Why Climate Control is so Critical for Automotive Plants

February 19 2021

Market Insight

Automotive plants contend with extreme conditions. From a hot foundry to gearbox machining and plastic molding, temperatures can fluctuate dramatically, causing potential damage to the machinery, hardware, and technology used daily. As a result, it’s imperative to implement climate control in order to keep the sensitive technology that powers production running.

Climate control for efficiency

Heat has profound effects on the technology housed within automotive plants. And it exists everywhere, from ambient temperature to proximity to power supplies. Even components rated to handle hot temperatures can degrade as heat load rises. In order to protect mission-critical technology and hardware, the thermal control system within automotive plants must mitigate heat-related risks. Consequences of high heat on equipment can include:

  • Decreased power performance
  • Trip faults and fluctuations in circuits 
  • Mean time between failure decrease 
  • Component set point drift 
  • Intermittent or catastrophic system failure 
  • Voided component warranty 
  • Factory downtime 
  • Lost revenue 
  • Delayed shipments 
  • Customer dissatisfaction
  • Component replacement costs

Within the automotive industry in particular, a significant amount of energy is expended for control cabinet air conditioning. Reducing heat via ventilation and cooling plants is especially important because of the heat loss incurred in integrated electrical appliances.

Climate control for sustainability

In addition to protecting your facility’s valuable equipment, the right cooling system can also help automotive plants save energy, lowering costs while reducing carbon output. In the United states, one-fifth of carbon emissions come from industry. And sustainability is important for a variety of reasons, from benefiting the environment to saving costs on the amount of energy being consumed.

Using sustainable products like the Rittal Blue e+ can help your facility provide cooling that automatically adjusts to ambient conditions while providing up to 75% more energy savings than similar cooling systems. And the Blue e+ series offers a Smart IoT interface that enables operating data to be shared both around the plant and to outside devices. This encourages ease of access, lowers a facility’s carbon footprint, and lowers maintenance costs.

UL 60335-2-40 Compliance

With UL Standard 1995 and CSA Standard C22.2 No. 236, two standard requirements that apply to heating and cooling equipment, currently scheduled to sunset on November 16, 2022 and November 30, 2022, respectively, facilities across industries are preparing for the next generation of climate control standards.

After January 1, 2024, UL/CSA 60335-2-40 will be mandated across industries, but many facilities are transitioning to approved climate control solutions now to ensure they are ready. 

What does this mean for auto manufacturers? UL 60335-2-40 is an ANSI/SCC-approved refrigerant detector standard that covers electrical heat pumps, air conditioners, and dehumidifiers. For each unit, the UL 60335-2-40:

  • Requires refrigerant leak detection
  • Requires refrigerant charge limits to be based on the amount of hydrocarbons that can be used in a standard-sized room
  • Requires appliances to not have any potential internal ignition sources, which mitigates the risk of fires caused by a leak

But why wait until 2023 to start thinking about UL 60335-2-40? The benefit to transitioning to UL 60335-2-40 approved climate control solutions, such as Rittal's Blue e+ line, now is that you can reduce your energy usage, decrease the time you spend on maintenance, and lower your energy costs.

Automotive plants across the United States often contend with extreme conditions. Consequently, rising heat can damage and slowly degrade mission-critical technology and equipment, raising costs and increasing the carbon footprint within facilities. Implementing climate control enclosures and software can help your plant save money, become more sustainable, and comply with changing regulations. Rittal offers complete system solutions whose robustness and functionality meet automotive industry requirements.

If you own a Rittal product and it needs to be evaluated or repaired, take a look at our services page. We provide customers with a product warranty for climate products for two years after the date of manufacturing (DOM).

Learn how a Rittal climate efficiency analysis can help you increase efficiency and reduce energy costs!