MRO Magazine

Feature

How optimized control panel design fits into Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

Using an Industry 4.0 approach, with end-to-end engineering tools, standardized systems and automated processing machines, value chains are becoming more compact and efficient.


Schaumburg, IL – Rittal Corporation, together with its sister companies Cideon, Eplan and Kiesling, is introducing new strategies to help companies get their physical infrastructure in place to participate in the new ‘plug and play environment’ of Industry 4.0. This era of merging the enterprise’s physical and digital infrastructures is built on the foundations laid by Industry 1.0 (steam power), 2.0 (electricity and mass production) and 3.0 (computerization).

The company’s goal is to help others participate in the Industrial Internet of Things connectivity to reach Industry 4.0 integration, by adopting the modular structures necessary to help smart factories stay functional.

In the Industry 4.0 era, data-controlled equipment and automated systems not only give managers visibility of what’s happening in their enterprises down to individual work cells, but also the power to effect change and avert disasters when necessary. Companies without an Industry 4.0 philosophy are more likely to be forced to deal with the after-effects of outages and miscommunications caused by data disconnects.

“More and more people are starting to understand the Industrial Internet of Things concept and what cloud computing is,” said Troy Miesse, solution engineering manager for Rittal. “We are in the middle of applying Industry 4.0, at the forefront of the smart factory. In that environment, everything is connected — not just the machines, but corporate information systems as well as the humans who rely on them.”

“Rittal, together with our sister companies (e-PLAN, Cideon and Kiesling), can help provide a value chain to automate repeating processes and allow revising data on-the-fly,” Miesse added. “If you need to change a component, you don’t only change it upfront in the design but on the purchasing side, as well – the documentation for the purchase requisition, the data for the panel layouts, the data for the fabrication/assembly and the processes needed out on the factory floor to enable it all.”

Rittal’s entry into the Industry 4.0 era is designed to demonstrate an escape from the era of engineering in an isolated silo or vacuum. This is where bills of material are handed to purchasing, which is then expected to base its acquisitions on those documents. The factory floor and the shipping department then work off of the same stale information. In the Industry 4.0 world, if somebody updates information on the engineering side, everything downstream gets updated as well. That information is shared in real time — quicker, with fewer errors, more rapid evolutions, and with easier changes.

Using this Industry 4.0 approach, with end-to-end engineering tools, standardized systems and automated processing machines, value chains are becoming more compact and efficient. Rittal serves this environment with a comprehensive portfolio of products serving the IT infrastructure, presenting solutions for the increasing integration of industrial technology — from IT racks to its own standardized RiMatrix S data centre.

Rittal says it has the expertise to help its customers compete in the Industrial IoT era, with an Industry 4.0-approach to information infrastructure characterized by:

  • Integrated product development and production processes
  • Convergence of the virtual and real worlds
  • Consistent standardization across systems
  • Coordinated processes throughout engineering
  • Automated mechanical engineering

The company’s Canadian operation, Rittal Systems Ltd., is based in Mississauga, ON. North American manufacturing is done by Rittal Corporation of Schaumburg, IL, a subsidiary of German firm Rittal GmbH & Co. KG.