Audi Plant Acts as Testbed for Cabinet Cooling Systems

Tests at an Audi factory have shown that an alternative form of cabinet wiring can cut internal temperatures, extending the life of critical components inside the cabinets. As Lütze’s cabinets product manager, Michael Bautz, reports, the reduction was greatest at hotspots that are critical for many components.

While the components used in control cabinets are generally becoming smaller, their heat dissipation is increasing and cabinets are getting hotter. More efficient cooling systems obviously help, but the way the cabinets are wired can also have an effect.

One approach to cutting heat levels is to separate the heat-emitting components from the cabling using a wiring frame rather than using conventional mounting plates and trunking. This directs cold air downwards to the rear of the cabinet and then to the front and up again, creating a cool zone to the rear, where most of the cabling is located. A permanent circulation of air is generated between the warmer wiring at the front and the cooler wiring at the back.

A look inside the control cabinet test setup at Audi Hungaria in Györ: with an
AirSTREAM wiring frame (left) and conventional mounting plate (right).
Traditional v’s Alternative Cabinet Cabling Technologies

An Audi engine factory in Hungary was recently used as a testbed to compare the traditional and alternative cabinet cabling technologies. The plant, in Györ, includes automated production lines that press valve seat rings and valve guides into the cylinder heads of V6 Otto engines. The test involved two of the site’s production systems, each using four control cabinets with the same construction.

The cabinets are 2000mm high and 600mm deep. Three cabinets in each system were 1200mm wide, while the fourth was 600mm. For the test, one of the four cabinets in each system was monitored. The first cabinet was equipped with a conventional mounting plate and was cooled using an air-conditioning system with a 1.5kW heat loss. In the second cabinet, the mounted components were separated from the wiring using a wiring frame – Lütze’s AirStream system.

The AirStream cabinets don’t use trunking that might impair airflows and were cooled using 1.45kW heat exchangers. The relative power losses of the two cooling systems was a minor factor because the cold air came from the roof. Instead, the study focused on verifying the effect of guided air inside the control cabinet.

In the alternative system, the air circulates freely, unlike in cabinets with conventional mounting plates. Measurements were carried out over two days and taken for six hours at a time with ten sensors recording ambient and internal temperatures. The power consumption of the two systems was not examined because it was assumed that the clocking was identical.

Measuring Temperatures at Critical Points

Temperatures were measured at critical points in the cabinets – e.g. components with high heat losses. After the air-conditioning system was started in the cabinet using the mounting plate (about 40 minutes after the production start-up), the temperatures fluctuated between 29°C and 43°C. The temperature measured between a contactor and the trunking was 38.5°C – 42.5°C, indicating an air blockage, while the temperature between a Siemens Simatic ET200S I/O system and a cable duct was 36.5°C – 38.5°C. At the air intake of the air-conditioning system, the temperature was 33.5°C.

The trunking hotspot remained just within the tolerances because the system is designed for an external temperature of 38°C and a maximum internal temperature of 42°C. In the cabinet with the new wiring frame, temperatures were measured after the heat exchanger had started to operate (a maximum of 37 minutes after the production start-up). The temperatures fluctuated between 30°C and 34°C. The temperature between a contactor and the ET200S in this cabinet was measured as 31°C – 33.5°C, while between the ET200S and the terminals it was 32°C – 33.5°C. At the air intake of the heat exchanger, the temperature was 29.5°C.

If the temperature of the air at the outlet of the heat exchanger was identical to the temperature of the air-conditioner, the curves would rise linearly. Despite this, the air is not layered as happens when a mounting plate is used. Hotspots in the new wiring frame system were barely detectable. When the cabinet incorporating the wiring frame was tested, the ambient temperature was 23.9°C – some 1.9°C higher than when the cabinet with the mounting plate was tested. If the external temperature had been the same, the cabinet with the wiring frame would have been 1.9K cooler and the curves would have been even lower.

The Conclusion

The tests demonstrated that using a wiring frame can achieve noticeable cooling and a consistent climate inside control cabinets, protecting installed components from the heat & increasing their life expectancy. Further improvements could be achieved by routing cool air to minimise hotspots around components with particularly high heat losses. Further analysis using Lütze’s online AirTemp application also reveals that air-conditioning wouldn’t be needed using the wiring frame. Assuming an ambient temperature of 25°C and that 70% of the components would be operating at the same time, fan-based cooling would be sufficient.

