Automation solutions for the automotive industry

Automation in Automotive: How Simplified Industrial Automation Solutions Cut The Complexities of a Global Market

In today’s increasingly competitive and rapidly changing automotive environment, manufacturers are faced with accomplishing more with less. Supply chain instability, labor shortages, sustainability initiatives, and shifts in consumer behavior such as the rising demand for electric vehicles have further complicated production programs and emphasized the need for flexible, scalable industrial automation solutions.

EV Charging Station Infrastructure

On Dec 31, 2021 the Biden administration announced an electric vehicle charging action plan. And on June 9, 2022, the Biden administration proposed new standards for national electric vehicle charging network.

By 2030, the U.S. will have 500,000 public charging stations for electric vehicles in place. $5 billion will be provided to states over the next five years to build a network of charging stations along the nation’s interstates.

The proposed standards, which will be published in the Federal Register, dictate that a charging station be located every 50 miles along the interstate and no more than a mile off the highway. Stations would be required to maintain a minimum number and type of chargers capable of serving multiple customers.

Charging stations for electric vehicles are usually comprised of a transformer station, depending on the design an outdoor battery store, a low voltage main distributor, plus infrastructure enclosures for the power electronics and the charging pillars themselves.

Rittal offers the perfect solution for all these components.

  • Efficient system expansion potential resulting from Rittal’s enclosure frame profile and modular technology – from mechanical components through power distribution to climate control
  • Double-walled outdoor enclosures for optimized weather protection
  • Sophisticated climate control solutions providing the optimum temperature and constant, weather-independent heat distribution for powerful charging stations

With their extensive range of accessories, all Rittal enclosures offer the benefits of a modular system. Installation of all mechanical and electrical components, power distribution and climate control equipment is possible.

A charging station may be comprised of charging pillars in the form of “all-in-one” (decentralized) enclosures, with the charging management system accommodated directly in the charging pillar. Alternatively, the charging points may be designed simply as front-end enclosures. In such cases, at least one back-end (central) enclosure is needed for power supply.

The stand-alone solution includes:

  • Standard enclosure system
  • Optional accommodation of power electronics
  • Climate control
  • Power distribution
  • Premanufactured standard holes, bolts or cut-outs
  • With optional viewing window
  • With optional added security due to a special protection rating (from RC2)
  • With optional pre-installed accessories

This typical charging station layout is also used for buses. Charging at bus stops is somewhat different, as this generally uses a pantograph system. At the bus depot, on the other hand, electric buses are charged overnight at charging pillars.

Manufacturers need to be able to quickly design EV charging station equipment that will allow them to meet the demands of the market while also enabling them to differentiate their brand. In order to meet this accelerated adoption, Rittal is already helping manufacturers streamline the standardization of design of their enclosures used for electric vehicle charging station equipment with Rittal’s outdoor TS 8 and CS Toptec enclosures– this helps with operability and speed to market.

Electric Vehicle manufacturing is on the rise and the race is on to build the charging infrastructure required to power EVs. Engineers will need to expediate the design process to meet aggressive goals and take advantage of incentives. Streamline your design process with standardized products and help to speed up the transition to EVs. This spec guide discusses the benefits of standardization from the start of the design process.

Download the guide

Industry 4.0 and IIoT have revolutionized the industrial automation solutions that automotive manufacturers and their automation partners have at their disposal to address these challenges, but a very important question remains: How do they put these tools to use?

Partnering with an industrial automation leader with global knowledge and expertise is key for automotive manufacturers to create automation programs that meet their needs.

With decades of field-proven expertise in the industrial automation space, Rittal’s industrial enclosure, climate control, power distribution, and modification solutions have set the bar for excellence in control panel design and manufacturing to help automotive manufacturers like you discover a simplified solution to get the job done.

A Comprehensive Look at the Industry’s Leading Automotive Automation Solutions:
Modular design, forward-thinking engineering, and seamless digital integration make it easier than ever to increase efficiency and meet the evolving market demands of the automotive industry. Rittal’s industrial enclosure, climate control, and IT infrastructure solutions are designed and engineered for maximum flexibility to help manufacturers create an automotive industrial automation infrastructure based on optimized efficiency and productivity.

