Most people are familiar with the story of the Three Little Bears. Goldilocks finds a house owned by three bears and makes herself at home. The porridge is either too cold or too hot, the chairs too big or too small, and the beds are too firm or too soft. However, one bowl of porridge, one chair, and one bed are just right.
Today’s industrial automation landscape is not terribly dissimilar from the story of Goldilocks. Companies have a multitude of options for their electrical panel and switchgear solutions, and in an increasingly competitive, global marketplace manufacturers need enclosures that are ideally suited for their application.
Some enclosures are too small. Some are too large. Some come with long lead times or complicated assembly, and some lack compatibility with climate control or existing enclosure systems. Whatever the deficiency, the quest for the ideal enclosure continues for too many industrial manufacturers.
This begs the question: what is the ideal enclosure? What kind of enclosure can simplify the complexity of variant-rich industries where standardization of industrial automation solutions is imperative for optimal performance, growth, and achieving business goals?
Rittal’s new VX SE free-standing enclosure system is just such an enclosure. Much like Goldilocks’ prized bowl of perfect porridge, the VX SE is just right for manufacturers looking for a streamlined, versatile, and user-friendly enclosure that can act as a workhorse for their industrial automation architecture.
Considerations for the right enclosure
We first must understand the challenges industrial manufacturers face with protecting the sensitive electronics that drive production processes. Whether it’s the heating and cooling of enclosures or the space constraints manufacturers encounter with large cabinets, there are specific considerations companies must consider in order to select the right enclosure for the right job.
- Durability: The ideal industrial enclosure must be engineered to withstand harsh environmental conditions, unique mountings or deployments, or intense cleaning and sanitation practices. IP and NEMA rated design and engineering creates a safe, reliable home for sensitive electronics and allows for deployment on a global stage. Durability is particularly important in the machine and plant engineering space where production conditions put increased workloads and stress on enclosures.
- Space constraints: No two production facilities, factory floors, or manufacturing sites are the same. Each application environment consists of its own unique space constraints, mounting variables, and other factors in terms of the physical space an enclosure occupies. Cable entry and configuration must also be taken into account given the increasingly compact, dense nature of wiring systems. This is where customization, modification, and flexibility with how an enclosure is deployed in a specific location comes into play as a prized attribute in selecting the right enclosure for the right job, specifically in the building services industry where space is limited and reducing the square footage an enclosure occupies is key.
- Cooling: The ability to adequately cool electronics within an enclosure is a pillar of operational efficiency. Climate control (e.g: fan-and-filter units, air conditioners, chillers), IoT connectivity, and remote monitoring are also essential for plant engineers and managers to work in a more proactive manner as opposed to a reactive manner.
- Heating: As with cooling, the ability to adequately heat an enclosure to protect electronics from frost, ice, or other cold-climate concerns is key to maintaining optimal operation. Seamless integration of an enclosure into a new or existing enclosure heater set-up means reducing the potential for downtime or unscheduled maintenance or repairs.
How the VX SE achieves engineering excellence
So, what enclosure is designed to meet these considerations? Rittal’s modular design philosophy, innovative engineering, and forward-thinking approach to industry-leading industrial enclosures like the VX SE is demonstrated by a five-pronged approach to design and engineering that takes customization, reliability, ease of deployment, and versatility to the next level.
Efficient process design: Rittal and EPLAN combine modular thinking with powerful CAE software to streamline the engineering, sourcing, manufacturing, and operations of electrical panel and switchgear design and production. EPLAN Data Portal and ProPanel allow for simplified design and schematic collaboration with Rittal Configuration Systems, while fully-automated production and digital twinning is achieved through EPLAN Smart Wiring. Rittal’s world-class service provides seamless integration that minimizes downtime or production gaps.
Significantly enhanced reliability: The VX SE’s single piece body construction provides maximum stability and torsional rigidity to withstand harsh environmental conditions. Single body construction eliminates gaps and helps achieve up to IP66 and NEMA 4/4X ratings, as well as UL and cUL certifications for global deployment. Ready-to-go compatibility with climate control solutions such as Rittal fan-and-filter cooling units drive energy-efficient climate control to prolong the lifespan of enclosed electronics. Easy integration and installation of enclosure heaters to prevent frost, ice, or other cold weather damage makes the VX SE deployable in nearly all environmental conditions.
Smart, streamlined assembly: The VX SE simplifies integration into existing systems via compatibility with both the TS 8 and VX 25 free-standing enclosures and accessories. Flexible door installation, simple mounting capacity without additional machining, and flexible cable entry significantly reduce downtime of deployment and make the VX SE the out-of-box choice for plant managers across a variety of industries.
Speedier handling: Reducing assembly time and the manual tasks associated with installing an enclosure is key to optimal efficiency. The VX SE significantly reduces ordering and assembly time by eliminating sealing, baying accessories, and mounting plate infills. Simplified cable entry is made easier by the cable plate double edge fold design - helps to prevent cable bending even under heavy leads. Solid side panels, roof, and the ability to replace up to three bayed enclosures can maximize space in your facility with an emphasis on fast, user-friendly integration.
Versatile solutions: Typically, nothing is easy in the manufacturing space, but the VX SE is as close as it gets for versatility and scope of application. High protection categories of up to IP 66/NEMA 4 or 4X, a wide range of sizes, and multiple material options make the VX SE the ideal solution for a wide range of applications. Depths of 300 mm, off-the-shelf availability, and flexible on-site machining options make the VX SE the most adaptable free-standing enclosure on the market today.
The VX SE is just right, just in time
It’s not often that fairy tales dovetail with industrial automation solutions, but it’s clear how the VX SE is the just right free-standing enclosure system that has arrived just in time — if Goldilocks were a plant engineer or manager, we’re pretty sure she would agree. What differentiates the VX SE from other free-standing enclosures on the market is a handful of core abilities to adapt to any application, seamlessly integrate to any existing infrastructure, and simplify manufacturing complexity through:
- Minimal ordering and assembly work due to the solid one-piece side panels and roof.
- Single-piece body construction with multiple material options - carbon steel and stainless steel.
- IP 66 and NEMA 4 or 4X ratings for ultimate durability, protection, and physical security.
- Capacity to replace up to three baying enclosures
- Wide range of dimensions (300mm depth to 1,800 mm width) to accommodate any production facility.
To learn more about considerations that will help you simplify your enclosure selection process, download our ebook, How to Select the Right Free-Standing Enclosure: Look for 4 Key Features.