Looking for More Information? LC Automation Can Help With That…

For more information download the Lutze AirStream Wiring System Catalogue or Lutze Airstream Compact – For Compact Control Panels.

Lutze also have an excellent white-paper which looks at the background information and theories you need to consider when thinking about the temperatures in your control panels. You can download Thermodynamic Considerations for Control Panels here.

If you have a specific question or would like to discuss cooling in your control panels, please call LC Automation on 01254 685900. Our Technical Support Engineers will be able to help you select the best solution for your application.

A Safe Take-Off – Rittal Blue e+ chillers used in aircraft manufacturing

Aircraft manufacturing. Before a brand-new A320 can be put to work ferrying holiday­makers to sunnier climes, the aircraft has to pass some serious testing at Airbus. However, it isn’t just the aircraft that needs overheating protection to make sure it runs like a dream – the testing hardware needs proper protection, too. Airbus uses Blue e+ cooling units from Rittal to keep its testing facilities in top condition.

The two Airbus workers sit on stools in the cockpit of the Airbus A320, as the pilot seats have yet to be installed. Through the cockpit windows they see not clouds, but 4 monitors displaying the “ground test instructions” they need to work through.

However, the first tests start much earlier. As soon as the fuselage sections of a new aircraft have been assembled, the cables are laid there – and tested. All along the various assembly stations, all newly installed components and systems are immediately tested to ensure they are fully functional. Depending on the configuration of the aircraft in question, the full set of tests for an A320 can take around 400 hours to complete. The majority of these are carried out in Jacobs’ department. Fuelling, taxiing, take-off and landing together with various flight manoeuvres are all simulated on the final assembly line. “Our engineers could fly the aircraft, even though they’re not pilots,” the Head of Ground Testing points out. All functions that are essential to flight safety on the Airbus must be 100 per cent reliable. Only when an A320 has passed all these tests with flying colours can it be sent for delivery and take off from the runway at the Airbus plant in Finkenwerder on its maiden flight.

Simulating Operation

The tasks carried out on the final assembly line include the complete fit-out of the cabin. “Once again, we check everything – from the headphone sockets and in-flight entertainment screens on each individual passenger seat right through to the coffee machine in the galley,” says Jacobs. Testing all the onboard functions requires high-performance hardware that is connected up to the sensors and actuators of the aircraft and used to run complex simulation programs. A total of three computers are needed for the simulations. Each computer is equipped with additional hardware that links up to the components in the aircraft. Lengths of cable as thick as a human arm reach from enclosures containing the simulation computers to the insides of the aircraft. This makes it possible to simulate parameters such as engine speed and the signals from the speed measurement devices. The computers also capture output signals, primarily voltages and volume resistance.

Left: An ice-cold marathon – Cooling units in the Blue e+ range run continuously and stop hardware from overheating. Right: Digital view – No stunning aerial vista for the engineers: Monitors are mounted in front of the cockpit to display the ground test instructions.

Airbus developed the simulation computers, which are installed in a Rittal enclosure on the test bench, in-house. The hardware generates a lot of heat when in use and therefore needs to be cooled – the voltage transformers in particular, which are needed for the connection to the components in the aircraft, can get very hot. “In the past, before we started using active cooling systems for the computers, they often crashed during the summer,” Jacobs recalls. Given how tightly and carefully coordinated the production schedule is at Airbus, that simply could not continue. The enclosures were fitted out with active climate control systems in 2006 to avoid precisely such downtime. Today, there are 28 of these test stations in the Airbus plant, all similarly configured. What’s more, all are fitted with Blue e+ cooling units from Rittal to protect the sensitive hardware from overheating. The reliability of the Blue e+ units is particularly important to Airbus. “If the cooling systems for the simulation computers were to fail, we wouldn’t be able to conduct our tests,” Jacobs points out. The test bench is in use at least five days a week in double-shift operation. “We switch on the cooling units in the morning and they run with absolute reliability,” he says. The cooling systems at the test benches are monitored and, should a unit still somehow fail, a warning light comes on to alert staff.

