Series: How to optimise your control cabinet construction Part 3: Standards and standardisation improve safety

In the of our series “How to optimise your control cabinet construction” you learned that productivity can only be increased if all aspects of the value-added process are considered in their entirety. The second part of the series illustrates the importance of ensuring digital data consistency in control cabinet construction. In this third article, we show you how standards and standardisation help to increase safety and efficiency.

In order to avoid quality losses, tools should be checked regularly.
In order to avoid quality losses, tools should be checked regularly.
(Source: Weidmüller)

Standardisation creates trust and generates benefits - both for the end user and for the manufacturer of control cabinets. By standardising the equipment of workstations in control cabinet construction according to lean principles (lean management is an approach to continuous process optimisation and includes the efficient design of the entire value chain), which also includes the corresponding tools, it is possible, for example, to increase work efficiency by around 10%. In addition, standardisation reduces errors and avoids costly post-processing.

Standardisation can comprise entire process chains, even across departments. If the same systems are used throughout the company, it is also possible to ensure consistent quality. Standardised designation systems guarantee that all components of a control cabinet are uniformly marked. It is important to ensure that the lettering is wipe and scratch resistant in accordance with IEC 61439-1. Unambiguous designations such as IEC 81346 (reference designations), 62491 (cables & conductors) and 60445 (connection and conductor) simplify wiring, but also reduce the time required for maintenance. Furthermore, they facilitate the increasingly important task of documentation, minimise the number of variants and simplify the training of new employees. In the ideal case, the respective data is retrieved from the CAE systems. This minimises potential transmission errors.

Standards provide safety

As already mentioned above, standards are recognised rules of technology that provide safety for customers and users. Which other standards are relevant for control cabinet construction and how can they be fulfilled?

Control cabinet construction does not only depend on a clear designation, but also on a safe connection of the installed hardware. If errors occur there, the entire operation of the installation is at risk. For this reason, control cabinet manufacturers must exercise the greatest possible care when creating homogeneous crimp connections.

An important part of a zero-error strategy requires a coordinated system of crimping tools and connectors, such as wire end ferrules or cable lugs, which guarantees consistently high quality on part of the manufacturer. This is specified in DIN EN 60352-2 and UL 508. A further requirement that must be met by the crimped conductor is to achieve a certain conductor extraction force in accordance with a defined test based on DIN 46228.

Suitable tools are a basic requirement

Therefore, having the right tools is very important if standards are to be met at all. If users choose tools and contacts that are matched to each other by the manufacturer and therefore create crimp connections that conform to standards, they benefit from a high level of safety during assembly. They can then pass this safety on to the end customer.

Depending on the production capacity, a hand tool or an automatic machine are all that is needed for stripping and crimping the contacts. Hand tools can be certified by the manufacturer if they meet the specified requirements in combination with the cables and contacts used. But even the best tools can wear out over time. If quality losses are to be avoided, the tools should be checked regularly. To this end, some manufacturers ((links to the corresponding Weidmüller page?)) offer recertification services: The tool does not even have to be sent to the manufacturer; all that is required is to send a crimped conductor to the tool manufacturer in order for it to be tested in accordance with the applicable standards.

Lean management, consistent designation and documentation, coordinated systems for the creation of crimp connections and tool certifications: Standards and standardisation help to increase efficiency and safety in control cabinet construction.

In the fourth part of the series “How to optimise your control cabinet construction” you will learn how to accelerate processes in control cabinet construction.

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