From the assembly line to the networked future:

Process optimisation in the automotive industry

The German automotive industry is one of the world's most robust, dynamic, and competitive industries. It is famous for high-quality vehicles of all types and state-of-the-art technologies.  

The automotive industry is currently experiencing the most significant transformation in its history. Globally, car manufacturers are focusing increasingly on electromobility to meet growing market demands for clean energy. Many companies are also investing in autonomous vehicles and working to develop all the associated technologies.

In order to remain competitive during this critical phase in this fiercely contested market, digitisation plays a crucial role. For this transition to be successful, continuous process optimisation, rapid data processing, and reliable IT infrastructure are vital. Companies can monitor, analyse and optimise their processes by using advanced digitalisation technologies such as IoT, big data analytics and artificial intelligence. This enables more efficient production, improved quality and a faster market launch of vehicles.

Rittal operates in the industrial environment and is a globally renowned partner to the automotive industry with its extensive portfolio of enclosures, climate control, power distribution, IT infrastructure, software and services solutions. Every product meets regional and national regulations. Rittal also guarantees manufacturers the highest quality standards, reliable deliveries and top-class service.

Standard and customised enclosure and IT rack systems, efficient climate control and advanced engineering systems in panel building and switchgear manufacturing, as well as innovative value-creation strategies are decisive factors for success in the automotive industry.

IEA. (April 26, 2023). Estimated plug-in electric light vehicle sales worldwide from 2015 to 2022 (in million units) [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved February 23, 2024, from

One of the most recent trends in the automotive industry's restructuring and re-shaping is the move to electromobility and the increasing need for battery technology. Numerous gigafactories are currently being planned because the EU is striving to establish battery production in Europe. This change is affecting both manufacturers and suppliers.

New ways of optimising production processes and leveraging the potential of innovative technologies are vital for the future automotive industry.

Through careful design, planning, and implementation, production capacities can be increased while still maintaining the highest quality standards.

As a hugely experienced partner, Rittal supports and enhances the automotive industry with customer-specific, future-proof products and innovative and dependable services. During digitalisation, Rittal offers end-to-end solutions that increase planning efficiency and avoid redundancies.

From production of the cell and battery itself to operation and second-life use, batteries go through a wide-ranging and complex life cycle.

Highly automated production technology is crucial for the market launch and optimisation of battery cells. Digitalised and networked ecosystems alongside standardised system technology are vital for this particular manufacturing process in particular, which is all about speed, efficiency and quality.

The subsidiaries of the Friedhelm Loh group – Rittal, Eplan, CIDEON and German Edge Cloud – work together to offer customer-specific solutions for the complete battery life cycle.

As a solution provider Eplan provides support in electrical design, planning, automation and mechatronics. Support not only for the wiring systems but also for the battery and the production itself.

The Eplan software app allows digital twins of the battery to be optimised with all the relevant electrical engineering information during the design, planning and engineering stages and in the management of the control technology that later operates the systems in the factory.

The Eplan software and Rittal's enclosure system technology and automation solutions ensure greater efficiency in panel building and switchgear manufacturing. Panel builders and switchgear manufacturers benefit from complete end-to-end workflows across the entire value chain.

German Edge Cloud provides additional support with a visual presentation of all production processes with their versatile Oncite Digital Production System. This means that any bottlenecks, problems or faults can be identified at an early stage and subsequent measures can be taken immediately to improve efficiency.

Rittal offers the correct system solution for every Energy Storage application. Both new battery cells and car batteries whose power density has decreased (second-life batteries) can be used in energy storage systems.

With flexible and scalable system solutions, Rittal makes it easier to establish and expand energy storage systems, thereby offering greater versatility. Besides enclosure, rack, cabinet and container solutions, the Rittal modular system also offers power distribution and climate control technology, as well as software tools, planning and project planning services.

Increasing globalisation and fierce competitive pressures require the automotive industry to produce vehicles worldwide efficiently, flexibly, error-free and in high quality.

Standardised production systems and work processes offer one solution. These standards are defined by equipment regulations, approved material lists and specifications. In particular, the variety and customised nature of enclosures often lead to challenging maintenance situations.

As a long-term partner of the automotive industry, Rittal offers globally available, UL/IEC-certified products and services.

The standardised digitalisation solutions offered by Rittal products provide clear documentation, simplify maintenance, and save time, money, effort and resources. This prevents production downtime, ensures operational reliability and provides a solid base for future-oriented production.

With Rittal ePOCKET, the digital wiring plan platform, users can easily access system documentation, including the digital twin, from anywhere. This gives users full transparency and all the necessary data quickly at their fingertips.