Guaranteed Energy Efficiency

The idea to upgrade to the energy-efficient Blue e+ cooling units came about while working on energy management for the ISO-14001 certification. Rittal Support gave Airbus crucial assistance during this process, as Jacobs explains: “Thanks to the energy efficiency calculator, we were able to work out in advance how much energy we would save by upgrading to the new cooling technology.”

Well-timed maintenance is crucial to ensuring the cooling units run reliably and efficiently. The main causes of failures are critical component statuses and external influencing factors. Networking the units with the IoT interface ensures the condition of all cooling units is reported to overarching systems. Maintenance teams can then promptly plan the necessary measures and carry out the work at the most appropriate time. These benefits can be taken to the next level in the future by linking up to Rittal’s Smart Service Portal. The networking between the devices and continuous status monitoring ensure critical operating statuses can be identified early on.

The senior managers at Airbus were also impressed by how user-friendly the cooling units are. All parameters can be adjusted easily, using the two buttons on the control panel, and the display depicts status and error messages in clear language. “The quality is right and the customer service we get from Rittal is excellent,” Jacobs concludes. Based on this positive experience, the test benches at the Airbus sites in the USA and China, which are configured in exactly the same way, are also being retrofitted with the new Blue e+ cooling units.

Predictive Maintenance Can See The End of Unplanned Downtime for Food and Beverage Companies

With any unscheduled downtime being a cause of major headaches for food and drink manufacturers, John Rowley of Mitsubishi Electric highlights how predictive maintenance can provide the solution and how easy it is to implement.

With food manufacturers being continually squeezed on price by retailers and asked to fulfil orders for supply that can seem, at best, challenging and at worst highly unrealistic, improving productivity is a priority. Tight timescales mean many lines are already running on a near 24/7 basis, leaving little leeway even for scheduled maintenance, let alone an unexpected breakdown. This can lead to overcautious service and maintenance regimes, which are expensive to support, but preferable to unscheduled downtime which is the worst possible scenario.

Short supply or delayed delivery due to plant failure damages a business’s reputation and impacts on the relationship with the customer. And as many food and beverage manufacturers find to their cost, customers such as supermarkets can’t support empty shelves, which makes them very demanding customers indeed.

How to avoid grinding to a halt

Let’s not forget as well, that many production line failures are not characterised by a sudden fault that results in immediate line stoppage. Often it is a gradual degradation that impacts on product output. That means before the line eventually grinds to a halt, it might have spent a considerable period producing inconsistent goods – that add to the bottom-line cost of the issue, due to waste.

So we can see that both unscheduled downtime and the developing causes of that downtime both impact directly on productivity, with a direct link to increased costs. The impact of unpredictable downtime is endured right across the food and beverage industry.

The good news is that random equipment failure – leading to unscheduled, emergency repair – doesn’t have to be a fact of life. Modern condition monitoring sensor technology can be easily retrofitted to rotating plant and equipment, while many of today’s plant and machine controllers have advanced monitoring and diagnostics functions built in, ready to use.

Taking advantage of these technologies can quickly take food and beverage companies into the realm of predictive maintenance, where businesses can see advanced warning of impending equipment failure, with enough time to plan repairs during scheduled maintenance periods rather than being hit with an asset failure out of the blue.

Mitsubishi Electric’s SCM kit provides an integrated approach to monitoring the condition of individual assets and enables a holistic approach to be taken to monitoring the asset health of the whole plant.

Evolving from preventative to predictive maintenance

A conceptual and technological leap forwards from preventative maintenance, intelligent predictive maintenance ensures an asset is serviced only when needed, not based on routine helping to increase both productivity and efficiency. Predictive maintenance spots equipment problems as they emerge and develop, providing ample warning of impending failure, and so helping to maximise asset availability. They also help combat inadvertent neglect; humans are generally very smart, but not 100% of the time, and situations change, as do staff, taking knowledge built-up over years with them.

Importantly, these predictive maintenance solutions are not complex; frequently they are simple and cost-effective to implement, and often they can be built from functions that already exist within the plant’s control equipment.

