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Keeping costs to a minimum

16 August 2017

Organising the interior of an enclosure can pose quite a challenge for switchgear manufacturers. There are a large number of components that need to be arranged with typically short project times. Paul Metcalfe, Rittal’s product manager for enclosures reports

A quick rundown of the equipment an enclosure contains includes power distribution systems, switchgear, automation components, clamps etc, and their requisite cabling. Placing all this logically within an enclosure is an art and a science!  It has to be easy-to-follow for end users, adhere to relevant standards and in line with manufacturers’ installation instructions.

The longer it takes to configure the interior, the greater the cost pressures on the electrical engineering company.

Enclosure design

Not surprisingly, the design of an enclosure has a considerable bearing on how quickly it can be fitted out. 

Rittal’s TS 8 enclosure has a central element - a frame section with a uniform 25-mm pitch pattern – which adds to the flexibility of the space for electrical equipment and reduces “wasted space” to a minimum. Two other mounting levels can be included and the external mounting level provides up to 15 per cent more available space compared with single-level alternatives.

The gaps between the bayed enclosures can be used to create more space, simply by inserting a mounting plate infill between two TS 8 bayed enclosures.  This space can also be used for a cable duct. 

Well thought-out installation concepts save time

Faster installation generally equates to happy clients and lower costs.

While some systems require two people to install them there are others that only need one installer. The TS 8 is constructed so the side panel can first be suspended from the enclosure and then fixed without having to be held by a second person. Other assembly steps (for example, changing the door hinges) follow the same principle.

The TS 8’s Flex-Block base removes the need for tools - panels can be simply clipped on. The base itself can be assembled in under 60 seconds.

Go online for the perfect configuration

Configurators are an indispensable tool for helping customers find the right product quickly for their needs. These online tools help users precisely determine the necessary parameters, select the appropriate solution, and automatically compile technical data. Rittal’s TopTherm chiller configurator helps designers and technical buyers to put together machinery and process cooling systems. It provides precise estimations of the required cooling output, rapid identification of the best solution and generates the technical specifications.

Safety

Finally, the number one priority is always safety.  Fault currents (short circuits) and enclosures which become “live” could cause serious harm. 

In low voltage switchgear all the metal frame and enclosure parts at risk of stray voltage have to be earthed.  Many enclosure manufacturers require each individual panel to be earthed through earthing straps of copper wire. The straps ensure there is an equalisation of potential and components can be earthed via the protective conductor of the voltage supply.

If a strap is forgotten the finished switchgear will still be able to function despite the risks

Each strap is attached by hand during enclosure assembly. Unfortunately if a strap is forgotten the finished switchgear will still be able to function despite the risks it now poses caused by a fault.

For this reason, the industry needs to move towards built-in safety, avoiding the need to earth each individual panel.

The TS 8’s side panels, enclosure roof, rear panel and gland plates are all automatically connected to the frame conductively, creating potential equalisation.  The enclosure uses special claws or washers which press through the surface coating of the panels during assembly to achieve a reliable contact.  An earthing strap then only needs to be attached to the enclosure door – although the final decision about attaching additional straps is left with the user.  Contact resistance between the panels and the enclosure frame is less than 0.1 Ω, the value demanded by the DIN EN 62208 empty enclosures standard.

Key Points

  • The longer it takes to configure the interior of an enclosure, the greater the cost pressures on the electrical engineering company
  • While some systems require two people to install them there are others that only need one installer
  • Configurators are an indispensable tool for helping customers find the right product quickly for their needs

 
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