Package aids enclosure design

When implementing a control project, the control engineer may specify components packaged in an enclosure or subcontract the assembly of specified components into a panel unit. However, there are situations in most projects, particularly smaller ones, where project personnel must design, specify, and build the required enclosure.

08/01/1999


When implementing a control project, the control engineer may specify components packaged in an enclosure or subcontract the assembly of specified components into a panel unit. However, there are situations in most projects, particularly smaller ones, where project personnel must design, specify, and build the required enclosure.

This process requires familiarity with space and environmental requirements for the system to be included within the enclosure. In addition, the designer must know the limitations and required components for the actual assembly of the enclosure. Assisting the designer in proper selection and implementation of panel hardware is the intended purpose of RiQuest from Rittal (Springfield, O.).

This package uses Microsoft Internet Explorer and Adobe Acrobat to navigate though screens that provide specification data, design data, and bill of materials information.

These features operate either in a stand-alone operation from data contained on the software CD or with an active Internet connection, allowing for access to updated information. In either case, design aids are presented by a common interface to the user.

To develop a bill of materials for the enclosure system, the software provides a packaged "assistant" and point-and-click selection of the "box," based upon type and size of the enclosure desired. Additionally, displays provide a minimal description of the enclosure, including the NEMA type and list price for the item.

The process continues with a list of required and typical options for that specific enclosure. In each case on the accessory page the items are selected individually. The primary strength of this page is that only accessories appropriate for the selected enclosure are listed minimizing the risk of component mismatches or failure to order required items.

After completion of the Bill of Materials process, the user can save and print the final listing including the standard list prices giving a budgetary price for the hardware components.

In support of installation efforts the included technical documentation includes:

  • Drawing files with a viewer for panels and some components. Files are AutoCAD compatible. However, AutoCAD can only open the files as a block, limiting their usefulness somewhat;

  • Panel assembly procedures with drawings useful for estimating assembly and scheduling time;

  • Load data for structural members as well as for mounting and lifting hardware. Values are only provided in Newtons, requiring conversion to pounds-force (lbf) for the remaining nonmetric nations; and,

  • A copy of Therm 3.0. software for estimating the need for supplemental heating or cooling in an enclosure. The package included data on the panel's environment and expected power loads to calculate anticipated heat loss and a projected internal temperature. In addition, it then recommends standard climate control device options. Some understanding of heat generating properties is needed, as the available list of sources is limited and somewhat cryptic in descriptions. With that knowledge, the package does produce good estimates for design purposes.

This review is based on the January 1999 issue of Rittal RiQuest using Adobe Acrobat Reader 3.1 and Microsoft Explorer 4.01.

For more information about RiQuest, visit www.controleng.com/freeinfo .


Author Information
Contributing Editor, Tracy J. Coates P.E. is a consulting engineer at PCE Engineering, Johnson City, Tenn.




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