact enclosures to modular solutions including enclosure climate control

  • Fibreglass reinforced plastic enclosures: IP66 rated for general purpose applications
  • Stainless steel and HD units: Ideal for use in highly corrosive environments
  • ATEX rated EX enclosures: Hazardous area applications such as refineries and offshore installations.
  • IT solutions: Standardised server racks and network enclosures including scalable IT cooling concepts
  • Reliable power supply: Modular power distribution systems

See us on the Eplan stand C190 at Offshore Europe to find out more

Offshore Europe: Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre: 5 – 8 September 2017

Silhouette of an offshore oil drilling rig

 

Contacts in No Time

Wires and cables routinely have to be connected to copper busbars when manufacturing control gear and switchgear systems.

The conventional approach is time-consuming and uses screw clamps or fixed conductor connection clamps.

But help is at hand, thanks to the launch of a new range of maintenance-free conductor connection clamps from Rittal.  The clamps utilize push-in technology, providing users with a fast, easy and secure method for connecting conductors to busbars.

Rittal’s push-in clamps also have a whole host of other advantages as well as extremely quick and easy cable connection.  They are maintenance-free and can be used for many different types of conductors.

Connection Clamps

Rittal has developed a new generation of conductor connection clamps enabling panel builders and switchgear manufacturers to connect cables and wires directly to busbars.

The new push-in conductor connection clamps are available in two clamping ranges, 0.5–4 mm2 and 1.5–16 mm2, and for copper busbars, 5 and 10 mm thick in each clamping range.

The push-in conductor connection clamps enable quick and easy attachment to the busbar. The stripped end of the conductor is connected to the busbar simply by pushing them together, and the connection is held securely in place with a separate spring mechanism. The spring optimises conductivity by removing oxide layers that have formed on the busbar. And optimal contact is maintained by the integral contact block with its defined and raised contact points.

You can achieve quick and easy connections with solid, multi-wire and ultrasonic welding conductors and also fine wire conductors with wire end ferrules and twin wire end ferrules.

The clamp can reduce issues such as incorrect compression/torques and loosening while its maintenance-free design improves reliability and keeps running costs down.

The conductor connection clamp can be used for numerous applications, such as connecting protective and neutral conductors to busbars or as short circuit-resistant voltage taps on the copper bars of a main busbar system. It is also possible to make string distributors or distributor blocks with a large number of connector clamps for outgoing cables.

Thanks to its numerous UL and IEC certifications, the new conductor connection clamp is suitable for use worldwide including in maritime and offshore applications. It is currently tested by ABS, DNV-GL and LR, and approvals are planned to be completed by September.

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

 

Calculating the Value of Automation

When it comes to processing panels, CNC machining centres, such as Perforex from Rittal Automation Systems, are light years ahead of the alternative, manual approach when it comes to productivity and efficiency. In fact, machining centres speed up processing by as much as 66 percent compared to the traditional hand-tooled method.

Now, a new web-based Return on Investment (ROI) Calculator helps customers accurately gauge how quickly a Perforex will take to pay for itself before they place the order – and they may be pleasantly surprised by what they find!

Perforex machining centres from Rittal Automation Systems are tailored to the challenges of switchgear manufacturing. They are ideal for the automated production of bore holes, cut-outs and threads in mounting plates, enclosure doors and side panels.

All the mechanical processing steps in the preparation of enclosures for population – including drilling, thread cutting, and milling of cut-outs – which are so time-consuming, cost-intensive, and error prone, can be accomplished in a single work step.

Programming a job into the machining centre takes just minutes, and is either on the basis of simple, component-oriented workshop programming, or using imported CAD data from either Rittal’s software system Eplan or DXF imports from any other CAD platforms. Any programme setting can be saved for future, identical jobs, speeding up work-flow even more. Furthermore, once done, engineers are free to work on other tasks, maximising team efficiency and business output.

Perforex systems are suitable for all materials typically found in switchgear, including steel, aluminium, copper and plastics.

Moreover, an automatic tool changer allows multiple tasks to be performed in a single operation, without the need for human intervention.

Work Out Your ROI – at the click of a Mouse

The new Rittal online calculator demonstrates how a Perforex system can deliver a rapid and tangible return on investment even for low production volumes.

