Thursday 30 August 2012

Design, configuration and virtual assembly of control cabinets & busbar connections

Fig 1
System configuration 3 pole Rittal Flat
PLS busbar system including Rittal
system accessories
Switchgear is used virtually everywhere that electricity flows. The new "Copper" add-on module for EPLAN Pro Panel Professional allows free design, configuration and virtual assembly of control cabinets and the necessary busbar systems. With EPLAN Pro Panel "Copper", information from the "Rittal Power Engineering" planning tool, which is software used for the configuration and design of low-voltage switchgear systems, can, for example, be utilised to fit the necessary Rittal system components into a virtual 3D model.

The comprehensive new engineering solution begins with the design of the switchgear systems. With EPLAN Pro Panel "Copper", users can simply transfer the results of the design process into the EPLAN overall project to allow further virtual setup and assembly of the control cabinet. The "Copper" module allows planning of various components, including switchgear systems, based on the Ri4Power solution from Rittal or the RiLine60 modular busbar system and the TS 8 control cabinet. Any busbar and the associated connecting elements can be individually designed and assembled virtually.

Intuitive construction of copper wires
Fig 2
Virtual bending of busbars in 3D
Easily constructed circuit breakers
with connection points 
The casing and accessories, equipment such as mains switches and circuit breakers, and copper rails required are collated within EPLAN from an online component library and put together to form a virtual prototype of the control cabinet. Where the busbar technology stops, users can design copper rails and connection elements freely within the 3D assembly structure and, where necessary, bend and adapt them as necessary. Design and production-related information, such as bending radii or company-specific bending rules, is utilised directly during the busbar design process and when processing components for the drawing. An individual shape library helps keep numbers of variants down while at the same time, the level of standardisation for production and assembly increases. The innovative EPLAN e-Touch Technology allows copper wires to be fitted intuitively. In brief: The prototype of the switchgear system is in place long before the first components have actually been ordered, produced or fitted.

Detecting potential problems early
Fig 3
Main switch with connection kit including
manufacturing information for machining of
the busbars
Drill holes, recesses and punch holes can be defined for all kinds of connections for copper parts in the 3D assembly design - either as a norm-based drilling template or by placing them individually. The information required to produce and process the components is provided from EPLAN for manual production or to control NC-based bending, drilling or stamping machines. Appropriate test runs on the system and the built-in anti-collision systems allow the whole virtual prototype of the switchgear to be checked. Engineers can detect potential problems as early as possible within the product development process. This prevents last minute corrections at the production and assembly stage, which could delay delivery. However, if a change does need to be made, the system automatically updates all dependent components, parts lists, reports and production drawings. Users save time, costs and materials on an ongoing basis.

Equipment procurement made simple
Fig 4
EPLAN Pro Panel Professional Copper
3D assembly design, busbar construction,
automatic generation of production
drawings and export of order information
A range of reports for equipment ordering and coordination accelerates the whole process. The system generates reports for material ordering, cutting lists and valuable production and assembly documents. The specific integration into the product development environment ensures that the data for equipment procurement, order preparation and coordination, production and fitting is used. In brief: A consistent workflow, which provides system operators with "as built" documentation in accordance with the machinery directive.

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