When you believe your enclosure is already the best, how can it be made better? The answer: by listening, watching and learning from customers.
Rittal’s new VX25 large enclosure was developed from the bottom up, through a year-long study, gathering data and market intelligence. Detailed, scientific analyses of workshop processes in switchgear manufacturing were coupled with in-depth discussions with customers, and advice from the Rittal customer advisory council. The result was an enclosure geared to deliver maximum customer benefit.
Before developing its new VX25 large enclosure system, Rittal’s team commissioned the Munich-based PMO Usability Engineering & Organisational Development Technical Institute to conduct a 12-month field study across three continents and numerous switchgear manufacturers.
Words, images and film were captured and analysed by the Institute’s researchers to document everyday working practices within a large number of small, medium and large companies in Germany, the USA and China.
The user analysis was an eye-opener, not least because it highlighted problems that even the customers themselves hadn’t been aware of.
In total, the study gave Rittal no less than 150 specific requirements for the new enclosure. These were then combined with findings from the Rittal customer advisory council and every single point was acted upon during subsequent development work.
One of the key innovations, highlighted in feedback from Holger Mrzyglodzik, Project Leader at Schubs Steuerungstechnik GmbH, is the fact that Rittal has signficantly reduced the number of installed components.
He advises: “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 has allowed Rittal to reduced the number of individual parts. So, for example, there are 40 per cent fewer punched sections and rails.
Rittal has also focused down on user-friendly design elements to speed up installation.
Thomas Frink, Managing Director of KSV Koblenzer Steuerungs- und Verteilungsbau Gmb, says the new enclosure is better than its predecessor, the TS 8 because “it’s easier to assemble, especially in combination with the base/plinth.”
The new frame section with a 25-mm pitch pattern is used throughout, which means the enclosure can be easily expanded, giving users far greater flexibility.
Components such as divider panels and partitions, as well as covers for contact hazard protection and mounting plates, can all be installed from the back of the enclosure.
All this adds up to greater simplicity, speed and convenience during its assembly. Heinz-Josef Schmitz, Head of Switchgear Manufacturing and Technical Services at the Blumenbecker Group says: “What really impressed me is that you need no more than two tools to complete the enclosure.”
The door and door handle design go one step further, in that both can be mounted and removed without any tools at all.
Wide range of applications
Overall, the VX25 is a far more adaptable and practical enclosure than its forebears.
“The new enclosure is an improvement on the previous model; it is much more versatile,” says Andreas Ripploh, Managing Partner of Ripploh Elektrotechnik GmbH.
It’s worth re-emphasising that all of these innovations were as a direct result of consulting and engaging with outside specialists and customers. This means, Rittal has been able to develop a new enclosure system that was hotly anticipated even before the launch, and has been warmly welcomed since.