Take, for example, the add-on sensors that have been developed to monitor the increases in operating temperature, excessive current draw, changes in vibration characteristics and significant shifts in other operating parameters that can all be indicative of impending problems in rotating machines. Today these sensors come with embedded ‘smart’ functionality, revolutionising condition monitoring.

A simple add-on to pumps, motors, gearboxes, fans and more, these sensors used a simple traffic light system of red, amber and green lights to provide at-a-glance monitoring of the condition of the machine. In addition to this they can also be connected into wider factory automation networks using Ethernet and a managing PLC for a smarter solution.

From traffic lights to telemetry

In isolation sensors offer a great start point to implementing preventative maintenance strategies, but of course there are limitations to the traffic light warning system. While it indicates that a problem is developing, it gives no real clue as to what the problem might be or just how serious it is; it offers no practical recommendations as to how the problem should be addressed; and while it shows problems developing on individual machines, it fails to provide an overview on the asset health of the plant.

It is these limitations that Mitsubishi Electric has addressed with the Smart Condition Monitoring (SCM) solution. The kit provides an integrated approach to monitoring the condition of individual assets and enables a holistic approach to be taken to monitoring the asset health of the whole plant. Individual sensors retain the traffic light system for local warning indication at the machine, but at the same time information from multiple sensors is transferred over Ethernet to a Mitsubishi Electric PLC for in-depth monitoring and more detailed analysis.

The SCM kit provides a plug-and-play solution for machine condition monitoring. Sensors can be added to machines as and where required, with a simple teach function allowing the sensor and controller to learn the normal operating state of the machine, generating a memory map of key parameters. Once set up, the SCM provides 24/7 monitoring of each asset, with functions including bearing defect detection, imbalance detection, misalignment detection, temperature measurement, cavitation detection, phase failure recognition and resonance frequency detection.

Linking multiple sensors into the control system enables the controller to analyse patterns of operation that are outside the norm, with a series of alarm conditions that can provide alerts when attention is needed. The SCM analysis provides detailed diagnostics, offers suggestions for where additional measurements should be taken, and provides maintenance staff more precise error identification. It can even make recommendations as to what rectification actions should be taken, with clear text messages presented to personnel. Further, this information can be networked to higher-level systems for ongoing trend analysis across all the assets around the plant.

Muntons Malt demonstrates how it should be done

Looking at a practical example of the technology in action, Muntons Malt, one of the UK’s largest producers of malted barley is reaping the benefits of the SCM system to protect fans and motors vital to its large-scale and sensitive production process. The operation team had previously experienced issues with difficult-to-reach bearings inside a large fan housing, realising too late that a problem existed, and was forced to make an unscheduled stop to one of the lines to make repairs.

Determined to learn from this, Muntons Malt installed the SCM system on two large 315kW fan sets and a single 90kW fan set, referencing the electric motor, power transmission coupling and main fan shaft bearing on each. The company is now extremely conscious of the health of the fan sets and has a very clear picture of any maintenance way in advance of needing to make physical alternatives. Remote monitoring and fast diagnosis of any issues has also made the company very reactive should the operating parameters that have been set, even be approached.

Muntons Malt, one of the UK’s largest producers of malted barley is reaping the benefits of the SCM system to protect fans and motors vital to it’s large-scale and sensitive production process.

With the technology, live information and any alarms are displayed on a GOT Series HMI mounted in the control enclosure. The system can work autonomously of any other automation, with multiple sensors located and recognised by unique IP addresses. However, at Muntons Malt the visual information as well as the alerts were connected into the existing automation software platform.

This ease of connectivity illustrates further advantages of today’s condition monitoring technologies, which can provide immediate, visible alarms anywhere in the world on smart devices. For multi-site businesses, this can aid in quickly changing over production schedules from one plant to another to fulfil the most pressing orders or can alert remote maintenance teams of the need to perform more detailed diagnostics.

The information might already be in your drives

This information isn’t just coming from external sensors. Modern drives, PLCs, SCADA systems and other automation products have comprehensive diagnostics capabilities inbuilt, monitoring not only their internal workings but also parameters such as current draw, voltage & temperature in connected motors, pumps, & fans. All of this helps to build a detailed picture of the health of plant assets.

