The magazine of Friedhelm Loh Group

The magazine of Friedhelm Loh Group

Energy Storage
Experience – Energy

Uninterrupted power for industry

Energy storage systems. Power cuts are a pain. If they happen to a high-tech industrial plant that is busy processing plastic, the consequences are serious. Unplanned machine downtime causes production to grind to a halt, which costs time and money. However, industrial emergency power systems with lithium-ion batteries – safely stowed in VX25 enclosures – offer a solution.

Text Dr. Jörg Lantzsch and Hans-Robert Koch ––– Photography

The power goes out. The extrusion plant shudders to a stop. It had been working at full capacity, processing plastics and producing ultra-thin films. Now, that plastic film has torn. It is hugely frustrating, but the damage is even worse. As the drives and heating systems are out of action, the whole machine has cooled down. The plant will need to be heated up and cleaned all over again. Ultimately, this all results in a production stoppage lasting several hours.
Sound like a theoretical worst-case scenario? It is not, this has actually happened. That is why mechanical engineering companies such as Windmöller & Hölscher, which is based in Lengerich, not far from Osnabrück in north west Germany, have long been looking for an emergency power solution that will help them effectively avoid such scenarios and similarly serious total stoppages. The mechanical engineers are being helped by UPS specialists Wöhrle Stromversorgungssysteme, the solution provider for industrial energy storage solutions Commeo and Rittal, the system supplier for enclosure technology.

This collaboration has produced an online UPS system with a modular lithium-ion energy storage unit that safeguards the continuous operation of the TIRATEX tape stretching line. “It is the world’s first lithium-based, uninterruptible emergency power supply for industrial plants,” says Michael Schnakenberg, CEO of Commeo, before explaining: “Until now, technical and economic considerations have made it impossible to use lithium-ion batteries as a back-up power supply for large industrial machines.”

The UPS (uninterruptible power supply) comprises modular energy storage blocks that provide a discharge capacity of up to 6 C with an output of 200 kW on a footprint smaller than one square metre. “As our energy storage units are based on lithium-ion technology, they are relatively compact and can therefore be integrated into an industrial application without taking up too much space,” points out Frank Vöge, Head of Sales and Project Management at Commeo. Given its performance data, the system is able to maintain the power supply to a machine until the diesel generator is up and running and can take over.


Commeo adopted a whole new approach to the development of the energy storage system. “No matter what, we wanted to integrate the lithium-ion batteries into the overall system in a way that satisfies all the normal industry standards,” Schnakenberg points out, highlighting a key requirement. That is why, when it comes to enclosure technology, for instance, the company is using the new VX25 enclosures from Rittal. “The enclosure system from Rittal, as the market leader, is really well established in industry and also helps boost acceptance for our energy storage systems on the market,” says Schnakenberg with confidence. Another factor is that systems integrators such as Wöhrle also use enclosures from Rittal to house their power electronics.

The systems feature a modular design and consist of separate energy storage blocks that accommodate the separate battery cells and a battery management system. They can be scaled as required, which involves installing the relevant number of energy storage blocks along with a control unit in a VX25 enclosure. “Unlike other suppliers, we don’t use water to cool the energy storage blocks, meaning they require absolutely no maintenance and are less liable to break down,” explains Schnakenberg.

The individual blocks only have cooling fins on their casing, with heat management taken care of by the enclosure’s climate control system. The climate control solution can be adapted to suit the size of the energy storage system and environmental conditions at the installation site. Commeo benefits from its partnership with Rittal in this respect, too. Since the enclosure and climate control solution come from the same supplier, everything is perfectly coordinated. “We also benefit from being able to use climate control systems that have been proven in industrial applications,” adds Schnakenberg.

The TIRATEX tape stretching line from Windmöller & Hölscher can rely on an uninterruptible power supply. This is made possible by the energy storage solution from Commeo, which is based on lithium-ion technology.

“By using the Rittal system range comprising the VX25 enclosure, power distribution technology and climate-control systems as a basis, our customers can now easily add a battery system to their plants and control solutions.”

Jörg Kreiling
Director PM Energy & Power Solutions at Rittal

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