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Newly designed switch handle with changeable components for MPGAMMA

The Italian control cabinet manufacturer MPGAMMA relies on a mixture of tradition and innovation to develop its products. Now, it was time to modernise the design of its portfolio significantly. The comprehensive project also includes developing a new locking system for control cabinets and housings. In addition, the compression latches used until now were replaced by specially designed lifthandles. To develop the new system, ­MPGAMMA relied on EMKA’s expertise.

The Italian company MPGAMMA has been designing and producing stainless steel cabinets and housings for electronic control panels for almost 25 years. Because of its expertise in stainless steel design, the producer has held a strong position in the industry since its foundation and distributes its products internationally. The distribution network that has been created enables the Italian company to achieve constant and consolidated growth. In addition to its standard portfolio, the producer also responds to customer requests. Furthermore, MPGAMMA designs and produces 70 % of its personalised products in collaboration with its customers.

MPGAMMA’s target industries include the following industry sectors: food & beverages, chemicals & petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, marine as well as railways and telecommunications. In these areas, a high standard of hygiene is an essential requirement. That is why the Italian manufacturer uses AISI 304L and AISI 316L stainless steel to design its cabinets. Stainless steel is hygienic and corrosion-resistant. Furthermore, the products must comply with various specifications for international distribution. To meet these systems, the company works with a quality management system according to DIN EN ISO 9001:2015. Besides this certification by DNV-GL Italy, all products have also been tested and approved by TÜV Süd (German Technical Inspection Association) and UL. Furthermore, the IP66, IP67, and IP69K/IK10 degrees of protection are guaranteed. These standards have been achieved because of the company’s high specialisation in production techniques.

Housing design for the future

In order to take another step towards the future in terms of appearance and function, the Italian producer adapted the design of its cabinets. For this purpose, a comprehensive project was launched to redesign the products. The locking system of these housings was also to be replaced. Up to now, the Italians had used compression latches. These systems work with multiple interlocking and can be locked because of a turning movement on the knob. The door closes at several locking points that can be flexibly positioned on only one bar. However, the responsible designers at MPGAMMA decided to replace the previous design with a system using new lifthandles to open the cabinets faster. These handles are more pleasant to the touch while maintaining the same locking security.

MPGAMMA trusts its long-term partner EMKA

For the right choice and realisation of the new locking system, MPGAMMA decided to cooperate with EMKA. The combined know-how of both companies was to help develop a new handle system. EMKA has already been working successfully with the Italian cabinet manufacturer since the 2000s. “At that time, MPGAMMA was looking for a supplier with high stock levels and exceptional quality standards. That was the start of our long-term cooperation,” explains Alessandro ­Donelasci, Managing Director of EMKA Italy. 

Within a year, EMKA and MPGAMMA developed a new handle for the Italian company’s portfolio. The requirements of the control cabinet and housing manufacturer were broadly appropriate for EMKA’s 1390 standard lifthandle. However, some necessary adjustments also had to be made so that the handle could be mounted on MPGAMMA’s products. In the first step, EMKA adapted the model to the 25x150 and 25x68/14/68 cut outs. “This step presented a significant challenge to our team. First, all internal parts had to be identical to the standard model. Second, the new fastening points had to be located within the new cut out,” explains Roman Jung, the design engineer in the mechanical project development department at EMKA. In order to comply with these specifications, the gear wheel and the dish were changed to allow the handle to be fastened using a new fastening plate and four screw-on domes. Some modifications also had to be implemented on the guide plate for this step.

In “redesigning” its own product range, however, MPGAMMA also had a design-related adaptation of the individual solution in mind. This included shortening the handles at the top, extending the handles at the bottom and adapting the dish’s design. These changes were necessary to integrate a new slider cap into the handle. These slider caps are stamped at EMKA ­Italy, subsequently clipped onto the dish, and additionally secured by a clip.

Completion on schedule despite pandemic

The development of the individual lifthandle solution for MPGAMMA took one year. In the meantime, concerns arose about whether the schedule could be met because of the Corona pandemic. “There were critical phases – the ongoing pandemic certainly did not boost the development of the project,” explains Alessandro Donelasci, looking back at the development phase. “However, the good liaison work between EMKA Italy, ­MPGAMMA, and the technical developers in Germany ensured we could finish the result on schedule.”

MPGAMMA plans to use new lifthandles in the future

“The cooperation with EMKA on this project was again successful and straightforward,” explains Paolo Corvi from MPGAMMA. “The experts from Germany responded to all our requests and could perfectly adapt the handles to the cut outs of the control cabinets and housings.” After the project was completed, MPGAMMA signed a supply contract with a term of at least five years. This includes an annual delivery quantity of over 2,500 lifthandles by the EMKA Group.