And with a simple plant network backbone, this information can be shared around the plant and beyond. Indeed, this sort of functionality is a key aspect of Industry 4.0 and is at the heart of the benefits of the digitalisation of production.

We can see, then, that predictive maintenance strategies can offer comprehensive analysis on the health of individual machines as well as a holistic overview on the health of the wider plant. The result is vastly improved scheduled maintenance and optimised asset lifecycle management. With maintenance able to be planned in-advance, there is far less unscheduled downtime and significant reductions in the loss of service at short notice. Also when assets are serviced only when needed, food and beverage producers can benefit from increased productivity and efficiency, with a very real impact on the bottom line.

Carpigiani: A Recipe For Gelato Success

What can make ice cream even better than it already is? IoT connectivity, of course.

Ice cream equipment manufacturer Carpigiani is scooping out added value, sales growth and exceptional customer service experience with help from Telenor Connexion’s IoT solution. How did they do it? 

Watch the video to get the story directly from their customers.

Background

Italian-based Carpigiani is a market-leader in the manufacture of machines for gourmet gelato. Over 10,000 ice cream machines are manufactured every year, and exported mainly around the world to customers spanning from small ice cream shops to multinational fast-food brands.

Factors like heavy usage and hygienic requirements give rise to recurrent maintenance and costly downtime. Carpigiani solved this problem for their customers through optimised maintenance on actual usage, via a connected after-sales service monitoring system called Teorema.

Teorema was initially launched in Italy and Germany, and a local provider was appointed to handle the connectivity solution.

Challenge

As Carpigiani expanded it’s service offering geographically, the administration around having a connectivity supplier for each country soon became a real problem for Carpigiani. It was clear the company needed a global provider. Carpigiani had 3 key criteria when selecting the right partner: global capacity, flexibility and price.

Solution

Telenor Connexion provided Carpigiani with a global IoT solution that was tied to over 400 mobile networks globally and which uses a global SIM. This solution enables Carpigiani to standardise their production, and facilitate their various product models, regardless of wherever in the world it will be sold or used.

The data generated from each machine is used to comprehensively analyse the state of the equipment. This allows Carpigiani to deliver a consistently high, predictive customer service experience.

Results

Relying on Telenor Connexion’s IoT Managed Connectivity solution, over 8,000 Carpigiani machines, comprising 300 product models, are now connected to Teorema. More machines are planned to be connected shortly. Today, Teorema is being offered to customers as part of an extended all-inclusive warranty service called Teorema4U.

As Carpigiani continues to evolve their smart IoT services on a global scale, they are working closely with Telenor Connexion to incorporate emerging markets for connected ice cream machines. One key market is Asia.

The Telenor Connexion IoT Managed Connectivity solution continues to remove barriers to Carpigiani’s sales growth. And is enabling Carpigiani to deliver a truly innovative global service to customers around the world.

Great Value Telenor SIM Cards from LC Automation

With prices from just £7 a month, there are lots of good reasons why you should only use specific M2M SIM cards in your Remote Access or IIoT applications. Click here for more details.

Telenor Connexion Passes 10 million Installed SIM Cards

Telenor Connexion, a leading IoT supplier claims that it has passed 10 million installed SIM cards.

Click here to see our Telenor Range.

Telenor Connexion, the dedicated IoT unit within Telenor Group, has experienced an accelerating growth rate during the last years, with 3 million SIM cards shipped in 2017 alone, said the Company. Recently the company reached 10 million deployed SIM cards.

The number of connected products from Telenor Connexion in the world now exceeds the number of Telenors traditional mobile subscriptions in Scandinavia.

Trusted by Major International Brands

Telenor Connexion specialises in advanced or international use cases for enterprises with large fleets of devices. Customers are found in a variety of industry verticals and include Volvo, Hitachi, Husqvarna, Scania, Verisure Securitas Direct and many more.

