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 South Africa, Adrian Buddingh, digitalisation and automation in the era of Industry 4.0 are creating new enclosure challenges. “We have understood the new imperatives of digitalised industry and have developed a new generation of compact and small enclosures in response,” he says.
In conjunction with the introduction of the Blue e+ range and the VX25 large enclosure system, Rittal’s core offering has now been entirely redesigned and is fit to meet the requirements of Industry 4.0. “As the quantity of sensors and actuators installed in machines increases, so too does the number of components and cables to be accommodated within control systems and switchgear. Moreover, the digital age is increasingly making its presence felt in switchgear workshops – with a growing need for automation, greater flexibility and product availability,” he adds.
Rittal provides effective support for the entire value chain, from engineering and 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. With the launch of the AX and KX, the new compact and small enclosures are now an integral part of this approach. “The Rittal Configuration System (RiCS), for example, allows the fast and simple configuration of enclosures, accessories and modifications. Moreover, an automatic plausibility check helps prevent erroneous choices,” Buddingh explains.
Highly automated manufacturing
The AX and KX series are manufactured in Haiger at the world’s most advanced manufacturing plant for compact and small enclosures, recently established in line with Industry 4.0 principles. In South Africa, stock is kept, ordered and serviced and can be modified to meet requirements.
Simple, fast, flexible and safe
The two latest additions to the Rittal enclosure portfolio offer customers improved features and new opportunities for value creation. The AX and KX series offer:
• 30% new functions.
• 30% less assembly time.
• 30% more space for cables.
The time savings begin with delivery to the customer. Panels can be removed individually; there is no need for the usual disassembly work. It is also easier to install doors and cam locks, typically without the need for tools. The wall mounting bracket can now be quickly screwed into place from the outside of the compact or small enclosure without impacting the protection rating.
A further advantage is more ample space available in the AX and KX compared to their predecessors, the AE, CM, KL, EB and BG. “The increasing number of sensors and actuators being deployed in the switchgear industry is, in turn, raising the quantity of cables to be housed. The modular design, improved cut-outs and larger gland plates of these new enclosures create on average a third more space for cables,” Buddingh explains.
In addition, integrated locators in the side panels enable simple, precise and time-saving incorporation of the interior installation rails. “These rails also make use of 25 mm spacing (pitch pattern), therefore it is possible to use accessories such as lights or terminal blocks, from the VX25 portfolio,” he continues.
Safety is a high priority with all Rittal enclosures. When components are installed in the AX and KX, their protection category is maintained without any restrictions. Overall, the new design features make the compact enclosures more robust and ensure greater resistance for dynamic loads.
Suitable for many requirements
The new product lines provide solutions for various customer requirements. KX small enclosures from 150 mm x 150 mm x 80 mm are suitable if only a few components are to be housed in terminal boxes and bus enclosures. AX compact enclosures are available with depths between 120 mm and 400 mm, and in a maximum size of 1000 mm x 1400 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 the complexity, have been markedly reduced,” Buddingh concludes.
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