Download the Automotive Industry Solutions Suite to learn more

How to Create End-to-End Design and Engineering Visibility in Control Panel Manufacturing

One of the biggest challenges today’s automotive manufacturers and their automation partners face is implementing a design and engineering platform that allows for end-to-end visibility and insight into each stage of the control panel manufacturing process.

With the rise in popularity and demand for electric vehicles, expansion of the global automotive landscape, and increased emphasis on sustainable manufacturing practices, automotive manufacturers now more than ever before need design and engineering solutions that create digital bridges between each phase of control panel manufacturing to facilitate real-time data sharing, simple schematic alterations with digital twins, and insightful procurement strategies to source the right component parts at the right time.

Rittal and EPLAN help automotive manufacturers and their automation partners simplify the design and engineering process with powerful CAE software that unifies the control panel manufacturing sequence. With each phase of the control panel design and manufacturing process clearly visible, automotive manufacturing can create a connected value chain to help companies respond more effectively to shifts in production.

Panel builders are driving digital transformation in a number of areas, but the complexity of outdated production workflows is preventing a rapid transition in some cases. Rittal and EPLAN’s digitalized design and engineering platform cuts through this complexity and creates a unified, connected value chain based on ultimate visibility and transparency.

Download this white paper to learn more.

How to Choose the Right Industrial Enclosure for Superior Industrial Automation Systems

For automotive manufacturers and their automation partners, the choice of the ideal industrial enclosure for the application usually comes down to a few crucial considerations: reliability, protection from harsh manufacturing environments, and ease of integration. In addition, the flexibility of control panel configuration, wiring, and fast assembly are also important for automotive manufacturers as well as their automation partners that assemble and install them.

Far too often automotive manufacturers are faced with choosing one industrial enclosure design over another which results in a rigid industrial automation system that takes up too much space on the production room floor or doesn’t allow for simplified scalability. Rittal’s line of IP55/NEMA 12 carbon steel modular enclosures, freestanding unibody enclosure systems, wallmount enclosures, junction boxes, terminal boxes, and accessories give automotive manufacturers and their automation partners the power to create a customized industrial automation system that tackles their unique challenges and embraces their specific opportunities.

How do you choose the right industrial enclosure for your automotive application? Certainly, the importance of using a flange mount disconnect enclosure is critical to have a mechanical interlock where the doors cannot be opened while the system is energized, and all doors must be closed to power the system on. Our modular vs. unibody enclosure guide provides a step-by-step look at the best applications for each to help you discover the ideal enclosure to meet your needs, overcome challenges, and harness opportunities.

Download the guide to discover the right enclosure

Today’s automotive manufacturing landscape is constantly changing. Companies must facilitate multiple production programs in disparate parts of the world with component parts coming from a variety of suppliers. Production facilities must adhere to variances in standards and regulations to provide the right product for the right customer at the right time. This is the exact situation a major North American automotive manufacturer found itself in when attempting to coordinate production at facilities around the globe. A global partnership with Rittal and EPLAN enabled Electro-Matic to provide a standardized, single-part PDP, which resulted in dramatically reduced lead times and more seamless integration into the customer’s production cycles.

Read the full case study

How to Optimize Climate Control Systems On the Road Toward Energy Efficiency

The road to total climate control efficiency begins with an in-depth understanding of where consistent, targeted cooling needs to be directed to reduce energy usage and costs. While industrial automation technologies increase efficiency in some ways, they also require electrical controls, and electrical controls need to be cooled to prevent overheating, which results in more questions than answers about energy consumption and waste. 

In addition, the upcoming January 2024 introduction of UL/CSA Standard 60335-2-40 and its stipulation that climate control systems be outfitted with smart leak detection systems is expected to make a big impact on automotive manufacturers who often rely on robust networks of cooling units to provide adequate cooling. This means the time is now for automotive manufacturers to be proactive and retrofit or upgrade their cooling units ahead of the UL 60335-2-40 deadline. 

On a similar note, the movement toward sustainable manufacturing practices and the evolution of Industry 4.0 and IIoT-enabled cooling units have provided automotive manufacturers and their automation partners with state-of-the art tools to simplify the process of optimizing climate control systems, but the question becomes: How do manufacturers harness the full potential of these climate control technologies for specific applications?

Automation in the automotive industry is at a crossroads: How do you reduce your carbon footprint while at the same time optimizing efficiency and production? This white paper offers action steps you can take to implement sustainability initiatives that help promote production efficiency.

