Rittal attains next level in panel delivery
06 May 2015
With panel assembly automation specialist, Kiesling now well integrated within its group, Rittal is taking the next step in delivering an end-to-end panel manufacturing service from concept design to test. Les Hunt reports.
Rittal acquired Kiesling in 2013. A specialist supplier of automation systems for switchgear manufacture, the company's core products include machining centres for the preparation of switchgear enclosures, cutting centres, assembly machines for terminal blocks, assembly workplaces and an enclosure testing system.
Kiesling began operations in 1970, specialising in the area of drive technology. In 1998, a mechanical engineering division was added to its portfolio, along with what at the time was believed to be the world’s first processing centre for enclosure engineering. This enabled all mechanical processing steps in the assembly of enclosures – such as drilling, thread cutting, and milling of cut-outs – to be accomplished in a single work step, and with all materials necessary to the manufacture of enclosures.
Now, this joint enterprise, comprising Kiesling’s machines, Rittal’s well established enclosure engineering capabilities, plus its subsidiary companies, Eplan and Cideon, means that full scale automation of the production of control panels has become far more accessible to Rittal's global customer base.
Indeed, Eplan and Cideon significantly streamline the process of product design and order processing, combining electronic and mechanical CAD capabilities and links with the enterprise software system, SAP, as well as market-leading product lifecycle management systems.
These closely allied streams of the business mean Rittal can now provide its panel builder customers with an end-to-end service, optimising work-flow, from the conceptual design stage to full product integration, including parts machining and automated panel wiring, through to the testing of the finished panel.
Robotic wiring centre
During the second half of 2014, and after five years in development, Kiesling launched its Averex robotic wiring centre – another world first for the company. Averex saves valuable production time by making connections between devices automatically while meeting all applicable standards and safety requirements. Kiesling estimates this reduces the number of working hours per enclosure by up to 15 hours. Additional features, such as push-in connections and automatic wire-changing and labelling further increase the degree of automation that can be achieved.
Managing director, Rolf von Kiesling says the Averex wiring centre can help manufacturers accelerate those production processes where the same wiring configurations are used over and over again, and on a scale close to mass production. “If the engineers can access complete component data quickly, automated wiring rapidly becomes cost-effective – even in a lot size of one," he adds.
Averex has been specially developed for wiring enclosure mounting plates. The system cuts the wires to the correct length, before stripping them and crimping them with wire ferrules. Then, it feeds the wires through the cable duct and attaches them to components such as terminal blocks, contactors and motor circuit breakers.
On average, it takes around 180 seconds to complete this wiring process manually – but Averex finishes the same task in approximately 40 seconds. What’s more, it is exceptionally reliable, utilising lasers to identify the parts and to check their dimensions against the assembly tolerances.
An outstanding technical feature of Averex is its patented machine head, which can be rotated by 270 degrees and includes cable routing, cutting, stripping and crimping units, torque-controlled screwing and a tool changer that can hold up to six tools. In addition to screw connections, terminal blocks with push-in connections can also be used with this system.
Data from Eplan, together with information on components and their respective locations on the mounting plate, are used to check the manually assembled mounting plate before wiring up the components automatically and autonomously, significantly accelerating wiring tasks that would normally be performed by hand.
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