By Mark Roberts on 26-Apr-2018 16:31:30
A state-of-the-art centre for manufacturing large enclosures is currently under construction at Rittal's Rittershausen plant, based on Industry 4.0 principles. While work there is ongoing, Rittal is installing new high-tech production lines for its new large enclosure range that involves a capital expenditure of €120m. Through consistent digitization of processes and fully automated profiling, welding and panel manufacturing units, the company is gearing up its production to Industry 4.0 – a model for all Rittal production plants worldwide.
“Our goal is to establish the world’s most modern centre for manufacturing large enclosures. To this end, we have started the transformation into the age of Industry 4.0. We are setting the next standard in the Rittal production system for our worldwide plants – based on the ‘one Rittal, one standard’ principle,” says Carsten Röttchen, Managing Director International Production at Rittal
Today, the Rittershausen plant already has a high degree of automation in its sub-processes. “With the increasing digitization called for by Industry 4.0, we will be automating further sub-processes, increasing data consistency and integrating the production process into a completely digitized value chain through a manufacturing execution system", added Mr Röttchen.
The process improvements include knowledge-based systems that are constantly evolving through data networking and analysis. Trends can be detected in real time as they arise by means of continuous target-to-actual comparisons of the production machines and statistical processes. As a result, interference factors can be avoided before they occur and tolerances can be safeguarded in order to achieve the high quality demands of the process. In addition, predictive maintenance data is used to improve the technical availability of the production facilities.
More than 30 robots for volume production
In contrast to the new Haiger plant, which is being built on a greenfield site and will be ready to start production at the end of 2018, the conversion towards digitized and automated processes at Rittershausen is taking place during ongoing operation. When completed in 2020, the new production facility will have three profiling systems, each 70 metres in length. This means that the horizontal and vertical frame sections of the new large enclosure system, which has perfect symmetry and a consistent 25-mm pitch pattern, will be manufactured in one process.
The volume production lines also have fully automatic welding systems. 31 robots (for welding and handling) deployed in the fully automatic volume welding system ensure that the transport and welding processes run reliably within the plant.