Rittal One-stop solutions drive down costs

Author / Editor: Hans-Robert Koch, Corporate Communications / Susanne Hertenberger

Control and switchgear manufacturers operate under intense cost pressures. And when they carry out large-scale projects for the international market, they need a supplier of calibre: with a complete offering that seamlessly supports the product creation process – from planning to installation.

One of the many enclosure suites and modules that make up the 200 meter-long control and switching system.
One of the many enclosure suites and modules that make up the 200 meter-long control and switching system.
(Bild: Rittal GmbH & Co. KG)

Everything is possible with the right partner. A prime example is BEC Steuerungsbau’s construction of a control and switching system for the huge Yanbu project in Saudi Arabia - with Rittal’s help.

“In scale and complexity, the control system we built for Interpane E&B, a subsidiary of Europe’s leading flat-glass proces-sor, AGC Interpane, was exceptional,” explains Mark Löffelbein, Managing Director of BEC Steuerungsbau. The solution is 200 metres long, with over five megawatts installed power. It comprises 80 enclosures and industrial PCs with 2,000 digital inputs, 1,000 digital outputs, and more than 200 analogue components. The end-customer, Saudi Arabia-based Obeikan Glass Company, will deploy the control and switchgear in a plant in Yanbu. The facility will operate a high-volume, high-tech process to coat glass surfaces with metal, providing heat insulation and UV protection.

Easy reconfiguration of the control enclosures

BEC not only assumed responsibility for construction and on-site assembly – now under way in Saudi Arabia – but also for all engineering tasks. “From the earliest planning stage, a key goal was to modularise and standardise all enclosures and fittings. This allows the operator to easily reconfigure the control enclosures installed locally in the glass coating systems’ sputter chambers. Standardisation of the enclosure interiors reduced the number of products and components used, and corresponding spare-part requirements. The declared goal of the project was to ensure that the new control and switchgear would be significantly less expensive than previous, comparable projects.

Modular and truly comprehensive range of enclosure systems

“Our proven partnership with Rittal was vital throughout this extremely ambitious engagement – from joint planning discussions to completion,” reports Löffelbein. He added: “It was only Rittal’s solutions that enabled us to meet the customer’s technical requirements and keep costs in check.” BEC benefits from Rittal’s modular and truly comprehen-sive range of enclosure systems. Rittal supplied compact enclosures (AE), large baying enclo-sures (TS 8), power distribution equipment (PLC and RiLine60 busbar systems), cooling units (TopTherm range) and air/water heat exchangers plus a variety of accessories, such as LED system lights, mounting and assembly components.

“Rittal is the leading supplier of end-to-end enclosure systems. They thoroughly understood our technical requirements, and greatly simplified both the technical and the commercial aspects of the project,” stresses Löffelbein.

Suite of enclosures with a 2,000-amp power infeed

The six modules for the sputter chambers consist of a suite of enclosures with a 2,000-amp power infeed via Maxi-PLS busbar systems, and rear-mounted NH fuse switch disconnectors. The control enclosure, which houses PLC automation equipment and frequency inverters, is equipped with RiLine60 busbar systems plus TopTherm cooling units (mounted on the front door) for heat dissipation. A separate server enclosure with 19-inch racks protects the DC power supply equipment that meets the differing voltage requirements of the sputtering cathodes. The enclosure can accommodate up to four power supply units, each weighing 80 kg.

Providing effective protection for the cathodes’ control systems was particularly challenging. As particulate interleaving material is employed to separate the sheets of glass during production, the enclosure required a high IP rating. To combine this with a reliable cooling solution, BEC opted for dust-tight Rittal AE enclosures with air/water heat exchangers.

“To streamline engineering, BEC used Eplan P8 software from our sister company, Eplan, for the electrical equipment, and the Rittal Power Engineering planning tool to design the power-distribution systems,” reports Klaus Zimmermann, Head of Technical Customer Services for power-distribution products at Rittal.