Telenor Connexion is headquartered in Sweden but the vast majority of the devices are deployed internationally. During the last years Telenor Connexion has built up a partner ecosystem, enabling partners of all sizes to collaborate efficiently to offer customers a complete IoT solution, including hardware, connectivity , data analytics, business applications, and other services. In 2017, new partners such as Amazon Web Services, Capgemini, SECO and HMS came on board.

One of the Top 10 IoT Operators World Wide

A recent report by analyst firm Berg Insight, specialising in the IoT industry, ranks Telenor among the top 3 IoT operators in Europe and among the top 10 IoT operators in the world. The company was recognised in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Managed M2M Services, Worldwide, both in 2016 and 2017.



This post was originally written by Ray Sharma, a news editor at The Fast Mode. For further information click here to see our Telenor range.

German Innovation Award For The Rittal VX25 Large Enclosure System

The VX25 large enclosure system from Rittal has won the 2019 German Innovation Award. The German Design Council honoured the innovative large enclosure system on May 28 as the winner in the “Excellence in Business to Business/Machines & Engineering” category.

Fit for Industry 4.0 and award-winning: With the VX25, Rittal has launched the first enclosure system specifically designed to boost productivity in panel building, switchgear manufacturing and in Industry 4.0 value chains.

The Award Recognises User-Centric Innovation

With the German Innovation Award, the German Design Council (set up by Germany’s Parliament, the Bundestag) honours pioneering innovations that are having a lasting impact and offering users added value. Nearly 700 international submissions were received. The winners were chosen by a world-class jury of physicists, patent consultants, computer scientists, financing specialists, product designers, technology historians and marketeers.

“User-centricity represents the key to the evaluation of the innovations submitted. It is the distinguishing feature of the German Innovation Award,” explained Andrej Kupetz, the German Design Council’s General Manager. “It is particularly successful when future users are involved in product and design development at an early stage.”

The Award Winner: Enclosure System For Digital Process Chains

“We are delighted that such a renowned institution as the German Design Council has honoured the innovative power of our own VX25 with this award. Specifically, the main focus of the jury on user centricity coincides precisely with Rittal’s approach to product development. The success of the system, the feedback from our customers and honours such as this award also prove that we are on the right track”, added Dr Thomas Steffen, Managing Director Research and Development at Rittal.

Intensive dialogue with customers was crucial in developing this large enclosure system. Developers and analysts conducted a large-scale scientific usability study that tracked day-to-day operations at panel building and switchgear manufacturing companies. The VX25 ‘ticks’ like enclosure manufacturers think – in functions and processes”, added Dr Steffen.

The VX25 offers the highest possible quality and consistency of data, reduced complexity and savings in time, as well as safe assembly. More than 25 registered property rights demonstrate the high level of innovation involved.

“The launch of the award-winning large enclosure system was a milestone that was then followed with the brand new AX.KX compact and small enclosure series. With the Blue e+ cooling unit range that had previously been presented, our core product portfolio has now been updated and is fit for Industry 4.0. Together with our sister company Eplan, we are thinking deeply about the entire value chain of panel building and switchgear manufacturing and we are supporting our customers with optimisation and digitalisation”, Dr Steffen concluded.

Special Mention: Blue e+ Cooling Units

The Blue e+ cooling unit series was also nominated for the award in the same category as the VX25. It was given a “Special Mention” at the awards ceremony. Blue e+ has been the most efficient commercially available industrial cooling system since 2015. It works with a new combination of heat pipe and compressor. Application data shows average energy savings of 75 percent compared to conventional systems. The lower temperature deviations within the enclosure increase the service life of the components installed. The IoT interface is predestined for a variety of Industry 4.0 applications, up to and including predictive maintenance.

The Organiser: The German Design Council

The German Design Council (Rat für Formgebung) was established on the initiative of the German Bundestag (the German parliament) in 1953 and promoted by the Federation of German Industries (BDI). For 66 years now, the foundation has been pursuing the goal of promoting the competitiveness of German companies. The German Design Council, with its competitions, exhibitions, conferences, seminars and publications, is making a decisive contribution to the dissemination of knowledge about design, innovation and brands. More than 300 German and foreign companies currently belong to the circle of patrons.



For further information on the Rittal VX25 Series Enclosures 
see the Rittal range on our website or call LC Automation
on 01254 685900.

