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Streamline the panel building process

Streamline the panel building process

Control system and switchgear engineers face enormous time pressures today, a difficulty further complicated by the numerous manual steps involved in manufacturing one-off solutions. Here, Rittal’s Mark Guest argues that Implementing easily assembled enclosure systems and intelligent software solutions can enhance efficiency.

Control and switchgear manufacturers are looking for ways to improve productivity. And they find them by leveraging the latest machining technology to increase automation in their value-creation processes. To this end, a variety of automation solutions exist that help to accelerate individual manufacturing tasks, and they can be scaled to a business’s size, and tailored to its specific imperatives.

In addition to enclosure systems and software solutions, Rittal Automation Systems now also provides the machining and handling technology needed for time- and cost-efficient production in the control and switchgear manufacturing business. The portfolio ranges from manual tools to fully automated machining centres.

To optimise the machining of panels and enclosures in the workshop and boost efficiency, Rittal supplies Perforex machining centres, which have been developed specially for control and switchgear manufacturing. These systems are used to drill holes, tap threads and perform milling work on workpieces – on an automated basis. All the materials commonly used in enclosures can be machined, such as steel, stainless steel, aluminium, copper, various plastics and other machinable materials, mounting plates, chamfered and coated doors, covers, console plates, casings and much more besides.

The user interface of the Perforex system makes workshop programming easy to learn and supports remote servicing. The software is network-capable and uses a central database. All programmed workflows are thus immediately available on the machine and can be reused. Alternatively, almost all standard CAD and e-planning systems can be used for programming.

Fast and accurate machining

A further key development is the new Perforex LC 3D laser centre. As its name suggests, it uses laser technology to quickly and accurately machine panels, but also entire enclosures and housings. The 3D laser technology is ideal for machining stainless steel, sheet steel and powder-coated plates such as enclosure doors, side panels, etc. Coated sheet metal parts, even with delicate contours, can also be cut without causing any noticeable damage to coatings or discolouration.

Perforex LC 3015 is cost-effective when machining just 150 stainless steel enclosures or 300 sheet steel enclosures per year. It machines stainless steel twenty times faster than conventional milling processes and can process five enclosure surfaces simultaneously in a non-contact, low-vibration manufacturing process. The laser centre also features user-friendly workshop programming, has interfaces for Eplan Pro Panel and gives users the option of processing the neutral DXF format.

The manufacturer also supplies the Secarex cutting centre, which is designed to cut cable ducts, cable duct covers and support rails to size quickly, accurately and safely. Thanks to the automatic length stop and cut visualisation with laser pointers, it is now possible for protracted and complex measuring processes, inaccurate cutting and complex handling to be consigned to the past. High-performance tools deliver better quality, optimised waste quotas, lower costs and a faster overall process.

Wiring all the components in an enclosure is a complex process that is prone to errors. Rittal Automation Systems is tackling this problem head on and offers ‘Smart Wiring’, a solution provided by Rittal’s sister company Eplan. This new software tool is used to provide production systems with all the information needed for wiring such as wiring routes, etc. It also visualises this data. Users save a great deal of time compared to manual wiring. And for the first time, Rittal’s offering now includes a crimping machine for cutting and assembling cables. For the very highest level of wiring, Rittal offers the fully automatic Averex wiring robot for large-series production.

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