Customers simply enter the typical manufacturing quantity, current machining cycle time, and labour rates per hours, and the web-based tool computes the corresponding payback period for a variety of Perforex models.

Proven efficiency gains under real-world conditions

When the directors of Peterborough-based panel builders Pneumatechnique Ltd were looking at ways to improve efficiency and offer better production consistency they turned to Rittal and its automation systems for switchgear construction. Pneumatechnique’s aim was to find ways to lower both overheads and operational costs.

Following a detailed assessment and recommendations made by Rittal’s expert team, the decision was taken by Pneumatechnique to install a Rittal Automation Perforex CNC machine. It was quickly identified that the capital expenditure could clearly be outweighed by the cost savings and the Perforex installation became a “no-brainer” as part of the investment project.

Adam Wilson, production manager at Pneumatechnique advises: “This project has seen a lot of investment not only in money but in time; it has involved a great deal of hard work. The final result is an excellent fit for us and we are now offering customers something they can’t do.”

Going forward, Adam advises that, “the Perforex system has opened up a number of new routes to market. What’s more this system looks like it will offer us the opportunity go way beyond the targets we have set for it.”

Thanks to their new, higher levels of productivity, the team expects the machining system to pay for itself in just 12 months. To find out more, go to

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http://www.rittal.com/roi-calculator.

http://www.rittal.co.uk

 

Climate control in the food industry

Climate control of enclosures using water cooling is highly efficient, especially if there is already a central cold water supply available in the production plant. The new Hygienic Design air/water heat exchangers from Rittal are ideally suited to the food industry, where hygiene standards are exceptionally stringent.
Hygiene is an absolute must in the food industry: machinery, plant and components must readily withstand daily cleaning with pressure washers and jet steam cleaners. All surfaces must also be easy to clean, and/or designed to prevent contaminants from adhering to them.
Use water cooling to dissipate heat
Liquid cooling of enclosures offers a number of benefits: Because water has a higher thermal capacity than air, liquid cooling can dissipate large quantities of heat. What’s more, industrial environments often already have a central cooling water supply available that can be used for enclosure cooling. All that’s left to do is to mount suitable air/water heat exchangers on the enclosure. With Hygienic Design, it is particularly important that no air exchange takes place between the enclosure and the environment.
Rittal has revamped its air/water heat exchangers, and can now offer its clients in the food industry two variants of Hygienic Design. Air/water heat exchangers for wall mounting can supply cooling outputs of either 0.65 kW or 1.2 kW. The hygienic design reduces the risk of contamination in the food industry, thus helping to ensure product safety.
Modified design
Rittal has modified the design of Hygienic Design in a number of respects.
For example, the attachment to the enclosure wall using threaded bolts and nuts has been designed so that the screw fastening is not visible from the outside. The enclosure is made from stainless steel with a brushed grain size of 400, producing a surface roughness Ra of less than 0.8 μm. The smooth surface finish is easy to clean and disinfect. There are no hard-to-clean gaps where contamination could collect.
The silicone seal between the enclosure and the case prevents the transfer of colourants, flavourings and unwanted odours. The seal eliminates gaps between the air/water heat exchanger and the enclosure which would be difficult to clean.
The seals are available as spare parts, and are easily replaced in the event of mechanical damage. The seals are dyed blue in accordance with FDA Guideline 21 CFR 177.2600, making them clearly distinguishable from contaminants such as food residues. The flat seals on the water connection fittings are likewise dyed blue, and geometrically designed to sit flush against the shape of the fitting. A metal end stop prevents compression of the seal, so that edges cannot protrude and allow contaminants or micro-organisms to accumulate.
Tested hygiene
The top of the enclosure tilts forwards by 30 degrees. This prevents objects from being placed on top of the enclosure, while at the same time ensuring that liquids, such as detergents and disinfectants, run off quickly.
Air/water heat exchangers have protection categories of IP56/59, meeting the demanding requirements of pressure washing and steam cleaning.
The air/water heat exchangers have C-UR and CSA approval, making them suitable for international use.
The Hygienic Design was tested by the DGUV Food department testing and certification agency in accordance with GS-NV 6 (test principles for hygiene). The devices comply with standard DIN EN ISO 14159:2008 and are suitable for use in the food sector in conformity with DIN EN 1672-2:2009.
Further information at http://www.rittal.co.uk and http://www.friedhelm-loh-group.com or on twitter @rittal_ltd.

