Industry 4.0 Manufacturing

The new 250 million-euro Rittal plant in Haiger embraces the principles of Industry 4.0.

It represents the company’s largest-ever single investment, enabling them to establish the world’s most advanced manufacturing facility for its new compact and small enclosures.

The plant’s highly automated production processes – working in conjunction with the neighbouring distribution centre (GDC) – enable seamless order fulfilment, guaranteeing ongoing availability of standard products and accessories.

Rittal is putting Industry 4.0 theory into practice. 

The world’s leading provider of solutions for enclosures, power distribution, climate control and IT infrastructure (as well as corresponding software and services) is creating a smart factory which will become the world’s most advanced production plant for compact and small enclosures.

“The plant will be fully aligned with highly efficient Industry 4.0 principles,” states Professor Friedhelm Loh, Owner and CEO of the Friedhelm Loh Group.

“The new manufacturing site will also safeguard future competitiveness for our customers and our own business. The total investment of 250 million euros is a positive statement in terms of the regional economy and the 290 jobs at our Haiger plant. We have quite consciously decided to proactively shape the future with the local people who made us what we are today.”

The new factory halls cover 24,000 square metres of floor space and will soon house more than 100 high-tech machines.

Around 9,000 AX compact and KX small enclosures will be manufactured every day, processing approximately 35,000 metric tons of steel annually.

Manufacturing in a smart factory

The equipment will be highly automated, producing individual items which are then assembled with exceptional efficiency.

In the past, individual steps such as cutting to size, edging, welding and painting were transactional, sequential and independent of one another. In the new era, all workers, machines and materials will be increasingly integrated into the manufacturing execution system.

At the end of the process, the individual assemblies are automatically merged and a QR code is applied, for easy identification and onward processing by the customer.

Both the machines and handling systems communicate with each other and with higher-level control systems via modern industry 4.0-capable communication networks.

Materials and components will be moved using 20 automated, guided vehicles. Packaging, marking and transfer to the distribution centre are managed automatically. Knowledge-based “learning” systems will enable predictive maintenance, preventing faults from occurring and minimising downtime.

Automated order management and fulfilment will guarantee the ongoing availability of standard products and accessories in the nearby global distribution centre, creating an end-to-end digital process chain – from configuration and engineering on the part of the customer, to shipment of the end-product.

A new world of work in Haiger

The new era of industrial manufacturing will also usher in major changes for the associated manpower.

There will be fewer strenuous manual tasks, such as lifting and carrying; instead, the focus will shift to controlling, monitoring and fine-tuning processes.

“The expertise and capabilities of experienced employees are one of the keys to the success of smart factories: systems can only learn and gain intelligence if they are taught systematically by humans,” explains Professor Loh.

Rittal proactively develops the digital skills of its workforce through training courses held at the Loh Academy.

The new technologies will bring improvements to the working environment as a whole. The Haiger facility will be quiet, clean and energy-efficient. For example, waste heat from the new paint shop will be recovered and reused, e.g. for degreasing components or for heating the factory halls. Efficient use of water is also a high priority. Process water is managed within a closed-loop system, where it is cleaned and reused.

Digital value creation at the customer organisation

Rittal will be manufacturing its new AX compact and KX small enclosures at the new plant.

Digital transformation has created new challenges in terms of the products themselves, the operating environment, and its availability. Rittal has therefore rethought and redesigned this offering inline with the imperatives of Industry 4.0.

Rittal provides effective support for the entire value chain for the production of panels and switchgear, from engineering to ordering to automation. Its digital product twin delivers high-quality data for the entire design, configuration and manufacturing process. This approach for the new AX and KX range echoes the successful launches of the Blue e+ cooling units and VX25 large baying enclosures.

Digital transformation is vital to business success

The Haiger facility is a pilot for the real-world implementation of Industry 4.0 and will act as a role model for Rittal’s international operations.

It will also be a pioneer and reference for Rittal’s own products and services in terms of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Blue e+ cooling units further increase energy efficiency and are integrated into the monitoring and energy management systems via the IIoT interface. The entire machine park permanently provides data from the control system and the current operating states.

Production systems in the new factory deliver an ongoing source of actionable data on their operational status. In future, this information will be collected by an on-site edge data centre and analysed using powerful applications developed by sister company Innovo.

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Cable Management & Future Rack Developments

There are a number of key areas for IT and data centre managers to consider when it comes to planning future rack developments.

One of the most critical is deciding the precise configuration of the internal components. This typically underpins the success of the whole project, especially when IT racks are not installed in a standardised data centre environment.

