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ABB launches Gemini range of IP66 thermoplastic distribution and automation switchboards

ABB Limited (Group Headquarters) : 18 May, 2004  (New Product)
Unique use of co-injection moulding provides new switchboard range with the same strength and environmental characteristics as GRP enclosures but none of the disadvantages.
ABB's new Gemini range of IP66 low voltage distribution and automation switchboards is the first in the world to be moulded in thermoplastic materials using co-injection moulding techniques. This unique construction has created a robust, aesthetically pleasing enclosure which is just as sturdy and resistant to attack by chemical and atmospheric agents as conventional GRP enclosures, but with none of the disadvantages associated with fibre reinforced materials. A further advantage of the Gemini's thermoplastic construction is that it is fully recyclable, unlike GRP enclosures.

The Gemini concept is the result of two year's design and development work carried out by ABB in conjunction with switchboard manufacturers, installers and designers with the aim of creating a range of durable, versatile and easy to install switchboards suitable for a variety of industrial, commercial and residential applications. The studies identified that while conventional GRP enclosures provided satisfactory strength, rigidity and resistance to chemicals and oils there were problems inherent in the use of these materials, such as the possibility of the reinforcing fibres rising to the surface with wear, weakening the structure and becoming a risk factor for skin burns. On the otherhand, while existing thermoplastic enclosures keep their mechanical prporties over time, they tended to lack the required rigidity.

ABB therefore adopted a unique approach for the Gemini range by making a million pound investment in co-injection moulding machinery. This process enables the new switchboards to be manufactured with a sandwich construction of two materials, comprising a compact external skin and an expanded core. The result is a tough, rigid box which is also around 20 percent lighter than a GRP enclosure with the added advantage of an appealing design with rounded corners.

The Gemini range has been designed with total recycling capability in mind, and unlike GRP enclosures, which are based on polyester materials, the thermoplastic material is 100 percent recyclable and ABB even provides instructions on how to dispose of the product at the end of its life-cycle.

Gemini features
Another first for the Gemini design is that, thanks to an extruded seal, it is the first thermoplastic enclosure to offer IP66 protection which makes it suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications, and it can operature in temperatures from -25C to +100C.

In the basic configurations Gemini switchboards are offered in grey (RAL 7035) in a range of six sizes ranging from 335 mm wide x 400 mm high x 210 mm deep up to 840 mm x 1005 mm x 360 mm, available with plain or clear doors and providing insulation class II.

Gemini switchboards are suitable for the installation of DIN components, MCCB's and automation components and power terminals. In distribution applications the Gemini's modular, patented snap-on mounting frame with its integral vertical wiring duct enables a range of accessories to be snap-fixed without using tools. For automation applications, Gemini switchboards are provided with a total base plate (available in three versions) that can be snap-fixed and adjusted to various depths. Further accessories such as partial plates fitted onto the modular frame and a kit for installing MCCBs means that the switchboard can also be used for mixed distribution/automation applications.
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