The challenge of carrying out global projects in a digital context, and at a distance, requires us to increasingly need more reliable software tools. Thermal management software, along with initial project data verification, can help panel builders minimize time spent calculating while also providing more reliable data to bring clients closer, even if the project is far from our workspace.
Thermal management of industrial automation and control panel projects presupposes the integration of many variables. Let’s review common problems and issues:
- The initial data should consider the location of the electrical installation, indoor or outdoor, as the calculations for the two will be completely different.
- The different outdoor environments and the associated characteristics are decisive in deciding the best thermal solution to apply and whether or not the enclosure planning can accept outdoor air for cooling.
- These different environments will affect the reliability and stability of the operational equipment, as well as influence processes or services. These variables can have a huge impact on cost if not considered precisely in the design phase.
Common thermal management pitfalls
The most common thermal-related mistakes that we have observed in the market are:
- Incorrect initial data. It is particularly important to have good starting specifications, if possible, with measurements of previous environments for both temperature and humidity
- Oversizing or undersizing. Either can become errors in the medium term under extreme conditions or when scaling up an electrical installation.
- Errors of mechanical incompatibility. A mismatch between thermal solution and electrical cabinet cannot occur, especially with very tight delivery times requested of the Panel Builder. Likewise, an OEM cannot accept errors in the integration, installation, and assembly processes even when moving machines to the other side of the planet, working with shortened start-up times, and using displaced teams dedicated to this mission.
- Selecting the wrong thermal architectures. This mistake can mean extra CapEx costs due to premature wear of the electrical equipment, for example using ventilation for cooling in the harsh external environments found in water treatment plants or chemical industries. The wrong architecture can even result in high maintenance costs due to unnecessary overheating, with this problem arising from a lack of a good thermal calculation.
- Exceeding internal limit temperatures or being outside the optimal temperature operating range. These mistakes can lead to condensation and other phenomena, causing extremely high costs for the end user (please see our Thermal Guide).
- Lacking spare parts in critical installations. Having a sufficient inventory of spare parts ensures proper preventive maintenance of an enclosure.
Calculating a thermal management solution
The right thermal management software can help avoid these problems. However, in calculations and scenario evaluations, it is vital to have software that can determine when it is possible to ventilate and when it is necessary to go to thermal solutions with more cooling power and a higher energy cost, such as air conditioners or air-water exchangers. Any thermal software should also help maximize energy efficiency, improve reliability, and produce documentation for all project stakeholders.
For example, ProClima Web is a thermal software tool that contemplates all the variables necessary to carry out automation and control panel calculations, in less than 5 minutes on average while using two advanced algorithms. It incorporates more than 20 years of experience in indoor and outdoor environments for passive variables, including cabinet material, surface, installation position, relative humidity, and more. ProClima also handles active elements, like dissipation values of internal equipment, dissipation through cabinet walls according to IEC 60890 and 61.439 ( heat exchange walls calculations part), and so on. The tool enables a wide-open and complete view of all the thermal solution options using calculations carried out according to the data provided by the user.
ProClima explores solutions through an examination of different scenarios, with an example found in the following figure.
Selection of a solution using ProClima always ensures:
- Energy efficiency – The software considers the heat dissipation or absorption values of the cabinet, which can be a thermal solution itself.
The surface value of the cabinet, the material (polyester, metal, or stainless steel), and its installation position can contribute to or extract calories in an important way, possibly as much as kilowatts.
Also, when comparing different solutions, ProClima will always propose a controller (e.g., thermostat, hygrostat, or hygrotherm) associated with the thermal solution that will reduce the energy consumption of the thermal equipment at least 50% of the time.
- Reliability in the data – The software has different internal databases to facilitate the validation information on the mechanical compatibility, power losses of the variable speed drives, PLC, and other installed main equipment. It also allows the integration of new heat sources not originally considered and a database of outdoor variables including solar radiation to be able to be integrated into the algorithms and so avoid errors in the specifications.
- A complete final project – The Program ends with the project document ready to be disseminated for the sales phase or to enrich the global project. The documentation includes all the necessary technical information for future users such as Panel Builders, OEMs, Facility Managers, Distributors, or end users.
Discover ProClima Web or connect directly and start your thermal management project. Remember, our commercial network and customer care center can collaborate with you at any time in the installation or project phase.