Mark Guest, Rittal’s Product Manager for Power Distribution, offers a review of the company's modular based switchgear system. Amongst other attributes, he says it is well suited to power distribution systems and motor control centres
From Form 2a control panels to Form 4b switchgear, Ri4Power is flexible to meet the requirements of today’s users and is also compliant with the latest international switchgear standards. It is designed for applications up to 6300A. Project planning is made easier with our user-friendly Power Engineering configurator for faster assembly, with up to 50 per cent time savings and fewer part numbers. Both elements help simplify the assembly process and increase efficiencies.
Based on the new Rittal VX25 enclosure, this version of the Ri4Power is now more efficient and provides a range of other benefits including higher current ratings together with easier monitoring and maintenance. Machine builders should note that all solutions based on this system have been tested and certified to IEC 61439. The welded frame of the VX25 enclosures gives the Ri4Power its strength and reduces assembly times. Moreover, with personnel safety in mind, the VX25Ri4Power has been designed to reduce the incidence of internal arc faults using new products that enable the switchgear to follow the guidance from IEC61641, the standard covering internal arc faults.
Busbar Support Design
The busbar support design makes it easier to fit copper bar.The support design was developed with reduced complexity in mind. As a result, the same support is suitable for both 600 mm deep and 800 mm deep enclosures. Their symmetrical shape means that the supports can be used left or right handed, and installation has also been simplified: the busbar support can be fastened to the VX25 profile with just three screws.
The tested support has been designed to accept 30 x10 or 50 x 10 copper bar, and this makes the handling of heavy copper bar easier. The panel builder only has to consider 2 busbar sizes to safely handle up to 6300 amps: the new busbar support system has been tested to 100kA for 1 second.
Fewer Parts for Less Complexity
The new Ri4Power system is based on the VX25, so manufacturers enjoy all the advantages of this enclosure system, including its symmetrical form, standardised pitch pattern, reduced number (and type) of parts, and ease of component installation. Consequently, components can (for example), be mounted on either horizontal or vertical profiles of the VX25 frame, reducing the total quantity of profiles required.
Further, there is a special compartment side panel available for the Ri4Power that can be positioned in either the left or right side of the enclosure. This divides the space into separate compartments according to function, for example to create a cable chamber or space for additional components. The compartment side panel has knockouts every 50 mm and these have rounded edges to prevent damage to cables. In the upper part of the enclosure, there is a separate section for the installation of further components, accessible via a flap or panel.
New Configuration Software
Rittal has developed a new version of its Power Engineering (RPE) software to coincide with the launch of the VX25 Ri4Power system. We think that this makes planning and configuring switchgear much faster and more simple. Usability was a key focus during the development of the latest version of the software, which is intuitive and requires the input of only a few parameters. This enables manufacturers, even those with little or no previous experience, to simply and reliably configure type-tested switchgear. Additionally, interfaces for EPLAN Electric P8, for exporting a Bill of Materials to MS Excel, and for import and export for data maintenance are possible. In addition, the VX25 engineering configurator for Ri4Power low-voltage switchgear supports quick-and-easy online configuration.
Simple monitoring and maintenance
The VX25 Ri4Power system offers a number of advantages in the context of maintenance. The new busbar supports and connectors are accessible from the front, making it easier to check the torque applied to screws or to determine the temperature of contact points by means of an infrared camera. It is also possible to implement sophisticated monitoring mechanisms: for example an IoT interface can be installed that interoperates with sensors that may be monitoring temperature, moisture or performance.
In combination with a software-based control system, this allows the operator to monitor equipment at all times and enjoy higher power-supply availability.