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ENCLOSURE & PANEL BUILDING SOLUTIONS FEATURE


EPLAN and Rittal add value for LCA Group S


ince taking over LCA Group in 2017, managing director Alan Sheppard has always


maintained a focus on innovation, and investing in technologies that would speed up client approval processes and improve communication between departments. Since then, EPLAN and Rittal have worked closely with the firm. Thanks to this trusted relationship, LCA was


chosen to trial the new EPLAN eVIEW solution, part of its rapidly growing portfolio of ePULSE cloud-based services. To complement its EPLAN software, the firm has also invested in Rittal’s laser Perforex, Assemblex and Secarex machines. LCA is a leading engineering company and was


recently named the most innovative business in North Wales. It provides electrical engineering services including project design, manufacturing, installation, commissioning and maintenance. LCA also operates the UK’s first Rittal Automation Systems 3D laser machining centre, which makes it possible for them to provide industry-leading 3D design and manufacturing capabilities.


VERSATILE SOFTWARE Underpinning LCA’s engineering and manufacturing operations is EPLAN’s Pro Panel software, which provides all necessary data for manufacturing like BOMs, drawings and flat projection drawings and integrates automation technologies perfectly in the processes of product development and manufacturing. This applies to the mechanical processing of the cabinet housing components and copper busbars, as well as for the control of machines in the cable and wire assembly. Even future-oriented automation technologies such as automated assembly of terminal strips or the robotic wiring of equipment are supported with the EPLAN Pro Panel package. LCA also uses EPLAN Smart Wiring, a system


that visualises the wiring and makes all wiring data 100% digitally available. Users benefit from a significant drop in the error rate and substantial time savings. This applies to last-minute changes in particular. EPLAN Smart Wiring’s digital representation refers to the virtual model’s 3D layout in EPLAN Pro Panel.


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EFFICIENT PROCESSES At LCA, the EPLAN software interfaces directly with Rittal’s advanced manufacturing systems. These include the Rittal Perforex LC 3015 3D laser machining centre, a revolutionary system for the construction of sheet steel panels. Using the facilities provided by EPLAN Pro Panel software, which has integrated 3D modelling, the Perforex LC 3015 can be programmed to perform measuring and machining to an extremely high degree of accuracy while processing panels in a fraction of the time previously required. A Rittal Secarex cutting centre to cut DIN


mounting rails, C rails and cable ducts is also used. This has improved quality and reduced waste. It includes a state-of-the-art operating station with an industrial PC, a 18.5in monitor and a keyboard with trackball. It also features pre-defined templates for various sizes of DIN rail and has an integrated label printer. LCA also uses the Rittal Averex system – a


robotic wiring centre. This is an automated solution for machinery, control enclosure and switchgear manufacturers that cuts the wires to the correct length, before stripping them and crimping them with wire ferrules. Then it feeds the wires through the cable duct and attaches them to components such as terminal blocks, contactors and motor circuit breakers. On average, it takes around 180 seconds to


complete this wiring process manually – but Averex finishes the same task in approximately 40 seconds. It is also exceptionally reliable, using lasers to identify the parts and check their dimensions against the assembly tolerances. The EPLAN and Rittal systems have significantly


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accelerated LCA’s design and production processes, providing efficiency and productivity – even in batch sizes of one!


CLOUD-BASED SOLUTIONS LCA was recently invited to trial EPLAN’s latest cloud-based products. EPLAN eVIEW, makes it easy for designers and customers to work closely together on projects, helping to speed up the design review process as well as reducing the need for design revision and reworking. With EPLAN eVIEW, engineering projects


generated using the EPLAN platform can be accessed directly via the cloud. This means that project data can be viewed anytime, anywhere, by anyone who has been granted access. One of the key features is a red-lining function that lets customers, employees on the shop floor and maintenance engineers add their suggestions for changes. These changes are then instantly accessible to the design engineers. For LCA, EPLAN eVIEW is already making


lengthy design reviews a thing of the past. Customers can mark-up drawings online and send their comments back to LCA within minutes. Using eVIEW means all drawings are accessed online; and it provides a full audit trail showing previous versions, and a full history of change requests including who initiated, approved and made them. LCA has benefitted greatly from using the


EPLAN ePULSE platform and has purchased two additional EPLAN Pro Panel licenses, along with company design standardisation, onsite consultancy and training services from EPLAN. In the future, LCA is planning to also purchase EPLAN Cogineer and EPLAN Preplanning. LCA has also joined the EPLAN ePULSE


customer advisory board, which is made up of carefully selected customers who help to guide EPLAN in the future development of cloud-based solutions. The board is pivotal in supporting the company’s commitment to providing solutions that are driven by customer input.


EPLAN www.eplan.co.uk





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