Meanwhile, choosing which rack to install requires an understanding of its purpose, the routing of cabling for power supply and networks, and the ideal cooling solution.

Here is a summary of some of the key questions to ask to help ensure the success of any future installation and commissioning of racks.

What will the rack be used for?

The number and type of components will have an impact on the size of the rack. If it will simply be used to house servers, then an IT rack 600mm wide will suffice.

However, if it is primarily for network components, the rack should be 800mm wide to accommodate the cabling.

But, increasingly, enterprises are combining server and network components within individual IT racks.

As IT takes on an increasingly significant role within organisations, more and more components are packed in to make best possible use of existing infrastructure. This means the largest available racks should be selected in line with space constraints. An IT rack that is 42 units high, 800 mm wide, and 1,200 mm deep provides ample room for custom configurations, and allows for future expansion.

2 Rittal Network Cable Orgainser-2

What form of climate control is needed?

Will the rack be installed in a room that does not have an integrated cooling system?  If so, then a suitable cooling system needs to be considered from the outset.

If just a single IT rack is needed then cooling could simply be roof-mounted fans or, if a greater cooling capacity is required, then a compressor cooling unit can be added, either externally or internally, in the form of a DX system – although a higher IP rated rack will be required.  DX systems are becoming more popular as they are relatively easy to install and can be deployed in office environments thanks to the low noise levels of the internal component.  Should the rack be deployed in a conventional DC, with either perimeter cooling units or InRow cooling units adjacent to the racks, then perforated doors should be used.  Additional benefits can be obtained here by also deploying aisle containment or cocooning, where either the cold or the hot aisle (or in some cases both) is enclosed.  The major benefit being lower operating costs and more efficient cooling (better delta T).

Sealed Up?

There are various options for cooling IT rack interiors depending on their use.

For example, inside server enclosures the cool air should flow from front to back, while in network enclosures it should be directed through the parts that need to be cooled.

In both scenarios, it is important to seal around the front 19″ section to ensure cool air does not leak into the ‘hot zone’ at the rack rear and thus lower the delta T across the rack.  All open U’s should be closed off with simple 1U snap-off section blanking plates for effective separation. To this end, there is a range of accessories available to enhance cool-air routing, enabling horizontal airflow for side ‘breathing’ switches, and more.

Effective seals and climate control solutions tailored to the IT rack’s specific purpose will translate into improved energy efficiency. A little bit of planning goes a long way when it comes to reducing energy costs for IT operations.

Where do you want your cables?

A detailed plan for interior and exterior cable routing should be in place before a server enclosure is purchased and configured.  The power supply, in particular, has to be considered. Many active IT components require a redundant power supply which generally means two rack-mounted vertical power distribution units (PDUs) at the rack rear, left and right for an ‘A’ and ‘B’ supply respectively making cable management a bit more complex. Moreover, best practice usually recommends power and copper data cables should be kept physically apart to avoid the unlikely possibility of electrical field interference. Special attention must be paid to the minimum bend radius of the fibre-optic cables to prevent signal attenuation.

If the racks are to be placed on a raised floor, then power and network cabling can simply be laid on separate cable trays underneath. You can also mount cables under the ceiling and route them above the top of the racks. In this scenario, the roof plate needs to be configured correctly openings should be closed off with brush strips creating a tight seal, simplifying cable management, and improving energy efficiency.  It also means that even after cables have been installed, accessories (including roof plates with multiple parts) can be easily removed for simpler maintenance and retrofits.

Many rack vendors offer a choice of elements for effective cable management, enabling customised component configurations. Both open and closed cable duct systems are available for horizontal and vertical cabling, and cabling between thermal zones.  

Typically, air-tightness and a defined air pressure must be maintained to prevent warm air and cool air from mixing. This important consideration is often built into the design of many rack vendors enclosure products.  The enclosure supports the need for air circulation in conjunction with the corresponding cable installation components.

And external cable management?

Crowded IT racks have little available space to squeeze in new components. One answer is to route cables outside the racks such that cable ducts pass through the side of the rack, routing cabling over the top so that it re-enters the rack from the opposite side.  Although this approach can save a great deal of space, it may make identifying individual cables more difficult, and maintenance work more complicated.

Wherever easy maintenance is a priority, cables should be routed inside the racks. Pinpointing and replacing a single cable is then far simpler if there is a failure or if a reconfiguration is required.

Recent developments

Innovative products are now becoming available for in rack cable management.  One of these seems quite interesting: the Network Cable Organiser (NCO).

