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Smart high-tech production facilities that plan for themselves and use artificial intelligence to optimize maintenance may have been the stuff of science fiction until very recently. But, step by step, they are now becoming a reality at the Rittal site in Rittershausen, Germany. The company is in the process of transforming one of its plants into a futuristic enclosure factory for production of its innovative VX25 large enclosure system, which celebrated its world premiere at HANNOVER MESSE 2018. What's more, the work is being carried out while production operations continue to run. Visitors are particularly impressed by the new welding and handling robots, which almost seem to dance as they go about their work. The redevelopment has reached the halfway point and is due to be completed by 2020. The total investment for this model Industry 4.0 project is 120 million euros.

"In one-and-a-half year's time, things won't be the same here," says Carsten Röttchen, Technical Managing Director at Rittal. "Innovations and new product launches mean we're constantly upgrading the production facilities." With its step-by-step, highly complex redevelopment, the company is going through a true metamorphosis. The current situation brings the transformation into particularly sharp relief, as two large enclosure systems are being manufactured practically side by side. While the TS 8 enclosure continues to roll off the long-established production lines in the thousands, its successor, the VX25, is already in production. And this is something quite special indeed. The large enclosure system is the result of countless discussions with customers, a large-scale scientific user study in Germany, the United States and China, and five years of development work. It is much easier to use and delivers huge time savings. The exceptionally robust VX25 securely houses tightly packed control and switchgear systems for controlling car production, for example, or heavy-weight energy storage systems in wind turbines.

Rittal GmbH & Co. KG (35745 Herborn, Germany)
Website: www.rittal.com