The launch of AX and KX marks a step-up for Rittal’s top-of-the range AE enclosures. Thirty-five million AE enclosures have so far been made and sold to customers around the globe over the past 50 years.
But even this enormous success, doesn’t stop Rittal wanting to make improvements in-line with market developments. The company’s focus on continued innovation, aligned with a determination to improve on even best-in-class products, has led to this latest redesign.
The changes come in response to the opportunities and challenges being presented by digitalization and automation in the era of Industry 4.0.
“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. Emma Ryde, Product Manager for Industrial and IT Enclosures, answers all your questions on the new products.
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.
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 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.