Despite the advances in automation, manufacturing switchgear can be very labour intensive. There is still a huge amount of manual work involved in cutting and machining busbars, support rails and cable ducts.
Rittal Automation Systems is now offering new and improved machines and tools that will help automate or part-automate these previously time-consuming activities. The Secarex AC 15 cutting centre is just one example of an innovation by the company, making otherwise labourious tasks, easier, quicker and more efficient.
Cutting support rails and cable ducts to the right length is a task that many engineers still perform by hand. The rail is first is measured on the mounting plate and then cut to the appropriate length. It may also be labelled with a felt-tip to denote a particular enclosure and its position.
The Secarex AC 15 cutting centre is an easy and simple-to-use alternative, controlled by a PC with a trackball. The length of the rail can be set using design planning software (such as EPLAN Pro Panel), the information is loaded up and then the machine does the rest. If multiple rails are required, the cutting centre works out how to do with minimal waste while the integrated label printer marks the finished rails so they can be easily assigned during the assembly process.
The cutting centre is able to cut DIN support rails, C rails and cable ducts in all standard sizes.
Cutting, bending and hole-punching copper bars
Working the copper bars used in switchgears for power distribution or as busbars are another job for the electronics workshop. The bars typically need to be cut to length, bent, and may also have holes punched in them.
All this will soon be completed quickly and safely using the CW 120 (Copper Workstation) bending and hole-punching unit, which is shortly being launched in the UK.
Workshops will have a choice of either a stationary benchtop unit for cutting, bending and hole-punching busbars with external hydraulic supply, or a mobile version designed with castors for flexible use in the workshop, which comes with integrated hydraulic pump. Power is just a single simple 230V mains connection.
Both options will process rails at a width of up to 120mm and thickness of up to 12mm and will punch round holes, varying in diameter from 6.6x21.5mm. Slots will be machined up to a maximum width of 21mm and length of 18mm.
Stamps and dies for round holes and slots will be available as accessories and come in different sizes. Ultimately, the major benefit is not just to make workshops more efficient. Automating processes also lowers operational costs but just as importantly it also delivers a better quality product for the customer.