How can the best be made even better? That was the key question Rittal asked when developing the new VX25 large enclosure system.
The answer: by listening, watching and learning.
Right from the outset, sound scientific analyses of workshop processes in switchgear manufacturing, in-depth discussions with customers, and advice from the Rittal customer advisory council, collectively played central roles. The result is an enclosure development geared to maximum customer benefit which had already gained a great deal of acceptance prior to the market launch.
Before developing its new VX25 large enclosure system, Rittal commissioned a year-long field study on three continents. The Munich-based PMO Usability Engineering & Organisational Development technical institute worked with Rittal to conduct a large-scale field study at numerous switchgear manufacturers.
Words, images and film were used by researchers to document the everyday working life of a large number of small, medium and large companies in Germany, the USA and China.
“The user analysis was an eye-opener. In some cases, we spotted problems that the customers themselves hadn’t yet identified,” said Dr Steffen, Managing Director Research and Development at Rittal.
The end result was a total of 150 specific requirements for the new enclosure, which Rittal added to with findings from the Rittal customer advisory council which also had a direct involvement.
“We didn’t give up on a single one of the main points during subsequent development work,” Dr Steffen added.
The involvement of the advisory council in the development work highlighted just how important this body is to the company.
Holger Mrzyglodzik, Project Leader at Schubs Steuerungstechnik GmbH, sees major benefits in the new large enclosure system thanks to the greatly reduced number of components installed: “The greatest strength of the new enclosure system is its range of accessories. There are fewer parts but their functionality is greater.”
The VX25’s consistent 25-mm pitch pattern helped to significantly reduce individual parts at all levels and across enclosures – for example, there are 40 per cent fewer punched sections and rails.
“The new enclosure is better than its predecessor, the TS 8. It’s easier to assemble, especially in combination with the base/plinth,” says Thomas Frink, Managing Director of KSV Koblenzer Steuerungs- und Verteilungsbau GmbH.
The enclosure can be expanded far more easily, and offers a far greater degree of flexibility, because the new frame section with a 25-mm pitch pattern is used throughout. It is also possible to mount components such as divider panels and partitions, as well as covers for contact hazard protection, and all these parts can also be mounted to the rear. The same applies to the new option of installing mounting plates from the back.
The time-saving advantages in terms of assembly are equally important for Heinz-Josef Schmitz, Head of Switchgear Manufacturing and Technical Services at the Blumenbecker Group: “What really impressed me is that you need no more than two tools to complete the enclosure.”
A typical example is the assembly and disassembly of the doors, something which can now be done without any tools at all. As is the case also for the snap-on system of door handles which can be assembled very quickly with just a few manual operations.
Wide range of applications
Other benefits are obvious in its practical application: “The new enclosure is an improvement on the previous model; it is much more versatile,” says Andreas Ripploh, Managing Partner of Ripploh Elektrotechnik GmbH.
By engaging with external specialists and customers, Rittal has been able to develop a new enclosure system that is already being warmly welcomed.
“It was a great experience for me to be there when a new product was created. And I am delighted that many of the suggestions that we switchgear manufacturers made have also been incorporated in the product,” said Heinz-Josef Schmitz of Blumenbecker, summing up his experience of the process.