Jason Swann, Rittal’s Product Manager for Climate advises: “Electrical equipment generates lots of heat. Add to this the ambient heat from the rising summer temperatures and your enclosure will start to reach a critical point of overheating without sufficiecnt cooling. What would you do if the equipment that manages your production line – your PLCs, drives and controls – failed due to inadequate or inappropriate cooling? Can you afford to take the risk.”
Inverter drives are used within electrical equipment because they are very effective at reducing the amount of energy used – which means lower production costs. Assuming an efficiency of 97 per cent, a 250kW drive can produce up to 7.5kW of heat, much of which is retained inside the enclosure in which it’s installed. Therefore without adequate cooling heat will rise.
The life expectancy of components is hugely affected by excess heat. An electrical component’s life expectancy is reduced by 50 per cent for every 10°C increase in the ambient temperature. So keeping an expensive Inverter drive cool, prelongs its life, reduces the risk of failure and saves you money.
Is this having an impact on production, in that it’s either slowing or stopping completely?
Any “yes” responses suggests a thermal survey could be a sensible next step. Rittal’s expert team can provide a RiAssure3 survey and if necessary advise on the best solution.
Jason explains: “A RiAssure3 survey will identify the likely risk of a system overheating. The survey will review any existing cooling solution and determine how suited it is to that particular working environment. If necessary, it will then provide recommendations around remedial action – for example, changes to the system’s service and maintenance regime to help improve its efficiency or the recommendation to invest in different climate control technology.
“Our engineers will always offer their advice from the perspective of functionality, energy efficiency, ease of installation, service and maintenance, based on real-life data measured on site.”
Which cooling solution is installed ultimately depends on the amount of heat produced inside the panel and the environment in which it’s installed. It must be specific to a particular application.
Jason continues: “Enclosures that are placed in a cool and clean environment may find fan-and-filter units are more than adequate, given a single device provides more than 4 kW of cooling in ideal conditions. However If the air is dirty, it is still possible to take full advantage of low ambient temperatures by using energy efficient air-to-air heat exchangers to provide any necessary cooling.”
The new Blue e+ cooling unit range from Rittal, with capacities up to 6kW, can operate in ambient temperatures up to 60°C yet also provide free cooling when the external air is cooler due to the innovative use of hybrid technology.