The switchgear manufacturer AP Elektrotechnik GmbH (APEG) from Rechnitz in Burgenland in Austria is meeting the requirements of Industry 4.0. Since 2002, APEG has been manufacturing switchgear for the industrial sector, e.g. for sewage treatment plants, pumping stations, and the steel industry. Work is currently underway on a hydroelectric power station for Vorarlberg, for which the company is supplying all of the process control technology.
Thanks to the automated control cabinet processing with the Rittal Perforex, the family-owned company creates the consistency of the processes from engineering to production. There will be 130 control enclosures in the final stage, around 70 cupboards currently fill the 600 m2 workshop and will be delivered soon.
“Due to the short time we have for the 130 control enclosures, the Perforex helps us a lot. What used to take hours of work is now seconds.”
- Burkhard Glatz, founder and managing director of AP Elektrotechnik GmbH
Perforex accelerates work processes
In order to optimize the production of the 130 control enclosures for the Vorarlberg hydroelectric power station, the company founders Burkhard Glatz and his son Christian decided on the Rittal Perforex Machine, as APEG's production only employs four to six people which wouldn’t provide enough hours to meet the production demands. So, father and son chose a Perforex BC 1001 HC from Rittal. It is not necessary to program the machining center because the data is taken directly from the construction planning, which is carried out using EPLAN CAE software.
With the processing center, all mechanical processing steps in the assembly of control enclosures - such as drilling, thread cutting, and milling of cutouts - can be carried out in one operation. The interaction of engineering and automatic enclosures processing promises a process acceleration of up to 50 percent because the average processing time is between 15 and 20 minutes per part.
Time savings for follow-up orders
The APEG managing director estimates a time saving of two thirds for the door cutouts and modified mounting plates through the processing center. And it opens up new business areas, which has already enabled APEG to win two new customers.
According to Rittal, the machine pays for itself with their first production run, however the Glatz father and son duo rely on follow-up orders. In power plants there are always two identical machines. According to Christian Glatz, a large part of the effort for the second machine has already been done. Where customers request a certain number of the same enclosures throughout the year, the electrical and construction planning and the data transfer to the processing center only have to be done once.
Rittal automates control enclosure construction
The tasks in control and switchgear construction are quickly formulated: increase efficiency and innovation on the one hand and reduce costs on the other. Today, this is mainly achieved by optimizing production processes.
Rittal wants to contribute to automated cabinet processing and continues to expand their product portfolio which includes hand tools. Rittal wants to make its contribution with automated enclosure processing and, by expanding the product portfolio to include new hand tools, is expanding the Rittal Automation Systems division into a full-range supplier for control and switchgear construction. With this new offer, Rittal wants to support panel builders and switchgear manufacturers throughout the entire process chain – from engineering right through to the workshop or production.
Using Rittal Automation System’s Perforex MT 2201 helps integrators and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) increase efficiency up to 85% compared to manual enclosure modification while reducing labor demands and turnaround time with the needed repeatable accuracy and reliability. Customer feedback drove the many ergonomic enhancements to the Perforex MT 2201 model to upgrade the operators experience as well as the functionality of the machine, including:
- Floor sealing around machine for easy cleaning
- Improved vacuum hose design and added chip-breaking cycle to reduce clogging and downtime
- Ergonomic pendant arm option and pneumatic clamp actuation
- Improved plexiglass safety barrier
- Optical automatic tool and broken bit measurement
- Larger 24” HMI display size
Together, Rittal and EPLAN can simplify your business, watch the video to learn how.