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WINSTA® in Control Cabinet Lights from Rittal


Good lighting is an important requirement for safe and error-free work, particularly during control cabinet maintenance. The new control cabinet lights from Rittal perfectly illuminate the control cabinet and also offer numerous advantages during switchgear construction. They are compact, can be easily incorporated and connections are simple thanks to the WINSTA® Pluggable Connection System from WAGO.

According to a well-known adage, “All cats are gray in the dark.” The background lies in the physiology of the human eye, which has different sensory cells: 120 million rods for vision in low light, and 6 million cones for color vision. The rods are significantly more sensitive than the cones, which is why color vision is impacted so strongly by illumination. This becomes enormously important during maintenance work in a control cabinet. First, one must be able to easily identify the different colors of the conductors.

New LED Light Series for the Control Cabinet

Rittal, a systems vendor, supplies control cabinets, power distribution, air-conditioning systems and IT infrastructure worldwide. The company’s portfolio also includes a comprehensive range of accessories for the control cabinets. In 2016, Rittal introduced a new series of LED lights for control cabinets that implemented numerous requests from customers. In addition to optimally illuminating the control cabinet, their customers – primarily in control devices, switchgears and mechanical engineering – place specific value on simple assembly, error-free installation and global usability.

The new control cabinet lights have a side range of voltage inputs from 100 VAC to 240 VAC or from 24 VDC. Regardless of whether the system will be used in Germany, the US, or Asia, the same control cabinet lights can be installed. The LED lights have the corresponding approvals – for example, UL for the US and other North and South American markets.

The modern LED lights provide a light illumination of 400, 600, 900, and 1200 lumens. In order to optimally illuminate the control cabinet, they are equipped with a cover, which is made from transparent plastic and has integrated Fresnel lens structures. The latter focuses the light so that is reaches the lower areas in the control cabinet. If the lights will be mounted on the side instead of the top, then the cover with the Fresnel lenses can be removed and replaced at a better angle. This guarantees optimal lighting for this installation orientation as well.

Users have three possibilities for mounting the devices: Magnetic fastening, clip mounting on the control cabinet rail or screw mounting. The brackets for screw mounting can be easily folded out from the body of the lights. The mounting is accomplished quickly, regardless of fastening type. This saves time in the electrical shop, and thus costs. “Saving time for our customers was important during product development,” explains Kurt-Michael Schaffer, the project leader at Rittal who was responsible for the development of the new LED light series. To guarantee fast and easy use during electrical wiring, the developers at Rittal decided to use pluggable connection technology.

Connection Technology with WINSTA®

Rittal relies on WINSTA® MINI Pluggable Connectors from WAGO for their electrical connections. They are very compact, making them perfect for integrating into the small lights. Depending on the version of light, two-pole or three-pole WINSTA® Pluggable Connectors are used, which can be directly soldered to the PCB inside the light. The three-pole pluggable connectors are also equipped with a socket, and Rittal makes use of these when a PE conductor must be connected in addition to the neutral and phase conductors. The bright lights have a width of 437 mm. In control cabinets that only have a width of 600 mm, the space for plugging in the connectors is scarce because the bending radius of the connection cables has to be maintained. Therefore, Rittal developed a solution in which the pluggable connectors can be located in the lights and then rotated by 90 degrees to the rear. This gains sufficient space on the back side. “Because the WINSTA® Pluggable Connectors are so compact, we could implement this function using standard components,” emphasizes Schaffer.

Rittal also provides pre-assembled cables with suitable WINSTA® Pluggable Connectors. These only have to be connected at the electrical side and inserted into the lights. This minimizes labor expenses for mounting and wiring. If lights are required in several adjacent control cabinets, these can be easily connected using pre-fabricated cascading connection lines. Customers can also order cables for through wiring directly from Rittal. 10 lights can be supplied with current from one point for models with sockets, and 15 lights for models without sockets. Both the connecting leads and the junction wires for through wiring are available in black or orange. Schaffer explains this unique option, “The color orange signals that current is still supplied to the lights, even if the switchgears in the control cabinet have been de-energized.”

When selecting the supplier for the plug connection technology, it was particularly important for those responsible for strategic purchasing at Rittal that the sockets, plugs, and cable assemblies could be delivered by one manufacturer. WAGO had the manufacturing capacity, which enabled on-time delivery of the large quantities required. The lights are produced by a third party, who also sources WINSTA® Pluggable Connectors directly from WAGO. The Dillenburg Counseling Center packages the pre-fabricated conductors in blister packaging, which are then sent to locations around the globe from Rittal’s central warehouse. “This arrangement increases our company’s community impact in the region.”

Approvals Are Mandatory

The new control cabinet lights offer customers in mechanical engineering and equipment construction the advantage of being used worldwide regardless of mains voltage. The connection technology using the WINSTA® Pluggable Connection System is also the same for all models. “The ability to use our lights internationally was required,” according to a statement by Rittal sales division, “that meant the approvals for the corresponding markets were also necessary.” Thus, as an example, the control cabinet lights have UL approval for the US market. It is important for Rittal that all components are already approved as UL recognized, which makes UL approval for the control cabinet lights significantly easier to obtain. This, in turn, becomes another compelling reason for selecting the WINSTA® Pluggable Connectors.

Rittal created the new LED light series in a very short development time of just one year. According to Schaffer, the seamless collaboration with vendors contributed to this, “We have a contact partner with WAGO who ensured that the technical information and the CAD data for the pluggable connectors was made available to us very quickly.”

WAGO could also quickly establish the necessary production capacity for the pre-fabricated connection and junction lines. Sales at Rittal is convinced that, “With WAGO, we have a vendor who is known for the quality of their connection technology.”

Text: Michael Radau, WAGO
Photos: Rittal