The NCO is a 482.6 mm (19″) cable storage system. It takes up 1 U in the network enclosure and contains 24 tested CAT 6, Class E patch cables or fibre-optic cables, each with a length of 1.6 m (sufficient for 23 U). It has a modular structure and is made up of individual cassettes. The pulley system integrated into the cassettes allows surplus cable lengths to be drawn in automatically which ensures that every cable is available in the perfect length, eliminating the need to order and stock a variety of different cable lengths. The result is permanently well-organised cable management, providing a perfect overview of what is connected where.

It’s also more energy efficient, avoiding airflow blockages that can arise as a result of surplus lengths of the individual cables inside the enclosure facilitates more efficient cooling. And the NCO saves on space, because it only requires 1 U per switch. Cable management panels are not required, saving additional space, while the flat cables used in the NCO only use one-third of the space of a round cable. The flat cables still offer the same level of reliability, are 100% tested, and the fibre-optic cables additionally have a measurement record on the cassette.

By Clive Partridge, Product Manager IT Infrastructure, Rittal

 

Further information at www.rittal.co.uk and www.friedhelm-loh-group.com or on twitter @rittal_ltd.     

 

Rittal at the Big Data Scotland Event #scotdata #bigdata

Rittal are at this years Big Data Scotland. an event dedicated to looking at the issues currently faced by the industry.

The volume of data being produced is almost unfathomable: by the end of 2013 global data storage was estimated to have reached 1,200 Exabytes. More extraordinary than the total culmination is the exponential rate of growth, with the amount of data produced in 2014 predicted to equal the total quantity produced in each preceding year combined.

In many respects the volume of information captured presents a challenge, as data sets can grow so large and complex that processing them and gaining any meaningful benefit becomes difficult. Ultimately the data only offers value when it can be harnessed effectively and used to generate relevant and actionable intelligence.  Only when this is done will the real benefits be achieved.

In spite of the challenges, Big Data undoubtedly presents an enormous opportunity. When utilised effectively Big Data has the potential to revolutionise the way an organisation operates; improving efficiency, enhancing insight, tailoring customer contact and directing the evolution of business operations to reflect requirement.

Hosted by Scot-Tech Engagement with support from DataLab, Big Noodle, MBN Solutions & ScotlandIS, the event will be comprised of industry keynotes, technical breakout sessions and open discussion. The conference will also feature an expo floor, allowing delegates to ‘kick the tyres’ of the leading solutions on offer, and discuss how they can be effectively applied to their particular situation and requirements.

This unique and timely event is designed specifically for business leaders and IT professionals.

This unique and timely event is designed specifically for business leaders and IT professionals. The conference is free to attend but spaces are limited.

Building your Data Centre on a firm foundation

An efficient IT infrastructure is now at the core of every modern business but underneath the tiers of applications and operating systems, a robust and reliable platform is essential.

Rittal’s TS IT Racks provides optimum stability and maximum space utilisation due to the welded frame construction. A depth of 1200mm allows for any additional space that may be required for the next generation of servers. Innovately designed verticals provide a static load rating of 1500kg to incorporate any increase in server weight.

Featuring Rittal’s latest door design, the new TS IT Racks has an even greater air flow with an 85% open area to provide cool air to the housed servers. An intelligent design also ensures maximum air flow with no loss of strength. Adaptable verticals allow infinite mounting positions and the tool less 19” mounts limit the time engineers are on site. Dual side panels are split making it easier to move 1200 and 1000mm deep panels. Side panels can be easily locked into place providing complete security. Security is also provided by a standard four point locking system.

Barry Maidment, Rittal IT Product Manager commented “The TS IT satisfies demands of the future, not just demands of today. Modern businesses depend on the IT infrastructure to deliver them a competitive edge, the TS IT has, for many years, been a market leader due to its’ flexibility, reliability and exceptional design. The humble rack may be the most technical item in the data centre construction but has to be the most adaptable. With a fast moving technical market the TS IT must be able to cater for multiple technologies, ie network cabling, switches, servers, power and cooling systems.“

Read more at – http://www.rittal.com/uk-en/content/en/unternehmen/presse/pressemeldungen/pressemeldung_detail_32448.jsp

 

TS IT

Rittal Enclosures, Power Distribution, Climate Control, IT Infrastructure, 19″ Racks, Software & Service – http://www.rittal.co.uk

Business Growth Through IT

White Paper from IDC and Rittal: Data Centres Are Increasingly Becoming a Competitive Factor

In a recent White Paper sponsored by Rittal, provider of IT infrastructure solutions, international market research company IDC examined the influence that data centres have on the economic success of small and medium-sized businesses. The results show that IT infrastructure and especially having one’s own data centre are perceived as essential in permanently securing competitiveness and expansion. The White Paper also shows that companies want to take advantage of new technologies such as cloud, Big Data and mobile computing in order to develop new revenue opportunities. The results are based on an IDC survey of around 500 managers and IT heads in medium-sized companies in Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands and Italy.