Download the white paper

With state-of-the-art climate control solutions like our Blue eBlue e+, Blue e+ Sroof mounted and wall mounted TopTherm cooling units, and IoT Interface, manufacturers and their automation partners can engineer targeted cooling outputs where cooling is needed most with an eye toward reducing energy costs, decreasing your carbon footprint, and benefiting from a long lifespan of your electronics and enclosures. Our Blue e+ chillers do not utilize the high GWP (global warming potential) refrigerants that are prohibited by UL 60335-2-40 — in fact, they don’t use flammable refrigerants at all. And with the ability to reduce energy costs by up to 75%, the Blue e+ provides automotive manufacturers with the utmost in regulatory compliance and reduction in energy usage. The Blue e+ S uses refrigerant R-513A and has a 56% lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) rating helping companies to minimize their carbon footprint by reducing CO2 emissions.

The Climate Control QuickFinder from Rittal is a fast and easy tool to help you determine the most suitable climate control solution for your automotive application. You just need to answer three simple questions.

Start now

Our team of expert climate control specialists can also help you understand the health and viability of your existing climate framework with a climate efficiency analysis, and our climate inventory webinar provides a behind-the-scenes look at what our climate experts look for when conducting an efficiency analysis to help you better understand the process from start to finish.

Climate control systems as part of industrial automation systems can be a complex web. What’s more, it’s difficult to fully realize just how much energy is consumed and greenhouse emissions emitted every day for companies operating multiple facilities on a nationwide scale. However, the good news is it’s possible to design and build industrial automation systems and power distribution solutions that reduce overall energy consumption, cut carbon emissions, and lower energy costs.

With Rittal, not only is this possible, but it’s just a click away with this on-demand webinar.

How Busbar Power Distribution Helps Optimize Control Panel Production

As automotive manufacturing evolves, there is a need for a smarter, more efficient method of distributing power to the industrial automation controls that help drive production processes. Legacy power distribution systems come with a variety of liabilities and challenges automotive manufacturers and their automation partners must overcome, including complex and time-consuming installations; time and resource-intensive maintenance; less physical space within the enclosure due to cumbersome, outdated designs; and increased downtime due to frequency of maintenance.

Incorporating a Rittal busbar power distribution system allows for:

  • Reductions in the use of space relative to the panel and enclosure
  • Easy troubleshooting in the event of control panel manufacturing interruption or failure
  • Time savings during installation, maintenance, or upgrades
  • Increased operational efficiency

Manufactured with global compliance and use in mind, Rittal’s busbar power distribution systems also provide superior protection against shock and accidental arcing. Rittal busbar also allows for electronically safe installation and maintenance up to IP 60 inside the industrial enclosure to reduce the likelihood of electrical fault and danger to both personnel and production floor equipment.

How to Source Fast, Accurate Control Panel Modification

For automotive manufacturers and their automation partners, relying on a complex, global supply chain for control panel manufacturing and modification is not only expensive, but labor shortages, material shortages, and shipping delays add unnecessary complexity to the enclosure modification process. Additionally, the high degrees of customization and repeatability automotive manufacturers require with their industrial enclosure modifications leaves the door open for prolonged lead times.

Automated modification solutions remove the potential for errors while also allowing for more precise and complex modification work without the need for a large labor force. Faster, more efficient modification services result in reduced turnaround time and cost reduction, which further simplifies your value chain and helps ensure production programs are not tethered to the fluctuations of a large, global supply chain.

Rittal’s network of U.S.-based modification and distribution centers provides coast-to-coast coverage to help ensure your panels and enclosures go from the modification center floor to your door with speed and accuracy. Our modification centers in Sparks, Nevada; Houston, Texas; and Urbana, Ohio house Rittal Automation Systems (RAS) machines and tools designed for enclosure and control panel customization with superior precision and quality. Our regional distribution centers stock component parts to help ensure you have the right part at the right place at the right time.

Learn more about our modification centers

How to Enhance Your Automotive Automation Solutions

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Temperatures in a facility can fluctuate dramatically, causing potential damage to machinery, hardware, and technology used daily. It’s imperative to implement climate control in order to keep the sensitive technology that powers production running.

Automotive Innovations in Industrial Automation

Over the next decade, innovative changes are expected to take place against the backdrop of increasing digitalization and automation in industrial manufacturing, along with ambitious sustainability initiatives.