Climate control

Essential tips for Temperature Management in the Food Industry

Guest contributor:  Karl Lycett, Product Manager for Climate Control, Rittal

Food processing is a sector that demands very high standards of efficiency to meet daily production throughput targets.  Any unexpected breakdown of critical components which stops production lines can have a major impact, not just in terms of loss of output, but also unplanned maintenance.

Electrical componentry is protected by an enclosure which is designed to protect the equipment from the ambient environment and create a secure atmosphere in which the climate is maintained within the required parameters.

As the temperature rises due to the summer months or random heat waves throughout the year, these parameters can be breached. In turn, the overall life of the componentry within the enclosures can reduce and the probability of an unexpected system failure increases drastically.

Care needs to be taken when implementing climate control equipment to ensure it is suitable to handle the rigours of the environment in which it is situated.

Below are some key aspects to consider when reviewing your climate control solutions.

Is your solution right for the environment?

The type of product being processed on-site and/or the location of the equipment within the facility are likely to heavily influence your climate control solution.

  1. If the ambient temperature of your facility remains lower, year-round, than the desired enclosure internal enclosure temperature then fan-and-filter units and air-to-air heat exchangers can be very effective. They use the ambient air to remove heat energy from the enclosure, releasing it back into the environment.If the ambient temperature rises above the desired internal temperature then units with active cooling circuits must be used. Wall/roof-mounted cooling units and air-to-water heat exchangers include a refrigerant to remove the excess heat from enclosures and maintain the desired conditions.

    Already in 2018 we have seen unexpected jumps in average temperatures across the country, and this will only increase as we move into the summer months. These jumps, as I’ve indicated, are what put cooling equipment under the most strain, therefore reviewing existing equipment sooner rather than later can reduce the likelihood of unexpected breakdowns.

  1. Dusty or acidic contamination (e.g. flour or yeast/vinegar extracts) can interfere with switchgear and cause short circuits or a reduction in service life.

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Applying filter mats to fan and filter units will help, but if the environment is extremely contaminated you might be better off installing a cooling unit to ensure that the internal and external air-paths are exclusive thus ensuring contaminated air isn’t drawn into the enclosure.

Cleaning/Maintenance Regime

Establishing a regular inspection and cleaning of cooling equipment is very good practice.  For example, vacuum cleaning units with filter mats to remove any dust and debris which might choke the fan. The will mean the unit works harder for longer and also reduces its cooling capacity.

Cooling units must also be kept clean to maintain the highest standards of hygiene. Some will be cleaned daily with pressure washers and jet steam cleaners in which case use units which meet the required ingress protection rating desired for your site and purchase additional cowls or covers as needed.

Increasing Energy Efficiency = Reduced Costs

Many food production facilities work around the clock and with energy prices rising globally, it’s vital to get early warning of any potential issue which could impact on productivity or costs.

For example, unlike speed-controlled cooling devices, such as the new Rittal Blue e+ cooling units, conventional units start when the temperature inside the enclosure gets above set point (normally 35°C) and finish when the shutdown temperature of  30°C is achieved (at a typical hysteresis of 5K).  If the device does not reach the shutdown temperature it will continue to operate at full output, using large amounts of energy.  This is one good indicator that the unit is inadequate for the job and that too little cooling air may be getting to electrical components.

The best course of action in all instances is to undertake a survey of your existing cooling equipment utilising the points above.

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Rittal is happy to offer you a free RiAssure Cooling Inspection in which one of our trained representatives visits your site to provide you with honest, clear advice on your existing equipment and its suitability within the chosen environment/process.

We will then provide you with a short report which includes feedback on the next best steps forward for your installation, whether it is implementing a maintenance contract to prolong the life of existing equipment or the replacement of units that are undersized to improve performance and increase the energy efficiency of your site.

Learn more:  https://www.rittal.com/us-en/content/en/start/

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CMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized  Rittal distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

Modular Enclosure Accessories Improve Customization and Scalability

Guest Contributor: Rittal Enclosures

5 accessories to enhance TS 8 enclosure functionality  

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With 12 million units sold around the globe, the TS 8 modular enclosure is established as the worldwide-standard. As businesses grow and enclosure needs evolve, many customers are turning to a variety of accessories to scale their solutions. 

These five accessories for lighting, power distribution, viewing and operating, climate control, and assembly are the most popular customizations design engineers and facilities managers are utilizing to maximize their investments. 

1 – For Lighting: LED Compact Lighting System

The Rittal LED Compact Lighting System is a safe, energy-efficient, extra-low-voltage interior lighting solution that delivers full coverage to all corners of the enclosure.  

Enterprise-ready and suitable for voltages ranging from 100–240 V (AC) and 24 V (DC), the LED system can be installed tool-free with clips that connect to a latch-in hook pattern—though optional screw fastening is also available. Magnetic installation is another option, for free positioning within the enclosure. Whichever assembly option you choose, motion detectors or door-operated switches for hands-free illumination are also available.  