The most important findings at a glance:

Direct correlation between IT spending and revenue growth

If a company was commercially successful last year, this has a direct impact on the IT budget. As many as 98% of organizations with increasing sales reported that they would enlarge their investment in IT, or at least keep it at the same level. Furthermore, the survey showed that economically successful companies invest an average 20% more in their IT than businesses with flat sales figures.

Having one’s own data centre is the key to success

No fewer than 93% of the IT managers questioned found it important or very important for a company to have its own data centre. Of those companies surveyed that registered a growth in sales last year, 97% operated their own data centre.

Energy efficiency offers the potential to cut costs

Companies have some catching up to do, particularly when it comes to energy efficiency: 57% of respondents report PUE (power usage effectiveness) values exceeding 2.0. For every kilowatt-hour of electricity consumed by the IT equipment, roughly the same amount again is consumed by cooling and further building and plant technology. The PUE represents the energy consumed in the data centre in relation to the energy consumption of the computer: The closer the PUE value gets to one, the more efficient the data centre is. In industrial applications, a PUE value of 1.4 is regarded as excellent while large IT service provider with optimized systems reach values of 1.2 or less.

The data centre is too cold

The IT managers surveyed indicated that they operate their data centres at an average of temperature of 15.5°C. According to IDC, there are enormous savings potentials in this area. Instead of cooling entire rooms, it is more efficient to work with direct cooling within the rack or in the individual aisles. As a result, a higher overall temperature is allowed in the room, reducing the costs of cooling.

Greater reliability needed

Existing redundancy concepts are often out-of-date and not sufficiently reliable to ensure the high level of availability that customers expect in today’s competitive market environment. 24% percent of the IT administrators questioned cited redundant infrastructure as the key area in need of modernising. Overall, only 46% of IT experts assess the viability of their own IT as very high. Nevertheless, the majority (79%) of IT decision-makers believe that none of the demands is insurmountable.

Investment backlog in the data centre

The participants surveyed reported that their data centres were an average of 6.9 years old. With this age it is already difficult to use modern IT equipment as they have a higher energy density and must be highly available. For example, the energy efficiency of IT components and the cooling concepts for racks and server rooms have evolved considerably in recent years. This creates demand for IT modernisation.

New technologies are changing IT strategy

IT systems need to evolve continuously so that a company’s own data centre will also be able to meet such business needs as greater agility and cost efficiency in future. Six out of ten companies would like to meet the new market requirements with public or hybrid cloud capacity, but they shy away from the risks. This means, for example, a greater focus on in-house data centres, which are operated by the company itself and offer private cloud solutions. More than 75% of managers expect a modified IT strategy, either due to mobile computing or as a result of Big Data.

This research has shown that IT is an important factor in achieving business goals. This means that many companies are willing to invest in technologies such as cloud, Big Data, or mobile computing. The key to success is having one’s own data centre, as aspects such as reliability and availability have a high priority”, says Dirk Miller, Rittal’s Executive Vice President, Marketing.

“IT infrastructures need to be renewed to keep pace with the market. The question is whether to modernise or to rebuild”, explains Bernd Hanstein, Vice President Product Management IT at Rittal. “We see a great deal of potential in efficient, adaptive cooling concepts. Then IT managers can fully exploit the advantages of greater flexibility and reductions in ancillary costs.”

Modular data centres increase agility

The concept of a modular data centre helps companies achieve greater agility and scalability. This permits shorter product life cycles, as well as the more rapid commissioning of new systems or implementation of new regulations. Even if these concepts are still relatively new on the market, awareness of them is growing. According to IDC, this market segment has recorded double-digit growth in recent years. In EMEA, investments worth hundreds of millions amounts have been made.

“Modular data centres are a rational way of meeting current business challenges. The preconfigured modules or containers tend to be more cost effective than newly built conventional data centres, and they can be set up within a few weeks”, explains Chris Ingle, Vice President, IDC.

The study is available at http://www.rittal.com/idc-whitepaper

rittal-keyvisual_en_BG_b-02

Rittal Enclosures, Power Distribution, Climate Control, IT Infrastructure, Software & Services – http://www.rittal.co.uk