Busbar Is the Easy Choice to Replace Traditional Wiring
The word is out. The future has arrived and it’s busbar power distribution.
The International Electrotechnical Commission issued a report in May of last year that cemented specific regulatory compliance and standards for power distribution and control for industrial panels and enclosures. Traditional wiring relying on cable connections and connectors that require loads of space to manipulate is a thing of the past and busbar power distribution is now the industry standard for all industrial enclosures.
For some time prior to the update, global companies were deploying busbar as a means to power their modular enclosures, and European countries have been requiring busbar over traditional wiring in enclosures since the middle part of the last decade. The primary driver behind the movement toward busbar was safety. Busbar is better equipped to prevent shocks and accidental arcing, and busbar also allows for electronically safe installation and maintenance up to 60 IP inside the industrial enclosure.
But there are also a variety of advantages for today’s global industrial manufacturing companies in implementing busbar power distribution, especially as concerns around industrial energy consumption grow and the capacity to operate in a more agile and value-driven manner becomes more of a necessity.
Raising the Bar on Power Distribution
Aside from the safety concerns, the move away from traditional wiring schemes to busbar power distribution resides in the inefficiency, unnecessary complexity, and inability to adapt to the changing demands of a global industry that is part and parcel of traditional wiring panels in industrial enclosures. Some of these inefficiencies or liabilities include:
- Complex and time-consuming installation processes
- Distribution of power is bulky and less effective due to space constraints
- Repairs and maintenance are complex, resource-intensive, and require heavy manipulation of panel and enclosure elements
- Increases in downtime and employee cost during maintenance
- Less physical room for panel or enclosure integrations to increase efficiency
Busbar alleviates these pain points in panel design, engineering, and operation via a number of factors, but each primarily hinges on the high level of customization and unique design capabilities compared to traditional wired panels, which essentially function as a one-size-fits-all hat. Busbar, on the other hand, functions as a snap-back hat where each busbar strip can be specifically catered to not only industry specifications but also company-specific needs.
As for the aforementioned value propositions, Busbar allows for:
- Reductions in the use of space relative to the panel and enclosure
- Easy troubleshooting in the event of switchgear interruption or failure
- Time savings during both installation, maintenance, or upgrades
- Increased operational efficiency
- Integration of supplemental panel or enclosure elements to enhance or augment performance
Getting to Know Rittal Busbar
All Rittal busbar systems can be installed in just three steps, without drilling or additional alterations. Assembly begins by positioning the TS punched section within the mounting flange inside the enclosure, securing the busbar assembly, and clipping the cover in place. The entire assembly is lightweight, simple to handle, and easily completed without large-scale disruption to existing workflows.
Rittal busbar supports fit dimensions from 40 × 10 mm to 120 × 10 mm. The support may be top-mounted with components using the pitch pattern of the cover system. In addition, Rittal meets and exceeds power demands to withstand current ICW up to 50kA, with rated currents up to 1600 A. All are UL and ETL listed. Rittal is also the world’s first manufacturer to offer an approved busbar system with standard components optimized for both AC and DC applications for international use.
The flexibility of Rittal’s busbar power distribution comes in the form of customizable plug-ins and component adapters to allow for safe use of compact air-circuit breakers from a variety of manufacturers. Circuit breakers and adapters can range from 100 A to 630 A, and connector kits, adapters, and transformers make contact without drilling. NH Slimline fuse-switch disconnectors range from sizes 00 to 3, fitting single pole and 3-pole switchable variants, andall components are modular for complete customized configuration.
In addition to flexibility, safety is paramount. Rittal busbar cover sections are critical to the protection of plant engineers and managers working in and around control panels. Safety is a major priority for the electrical engineer when looking at the design or maintenance of power distribution panels. Whether it be motor control panels, drive applications, or any power distribution application, exposed busbars are a hazard to personnel and require insulating or protecting from inadvertent or accidental contact.
Rittal’s busbar solutions offer complete cover sections for flat copper busbar. The cover section and base tray provide reliable contact hazard protection up to IP 2XB (safe from finger contact). Integral to the busbar cover is a shielding integration made from thermally modified hard PVC that corresponds to UL 94-VO to prevent accidental arcing.
The four sizes of shielding offer full contact hazard protection for busbars ranging in size from 12 x 5 to 60 x 10 mm. Components can be securely mounted on the top section for easy retrofitting without removing the cover. The base tray features out-of-box installation rear contact hazard protection, and fits TS enclosure widths ranging from 600 mm to 1200 mm. The base tray, side covers and cover section provide 360-degree contact hazard protection.
In today’s highly competitive, variable-rich industrial space, plant engineers are required more and more to think of a company’s entire value chain when weighing operational and equipment decisions. Rittal’s busbar system provides end-to-end value through regulatory compliance, enhancing efficiency, reducing costs, and, most importantly, maintaining the safety of the people who engage with panels and enclosures on a daily basis.
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