Case study

A&E Engineering Inc. Transforms Operational Efficiency with Rittal and Eplan


A&E Engineering Inc., based in Greer, South Carolina, has been a prominent automation systems integrator for three decades. Specializing in providing solutions for diverse industries, including automotive, manufacturing, food and beverage, chemical, pharmaceutical, energy, and defense, A&E offers comprehensive services ranging from electrical engineering design to panel fabrication and software development for plant floor control and information systems.

The Challenge: Operational Efficiency

Despite A&E’s longstanding relationship with Rittal and Eplan, they were seeking to vastly improve operational efficiency for their panel building efforts. To better serve customer demands, meet stricter lead times, and maintain a high level of quality and precision, A&E needed a new, automated solution. With the combined efforts of Rittal and Eplan, an end-to-end solution encompassing the entire value chain was successfully implemented.

The Value Chain Solution

A&E was able to rise above their challenges by building a stronger partnership with Rittal and Eplan. By incorporating a new Perforex machine and integrating Eplan software into the mix, A&E found their hurdles could be tackled with ease with lasting results.

A Strategic Partnership

A&E's longstanding relationship with Rittal has evolved into a genuine partnership. According to Wright Sullivan, President of A&E, "We've been using Rittal enclosures for three decades, but what's changed within the past few years is the nature of our relationship. It has evolved from the tactical use of their products to a truly strategic partnership."

Sullivan continued to emphasize the importance of merging hardware and software to produce end results that could be reliably made in a streamlined manner. “We see the combination of Eplan and Rittal, including Rittal Automation Systems, as a pivotal point between design and equipment; it provides us with an end-to-end process,” explained Sullivan.

Eplan's Role in Efficiency

A&E has been utilizing Eplan's software and service solutions for over 15 years with the design software playing a crucial role in providing a solid foundation in electrical design at the beginning of the process. A&E goes beyond using the software by hosting Eplan training sessions in their state-of-the-art onsite training facility in Greer.

“Our strategic location in a region of concentrated automotive manufacturing made it a no brainer for Eplan to use our training facility,” explained Sullivan. “Eplan needed to connect with customers in this region. It presented the opportunity to not only improve our knowledge but also enable others to broaden their knowledge.”

Investment in Rittal's Perforex Machining Center

To further enhance efficiency, A&E invested in a Rittal Automation Systems (RAS) Perforex machining center. This fully automated system offers drilling, milling, and thread tapping for panels and enclosures. Hughes explained the significant impact of the Perforex machine on their business, streamlining the panel fabrication process and reducing time and labor.

About the Perforex Machine

The Perforex machine seamlessly accommodates everything from the smallest enclosures to expansive enclosure panels. The drilling and milling capabilities of the Perforex series are versatile, allowing for the precision machining of various materials such as powder-coated sheet, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, and plastic. By streamlining the entire process, the Perforex easily replaces labor-intensive manual machining with hand tools.

The Perforex not only guarantees a fast ROI but also significantly enhances competitiveness in the industry. This machine ensures short processing times without compromising on consistent machining quality. The intuitive workshop programming system is suitable for remote maintenance and further adds to its efficiency. Equipped with networking-compatible software featuring a central database, the Perforex seamlessly integrates all processes. Programmable workshop jobs are readily available, providing immediate usability and reusability for increased flexibility and efficiency.

The Results

Not only did A&E receive excellent efficiency boosts in their operations with the integration of both the Perforex machine and Eplan software, but they also gained improved customer perception with a solidified Rittal/Eplan partnership moving into the future.

Improved Operational Efficiency

Gary Hughes, senior team leader at A&E, highlighted the efficiency gains from Eplan software, stating, "Eplan's design tools make us more efficient in design, but it flows seamlessly through the Rittal Automation System equipment, all the way through to the Rittal panels."

Hughes went on to explain how Eplan brought added value to A&E with significant time and cost savings, stating, “The Perforex has improved our business on multiple fronts. The efficiency gain comes directly from the design aspect. What may have taken us a full day to do before can be put on the Perforex and completed in about an hour. It shortens the time significantly and delivers a great deal of labor and waste savings."

Hughes emphasized the compatibility of Perforex with any supplier's enclosure but highlighted its optimal performance with Rittal enclosures. “Equipment like the Perforex will work with any supplier’s enclosure, but it works best with Rittal enclosures. It gives us the end-to-end appreciation for Eplan on electrical design, all the way through to a Rittal enclosure. It makes our jobs easier and makes the company more efficient."

Customer Perception and Market Impact

The integration of Perforex has not only freed up A&E's team to focus on other aspects of panel development but has also elevated their standing in the eyes of customers. Sullivan noted, "When customers come through our doors and see that we're actually automating panel fabrication, it puts us on a whole new level in their eyes."

Value in Partnerships and Future Outlook

Apart from the end-to-end solutions, A&E recognized the value in the partnerships formed with Rittal and Eplan. Sullivan expressed his satisfaction, stating, "I think that they are great partners, and the combination of our own efficiency initiatives coupled with the tools Rittal and Eplan have available are going to continue to significantly increase our capabilities."

Through the collaborative efforts of Rittal and Eplan, A&E Engineering Inc. has become more agile in the market, identified new business opportunities, increased output, and passed on value to customers through quicker turnaround times and reduced overall costs. This strategic partnership continues to propel A&E towards a growth-oriented future in automation systems integration.

Conclusion: A Vision for Continued Success

A&E Engineering Inc.'s collaboration with Rittal and Eplan helped transform their internal operations. As they look to the future, A&E remains confident in the capabilities afforded by their collaboration with Rittal and Eplan. The company envisions continued growth, increased market share, and a pioneering role in shaping the future of automation. With a solid foundation built on a strategic partnership, A&E Engineering Inc. stands poised for sustained success in an ever-evolving industry.

Contact Rittal Today to Improve Automation Systems Efficiency

If your business is facing similar efficiency challenges to A&E Engineering Inc., then simply contact Rittal today. Our team of experts is dedicated to working closely with you to determine the best possible solution to meet your requirements and application. Whether you are looking for Eplan design software, industrial automation enclosures, automated systems, or solutions across the entire value chain, Rittal stands as a partner to help you meet your operational and growth goals.