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Are Your Enclosures Ready for the Summer?

Rittal is warning users of manufacturing automation systems to check that they are prepared for the summer heat and, if necessary, arrange for an inspection of their equipment to check the level of risk.

High temperatures are the most common cause of sensitive electrical and electronic components tripping or even failing.

A failed electrical device can cause major disruption to production which could cost a company hundreds of thousands of pounds per hour.  The cost of catastrophic equipment failure is even higher, because it means an extended period of downtime while replacement products are sourced and fitted. 

Jason Swann, Rittal’s Product Manager for Climate advises: “Electrical equipment generates lots of heat.  Add to this the ambient heat from the rising summer temperatures and your enclosure will start to reach a critical point of overheating without sufficient cooling. What would you do if the equipment that manages your production line – your PLCs, drives and controls – failed due to inadequate or inappropriate cooling?  Can you afford to take the risk.”

Inverter drives are used within electrical equipment because they are very effective at reducing the amount of energy used – which means lower production costs. Assuming an efficiency of 97 per cent, a 250kW drive can produce up to 7.5kW of heat, much of which is retained inside the enclosure in which it’s installed. Therefore without adequate cooling heat will rise.

The life expectancy of components is hugely affected by excess heat.  An electrical component’s life expectancy is reduced by 50 per cent for every 10°C increase in the ambient temperature. So keeping an expensive Inverter drive cool, prelongs its life, reduces the risk of failure and saves you money.

Planning Climate Control

Rittal offers the following list of questions to check if there may be a problem brewing:

  • Is your equipment tripping or failing due to high temperatures?
  • Is this having an impact on production, in that it’s either slowing or stopping completely?
  • When you walk around your shop floor, do your enclosures feel hot to the touch?
  • At the height of summer, are your enclosure doors regularly left open and do you need large fans blowing into your panels to cool the devices inside them? This also presents a health and safety risk!
  • Does inadequate chilling of process fluids result in production down-time?
  • Would your existing cooling solution benefit from a health check?

Any “yes” responses suggests a thermal survey could be a sensible next step.  Rittal’s expert team can provide a RiAssure3 survey and if necessary advise on the best solution.

Jason explains: “A RiAssure3 survey will identify the likely risk of a system overheating.  The survey will review any existing cooling solution and determine how suited it is to that particular working environment. If necessary, it will then provide recommendations around remedial action – for example, changes to the system’s service and maintenance regime to help improve its efficiency or the recommendation to invest in different climate control technology.

“Our engineers will always offer their advice from the perspective of functionality, energy efficiency, ease of installation, service and maintenance, based on real-life data measured on site.”

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Protecting Control and Automation Equipment

Which cooling solution is installed ultimately depends on the amount of heat produced inside the panel and the environment in which it’s installed.  It must be specific to a particular application.

The main considerations centre around whether the enclosure is located in a cold or hot environment, if that environment is clean or dirty, and to what degree.  Conditions may also change over the course of the working day, week, month or year, so the final selection of an appropriate cooling solution may not be entirely straightforward.

Jason continues: “Enclosures that are placed in a cool and clean environment may find fan-and-filter units are more than adequate, given a single device provides more than 4 kW of cooling in ideal conditions.  However If the air is dirty, it is still possible to take full advantage of low ambient temperatures by using energy efficient air-to-air heat exchangers to provide any necessary cooling.”

For applications that require the temperature inside the enclosure to be lower than that outside it, a refrigerant based solution may be the best option.

The new Blue e+ cooling unit range from Rittal, with capacities up to 6kW, can operate in ambient temperatures up to 60°C yet also provide free cooling when the external air is cooler due to the innovative use of hybrid technology.

Air-to-water heat exchangers may be used in even hotter conditions and the water delivered to a remote location in which the heat, up to 10kW from one unit, may be dissipated more effectively and with less effect on the temperature of the surroundings.

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