Industrial enclosure specialist, Rittal, looks at four excuses often given for not carrying out maintenance on enclosure cooling systems, and explains how they can have significant implications.
Regardless of your industry and the product you manufacture, production downtime is a crucial performance indicator to monitor because of the direct impact it can have on your bottom line. As well as lost production, more downtime equals increased spares/maintenance costs, taken directly from your profit. This could have been invested to meet more pertinent business objectives such as purchasing new machinery.
Do you ever hear (or even make) any of the following excuses as reasons not to tackle climate control provision and maintenance in your production and automation facilities? They could all lead to costly downtime, which your business could avoid.
I will fix a problem when it occurs
In the past, the approach of reactive maintenance was seen as acceptable for most businesses. However, times have changed. The key goals of any sized business are now becoming increased throughput, cost efficiency and continuous improvement. Potential roadblocks to output targets need to be nipped in the bud, and nobody wants to be the one in the morning meeting explaining why yesterday’s targets weren’t met!
The implementation of a semi-regular maintenance schedule doesn’t have to be massively time-consuming. Even something as simple as a weekly visual check of cooling equipment filter mats or any system alarms can alert you in good time to call in the experts, who can then perform a more detailed review for you.
We just open the enclosure door for a while
This is treating the symptoms rather than the illness. If you have to resort to a tactic such as using large fans to blow ambient air into an open enclosure, you could be doing more harm than good. Not to mention that this is a massively dangerous solution from a health and safety standpoint.
An enclosure’s purpose is to create an environment in which electrical equipment is protected from ambient contaminants. Having the door open allows a constant stream of dirty air to be pulled into the enclosure. This will then gather in switchgear/connection points and cause short circuits or block onboard fans, resulting in damage to componentry, reduced life, and possible critical component failure.
A RiAssure cooling review from Rittal is perfect in this instance. Your local climate control expert will perform a short appraisal of your existing equipment and give you honest feedback on whether the equipment is adequate.
My equipment is currently operating, and I haven’t serviced it in months/years
The problem may be out of sight, out of mind for now, but the longer your cooling equipment is left unchecked, the higher the risk.
For example, if a fan unit is in a dusty environment and the filter mat becomes clogged, this will reduce its effectiveness to cool the electrical equipment due to a reduced level of air throughput.
This, in turn, can increase the enclosure internal temperature. As a rule of thumb, for every 10°C, you increase your internal temperature, you halve the life of the equipment within and increase the likelihood of an unexpected failure.
I don’t have the workforce/we have a company who does that work for us
Many companies that outsource their servicing to a third party don’t understand what checks they are performing. In one example, a Rittal engineer asked a customer to speak with their service provider to understand what checks were being undertaken because his cooling units were in quite a state of disrepair. It became clear after a short discussion that they serviced air conditioning in the offices and didn’t even look in the factory.
This is not the case for all service providers. However, the only guarantee of the highest level of checks and service will come from engineers who the manufacturers have trained to fully understand the technology and its detailed workings.
Everyone has budgets and savings targets to hit, so ask yourself, can you afford not to have correct maintenance in place?