- Register




06 November 2012

Consulting editor Andy Pye reviews the extensive range of design aids available from Rittal to help system designers select the right enclosure and optimise its performance

Computer users are familiar with wizards for many purposes, including software installation. Rittal’s Configurators are similar, in that they allow the user to quickly specify key parameters for their design and receive an optimum solution for the problem. Online configurators are available for many ranges of Rittal enclosure and housings, including Optipanels, the so-called comfort panels that fit between a housing and horizontal or vertical surfaces, support arms, subracks and modular safes.

The online subrack configurator is no longer limited to only those units shown in the catalogue, and now includes all the subracks possible from the parts in the product range, meaning that around 1000 different combinations are available for merging into a printable bill of materials which can be submitted directly for a quotation. More accessories have also been included, so it is possible to configure a complete system with mounting for horizontal boards in a minimal height subrack.

The configurator also allows the inclusion of different mounting options for either rack-mount or desktop, optional covers to direct airflow or for protection, with many other variations. It is available free of charge online.

The system allows the configuration of individual prototypes for the Human Machine Interface (HMI), by utilising a simple selection process.

On completion of the configuration a visual presentation and 3D CAD model can be displayed, which can then be imported into machine or plant design.

The configurator automatically provides a list of questions, via a selection menu, from which the prototype is built according to the selected details. The selection process starts with size and installation details, followed by specifics such as cooling fins, design strips, cable entries, rear panel and other accessories. An intelligent consistency check is included to ensure configuration is completed without any errors.

Once completed, the configurator identifies and presents the selected Comfort Panel design in full detail, complete with technical data and precise product description. This information can then be printed or a quotation requested.

The Comfort Panel Configurator can be docked in the RiCAD 3D database, which is available online and actively supports plant designers and Eplanners during the control and switchgear design phases.

Available for download (a two hour download on my system!), the RiCAD 3D database includes both 2D and 3D drawings in the five most common CAD formats (DWG, ProE 2001, ProE Wildfire, Solidworks and STEP) for virtually all Rittal products, together with an extensive range of system accessories.


All electric and electronic components lose a certain amount of energy in the form of heat discharged into the environment.

As more and more components are crammed into smaller and smaller spaces nowadays, the heat produced rapidly reaches values that are harmful to the electronic components and can severely reduce their lifespan.

Rittal Therm (or RITherm) is a calculation program for the climate control of enclosures. The laborious calculation of the climate control requirement is assumed completely by the Therm software. An easy-to-use interface leads the user to the appropriate and correctly dimensioned air conditioning component.

All assessments are based on the specifications of IEC/TR3 directive 60890 AMD 1 and the DIN directive 3168 for switching cabinet cooling devices. At the end of the calculation, detailed documentation is provided, along with an estimate of the internal enclosure temperature without cooling measures and possible solutions.

A free RiTherm App is also available from ITunes, which provides a compact variant of the full software version and enables fast selection.

Yet more detailed calculations are available using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation. In electronics, CFD is used for thermal design problems of simulation, analysis and design optimisation for PCBs, microprocessors with heat dissipation, computer enclosures, mains connections and telecommunications. The user can simulate thermal conditions within the enclosure and select the right climate control components for highest operational reliability of electronics, based on temperature, pressure, and flow speed at every point in the calculated space.

Finally, Rittal’s Power Engineering planning software or low voltage switchgear enables a suitable switching device to be selected early in the design process that bears the current needed by the circuit. The protection category and the mounting location within the unit are also taken into account. The software provides the appropriate design verification, and check-lists, with which the switchgear manufacturer can check all the requirements that have to be considered during the planning and performance stage.

Key Points

  • Rittal’s Comfort Panel Configurator allows the configuration of individual prototypes of HMI
  • Rittal Therm (or RITherm) is a calculation program for the climate control of enclosures