Enabling concurrent design, manufacturing

RAS is marshaling in Industrie 4.0 by integrating multiple engineering disciplines that operate concurrently throughout the panel and enclosure manufacturing process.

By Jack Smith, Content Manager, CFE Media May 12, 2016

Rittal Automation Systems (RAS) was formed by integrating sister company Kiesling Maschinentechnik into the Rittal organization. Kiesling produces machining centers for enclosure assembly, CNC cutting centers, automated wire termination, and enclosure test units.

RAS and its sister companies, Eplan and Cideon, will provide Industrie 4.0 services for Rittal’s customers. Eplan provides electrical, fluid power, and instrumentation and control CAE products with interfacing capabilities that enable the sharing of data with mechanical design and other third-party enterprise systems. Cideon provides engineering software development, system house fields, and services.

Historically, Rittal’s focus has been on enclosures. "One of the ways we’re differentiating ourselves in the market is, we’re not just a box company," said Dean Arvanitis, director of marketing and product management at Rittal Corp. "Instead, we offer solutions. It just happens that one of those solutions is our enclosure. Our power distribution, climate-control, software, and services integrate to take us to the next level."

Eplan is a large part of how Rittal is ushering in Industrie 4.0. It enables RAS to integrate multiple engineering disciplines that can operate concurrently throughout the panel and enclosure manufacturing process. In the past, engineers used multiple software programs to design an enclosure. Drilling, tapping, and wiring tasks had to be done manually. Through the Eplan technology platform, engineers create a virtual prototype, or digital twin, which includes the relevant data for subsequent processes. The software platform creates circuit plans and electrical wiring diagrams. Using Eplan Pro Panel, a virtual model is created in 3-D from the data available in the digital twin. Rittal Therm provides climate control profiles that manage component placement within the enclosure.

"Eplan will calculate the wiring path, wire gauge, and depending on the other equipment in the enclosure, it can actually print the wire labels," Arvanitis said. "That’s part of the simulation. If you decide to relocate components, the software recalculates the wire length and path. The software platform provides a complete bill of material. You can connect that into an ERP system, which can deduct the wire and components from inventory.

"We’re providing tools and solutions that help our end customers become more efficient," said Arvanitis. "Whether it’s end users or the system integrator that supports them, we want to understand the challenges our customers face, try to be a consultant to them, and offer solutions that work."

Jack Smith, content manager, CFE Media, jsmith@cfemedia.com.

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