In Times Of Uncertainty, Make the Most of your Assets

It’s safe to say that there is a great deal of uncertainty at the moment; something which is being felt not just in the UK but in many countries across the world.

In these circumstances, the best thing that businesses can do is protect their existing assets. It’s fundamentally important to ensure that all assets perform at an optimum level during their entire service life, and for an organisation to continue its journey towards increased efficiency and reliability so that it can remain competitive in a changing marketplace.

In the industrial space, a company’s lifeblood is its machinery and all machinery has critical components such as its electrical drives, motors etc. without which any very expensive robotic arm is nothing but a very elaborate statue, collecting dust. So it’s imperative that electrical equipment is housed within a protective environment, to ensure it operates to it’s full potential. 

A protective environment takes the form of both high quality enclosures and correctly prescribed climate control equipment. The two items work together to safeguard your equipment from the following:

High Temperatures Impact the Lifespan of Equipment

Prolonged high internal temperatures reduce the lifespan of your equipment. This will mean an increased chance of unplanned breakdowns, increased costs and reduced production output.

Furthermore, your equipment cannot work at 100% output once its maximum operating temperature has been exceeded, which means you will experience an overall reduction in your machine’s efficiency and reduced manufacturing output.

To prevent high temperatures being reached within the enclosure, correctly sized enclosure cooling products should be installed. This could be fans and filters, cooling units or air-to-water heat exchangers, dependant on both the amount of heat produced by the electrical equipment and the ambient temperature in the surrounding environment.

Rittal Blue e+ Roof Mounted Cooling Unit

Low Temperatures Can Also Damage Equipment

Equipment needs protecting from low temperatures as much as high ones. In winter, when ambient temperatures drop, any equipment that has been idle over the weekend can be damaged as soon as it’s turned on from cold.

In addition, motors or compressors can experience problems when oil contained within sealed systems begins to increase in viscosity. This can damage the seals/components, again causing failures.

To prevent this happening, you should fit a correctly sized enclosure heater inside the enclosure.  When connected to a thermostat, the heater will maintain an acceptable minimum temperature preventing any damage to electrical equipment caused when the low temperature minimum is exceeded.

Condensate Poses Safety Risk

Condensate can be a real issue when it forms within the enclosure and on critical equipment in high humidity environments. Condensate poses a real safety risk to the electrical devices and can cause catastrophic failure if left unchecked.

You can combat this problem by using a high quality industrial enclosure with a minimum of an IP54 seal to prevent humid air from constantly entering the enclosure. This can be combined with a cooling unit featuring an integrated condensate evaporator; the cooling unit acts as a de-humidifier and removes excess condensate from the pocket of air within the sealed enclosure.

Dust, Dirt and Corrosive Substances

Many industries suffer from dusty or dirty environments, which can impact on electrical equipment and its optimum performance. For example:

  • Carbon dust in the steel or manufacturing industry
  • Yeast or vinegar extract in the food and beverage industry
  • Salt water vapour in the air in a marine or coastal application

The above contaminants will attack the wires and electrical connections within your enclosure. In time, this can corrode or (worse) short connections, which in turn can cause excess heat and/or a panel fire.

In highly contaminated environments, the best advice is to use a cooling product which does not allow dirty ambient air to constantly enter the enclosure, so fans and filters are a no-no. Air-to-air or air-to-water heat exchangers and cooling units are best solutions, dependant on the heat load as they will only treat the small pocket of air within the enclosure, but they will also reduce the level of contaminants entering the space.

Summary

Any change or upheaval that impacts on a company’s trading environment brings with it challenges, but also opportunities. The trick is always to optimise your business for success, reducing costs wherever possible, while maximising productivity and efficiency.

Rittal can provide you with a free inspection of your current cooling equipment regardless of manufacturer, age or condition. This will then allow us to advise you of any recommended improvements and (critically) confirm whether you are using the correct equipment.

The long term benefits of maintaining a protective environment and allowing your equipment to perform to its optimum will help your business to flourish.


Written by Karl Lycett, Rittal UK’s Product Manager for Climate Control. For further information see the Rittal range on our website or call
01254 685900.