Enclosures, Cabling & Connectors


Rittal invests in new global smart factory

Technews Industry Guide: Industrial Internet of Things & Industry 4.0 Enclosures, Cabling & Connectors

Investing in the future, Rittal’s new plant in Haiger embraces the principles of Industry 4.0. The company has made its largest single investment, totalling €250 million, to establish an advanced facility for its new compact and small enclosures. The highly automated manufacturing processes, in conjunction with the neighbouring distribution centre, enable seamless order fulfilment, guaranteeing rapid availability of standard products and accessories.

This bold investment ensures that all subsidiaries, including Africa, benefit, with managing director for South Africa, Adrian Buddingh, saying that by putting Industry 4.0 into practice globally, the company looks to advance smart manufacturing locally as well. “As the world’s leading provider of solutions for enclosures, power distribution, climate control and IT infrastructure, as well as corresponding software and services, we are creating a smart factory – the world’s most advanced production plant for compact and small enclosures,” he adds.

Owner and CEO of the Friedhelm Loh Group, Professor Friedhelm Loh elaborates: “The plant is to be fully aligned with highly efficient Industry 4.0 principles. The new manufacturing site will also safeguard future competitiveness for our customers and our own business. The investment is a positive statement in terms of the regional economy and the 290 jobs at our Haiger plant. We have quite consciously decided to shape the future with the people who made us what we are today.”

The new factory halls, with 24 000 square metres of floor space, will soon house more than 100 high-tech machines. Together they will manufacture some 9000 AX compact and KX small enclosures daily, processing approximately 35 000 metric tons of steel annually.

Manufacturing in a smart factory

The equipment in Haiger will be highly automated, producing individual work pieces and assemblies with exceptional efficiency. In the past, individual steps such as cutting to size, edging, welding and painting were transactional, sequential and independent of one another. In the new era, all workers, machines and materials will be integrated into the manufacturing execution system. At the end of the process, the individual assemblies are automatically merged and a QR code is applied. This enables identification as well as the further processing by the customer.

The machines and handling systems communicate with each other and also with higher-level control systems via modern industry 4.0-capable communication networks. Materials and components will be moved by means of 20 AGVs. Packaging, marking and transfer to the distribution

centre iw also performed automatically. Knowledge-based ‘learning’ systems will enable predictive maintenance, preventing faults from occurring and minimising downtime.

Automated order management and fulfilment will guarantee ongoing availability of standard products and accessories in the nearby global distribution centre, creating an end-to-end digital process chain, from configuration and engineering to final shipment of the end-product.

Digital value creation

Rittal will be manufacturing the new AX compact and KX small enclosures at the new plant. Digital transformation has created new challenges in terms of the products themselves, the operating environment, and its availability. The company has therefore rethought and redesigned this offering in line within the imperatives of Industry 4.0. Rittal provides effective support for the entire value chain for 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. Following the successful launch of Blue e+ cooling units and VX25 large enclosures, the AX and KX products are now an integral part of this approach.

The Haiger facility is a showcase for the real-world implementation of Industry 4.0 and will act as a role model for Rittal’s international operations. It will also be a pioneer and reference for Rittal’s own products and services in terms of the IIoT.

Blue e+ cooling units enhance the increase of energy efficiency and are integrated into the monitoring and energy management systems via the IIoT interface. The entire machine park permanently provides data from the control system and the current operating states. Production systems in the new factory are an ongoing source of actionable data on their operational status.

In future, this information will be collected in an onsite edge data centre and analysed using powerful applications developed by sister company Innovo.



Credit(s)



Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Cable locator for failsafe cable fault diagnostics
May 2021, Comtest , Enclosures, Cabling & Connectors
What sets the UAT-600 Series apart from other underground locators is its CAT IV 600 V safety rating.

Read more...
Pratley develops another cable gland world-first
April 2021 , Enclosures, Cabling & Connectors
Pratley is well-known in the market for producing world-class electrical termination products.

Read more...
Legrand’s Starfix ferrules, crimping tools and applicators
May 2021 , Enclosures, Cabling & Connectors
Legrand’s Starfix ferrules, cable crimping tools and applicators are designed for new installations and renovations in commercial installations, offices and domestic environments.

Read more...
Monitoring for control cabinets
September 2020, Turck Banner , Enclosures, Cabling & Connectors
The IM18-CCM is particularly suitable for OEMs wishing to provide basic condition monitoring values in their IT system. It detects critical states of the control cabinet directly in the field.

Read more...
Automated marking of terminal strips
August 2020, Phoenix Contact , Enclosures, Cabling & Connectors
The Mark Master terminal strip marking system from the Phoenix Contact ClipX product range uses patented high-speed technology for the fast and efficient processing of marking tasks. In control cabinet ...

Read more...
Rittal’s range of compact and small enclosures
August 2020 , Enclosures, Cabling & Connectors
After more than 50 years and 35 million enclosures sold, Rittal has introduced its small and compact enclosures in the form of the AX and KX series. According to managing director of Rittal South Africa, ...

Read more...
Fast IT rack launched in South Africa
July 2020, Rittal , IT in Manufacturing
Introducing a new generation of IT racks Conceived as a universal modular system, the VX IT has been designed for all common applications and its versatility makes it suitable for use as a network and ...

Read more...
New range of compact enclosures
April 2020, Rittal , Enclosures, Cabling & Connectors
After more than 50 years and 35 million enclosures sold, Rittal has introduced its small and compact enclosures in the form of the AX and KX series respectively. According to managing director of Rittal ...

Read more...
SMC offers services as well as components
April 2020, SMC Corporation South Africa , Enclosures, Cabling & Connectors
Besides being a leading supplier of industrial automation components, SMC South Africa also offers value-added services. One of these is in-house control panel design and construction. This takes a labour ...

Read more...
Enclosures with modular design
April 2020, Vepac Electronics , Enclosures, Cabling & Connectors
CamdenBoss CNMB DIN rail enclosures, feature a modular design. Terminal guards and top covers can be snap-fitted for a quick and simple assembly. PCBs can be placed into the DIN rail enclosure in five ...

Read more...