2 – For Power Distribution: RiLine Busbar System 

In many regions around the world, busbar systems are the predominant solution for managing power needs now, and in the future. For engineers not familiar with the technology, the RiLine copper busbar system provides reliable power distribution and requires less panel modification, contact points, and wiring work. Busbar systems save space and time for panel builders and offer more contact hazard protection than other cable management options. 

3 – For Viewing Windows and Operating Panels: WKDH Deep Hinged Window Kit 

The Deep-Hinged Window Kit is ideal for installing a viewing window where access to components mounted behind it is required. It is designed to protect HMI displays and components mounted on enclosure panels from wash-downs, rain, snow, sleet, dirt, and dust. The window depth allows for extra-deep pushbuttons (~2”/50mm) and comes with a full-size drill template for easy mounting.  

4 – For Climate Control: TopTherm Filter Fans 

Simply and efficiently manage air flow in your enclosure with filter fans designed for tool-free, snap-in mounting and installation. The TopTherm filter fan’s new diagonal fan technology creates greater pressure stability and constant airflow when installed, even with a contaminated filter mat. This new technology also allows air currents to spread diagonally from the fan, promoting even circulation throughout an enclosure. 

5 – For Base Assembly: Flex-Block Base/Plinth System 

Save assembly time with high-strength plastic corner pieces that clip together base/plinth components. With this system, enclosure transport is uncomplicated, both empty and fully-configured, by removing the base/plinth trim panel. Plus, cable management is straightforward and efficient, saving space for enclosure configuration.

Modular Enclosure Buyers GuideRittal Is Engineered Better 

Whatever your enclosure needs, Rittal has an extensive line of accessories to optimize enclosure functions. Download the Modular Enclosure Buyer’s Guide to see how Rittal products are better than the competition!

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CMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized  Rittal distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

Balancing the Value of Air-to-Air and Air-to-Water Heat Exchangers

Guest contributor: Eric Corzine, Product Manager Climate Control, Rittal

Heat exchangers provide highly efficient cooling for electrical components. As energy costs increase, they are getting more consideration by system designers. Before making a design decision between air-to-air and air-to-water heat exchangers,  it is important to weigh installation considerations and use-cases. Here, we have provided an overview of each technology to help you determine which can best impact your equipment and your bottom line.

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Air-to-air heat exchangers are the most common type of exchangers. They work by utilizing the difference between the hotter internal temperature of an enclosure and the cooler, ambient air temperature. Engineers can implement air-to-air exchangers in a variety of industrial environments, including food and beverage, waste and wastewater, and automotive.

Air-to-air exchangers can utilize existing airflow patterns, through convection or forced air, and do not require additional accessories or equipment. The technology can utilize the airflow within an enclosure or can connect to existing ductwork and HVAC systems.

There are some limitations to air-to-air heat exchangers, particularly in the climates they could be installed. For instance, if the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures is to great then the effectiveness of the exchangers can be significantly reduced. Recent technology upgrades, however, have made air-to-air exchangers functional even in climates that reach temperatures of -13°F.

These factors make air-to-air heat exchangers useful in applications where plumbing for liquid cooling would be difficult to install, and where existing air flow patterns and equipment layout allow for effective cooling. Often, this means situations with moderate thermal loads. HVAC engineers can install them quickly as well, which reduces setup time and costs. However, they are still less efficient compared to air-to-water exchangers because air is not as effective at transferring heat as water.

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Air-to-water heat exchangers use the same principle of temperature differential to provide heating or cooling, however, they alter the temperature of air by forcing it across water coils.

Because of the efficient heat transfer capabilities of water, they can help reduce energy use and utility costs significantly. This is especially useful in situations with large thermal loads, such as IT mainframe applications or an automotive manufacturing environment where water is already available.

One of the drawbacks of air-to-water heat exchangers is the need to pipe water to the unit. The technology requires plumbing and a reliable water supply or recirculation system, which often means pumps, valves, and other accessories.

These plumbing concerns often mean higher installation costs, so engineers need to balance the initial cost with the expected savings over the lifetime of the exchanger. Overall, air-to-water exchangers are useful for high-demand, energy intensive applications.

Making the Right Choice

It is important to consider the right exchanger for your specific climate control situation. The ultimate decision will balance installation and operational costs, target cooling capacity and thermal loads.

Air-to-air exchangers can get up and running quickly and engineers can integrate them into many different kinds of applications easily. Air-to-water exchangers deliver better efficiency and can suit more energy-demanding applications, but they require plumbing and water supplies, which may not always be available. The ultimate choice, then, should consider these factors and engineers should thoroughly research both types of exchangers to understand which one will best suit their application.

Learn more about climate control at Rittal.com 

About Us

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CMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized  Rittal distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.