Current trends towards de-globalisation and the associated difficulties in applying global standards pose new challenges for the industry. Rittal's overall objective here is aimed at helping customers overcome these challenges and reduce difficulties – despite these developments. By using standardised equipment, components and platforms, Rittal enables its partners and customers to adapt flexibly to local requirements.

Autonomous driving is another part of the transformation of the automotive industry. Self-driving vehicles promise greater safety on the roads, new business opportunities, and more efficient mobility solutions. With the advent of autonomous vehicles, the need for high computing capacity is increasing. Vehicles are becoming central contact points for intelligent sensors to generate data. This data must be transmitted and interchanged with its surroundings via high-performance, low-latency, high-reliability software.

Reliable IT infrastructure creates the basis for this wide-ranging and profound digital transformation and for implementing this technology between automobile manufacturers, suppliers and regulators.

Current IT infrastructures are often not designed to meet the needs of millions of vehicles. Rittal solutions can provide the high computing capacity to run complex algorithms and AI-based systems.

It is essential to reduce carbon emissions to mitigate the effects of climate change. Sustainability is playing a progressively more important role for vehicle manufacturers who increasingly are focusing on environmentally friendly production methods.

And of course statutory regulations meanwhile must also be complied with. These include the new F-Gas Regulation, for example, which mandates a gradual reduction in climate-damaging emissions across Europe. In this context, climate-friendly Rittal cooling units provide an average energy saving of 75 per cent compared to their predecessors. Greater energy efficiency not only contributes to the necessary reduction of carbon emissions but also helps to reduce costs in the automobile factory.

"Rittal’s inspection revealed significant savings potentials for our plant."

Helmar Bencker, Plant Engineering & Environment Manager at Ford in Cologne

Automotive manufacturing is a complex and constantly evolving process. The automotive industry must adapt to changing conditions while, at the same time, reducing costs to stay competitive. With this in mind, therefore, a strategic focus on customer-specific value-creation solutions is becoming enormously important. Companies are spotlighting the efficient design of their processes to minimise wasted time and resources. This enables errors, faults and defects to be recognised and rectified at an early stage and product quality to be improved.

Engineering systems, in particular, play a significant role in the automotive industry, where high precision and efficiency are crucial. By using advanced planning and design tools, car and vehicle manufacturers can develop their control and switchgear systems precisely and effectively. With many years of experience in vehicle manufacture, Rittal and Eplan are strong partners to the automotive industry – well known for taking a holistic view and paying attention to the complete value chain.

"With our data-driven press shop and the associated Schuler Digital Suite track-and-trace system, we are responding to our customers’ call for easy-to-use total solutions,” explains Domenico Iacovelli, the Schuler Group’s CEO. As a companion on the path to digitalisation, the company is thus ensuring complete transparency in production: “In the event of any product recalls, for example, the entire supply chain can be traced – without any gaps – and the cause of the fault can be quickly identified."

Domenico Iacovelli, CEO of Schuler Group / Member of the Executive Board Andritz Group

Our References

Ford Motorenwerke

Service and efficiency check of cooling units reveals savings potentials

The Ford engine plant in Cologne was forced to shut down a number of times in the space of a year due to defective cooling units. The company immediately accepted the offer from Rittal to carry out a manufacturer-independent inventory of all cooling...

Hyundai Motor Company

Efficiency through global standardisation

When bringing its global plant technology and systems into line with Industry 4.0 standards, the automotive manufacturer Hyundai Motor Compoany specified solutions from Eplan and Rittal as the international standard for design, engineering and equipment...

Stellantis Mexico

Service contract for 1,500 cooling units

Stellantis is the fourth-biggest car manufacturer in the world, producing world-famous brands in more than 30 countries. In Saltillo in Mexico, for example, Stellantis produces car engines for the North-American market.


E-mobility for everybody

The international availability and quality of Rittal products were decisive factors in winning the order from Tritium. The Rittal solution is also used, among other things, to protect the sensitive electrical components of the charging stations from...

Lefdal Mine

High-performance computing power at the fjord

Digitalisation is giving a real boost to high performance computing (HPC) – a sector that needs to be environmentally friendly, too. A great deal of computing power, in other words, a lot of energy for servers and cooling, and all that in harmony with...

This is how the future looks

German Edge Cloud (GEC) is cooperating with Schuler, a machine and plant building company.

In this context, Schuler is offering a track-and-trace solution for press plants within the Digital Suite, based on technology from German Edge Cloud.