Depending on who you might speak with, more than 100,000 new materials have been developed over the last 50 years. If the task facing you involves material selection for electrical components working in an industrial application, that job could be complicated to say the least.
Design engineers and specifiers tasked with building an enclosure, outfitted with the right enclosure air conditioner, need a solid understanding of materials or they need to enlist the assistance of a materials engineer to avoid unnecessarily expensive structures and failures.
Extreme conditions and NEMA ratings – Most engineers and product managers are acutely aware of the ratings provided by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), but unfortunately those important ratings can be lost on occasion in the midst of a busy work day or in a highly detailed project. NEMA ratings offer the perfect starting point for material selection as they cut through the thousands of options.
For industrial applications where environmental elements and direct spray of fluids are present, look for a NEMA Type 4 or Type 4X. Type 4 works well in ”wash down” environments while Type 4X takes it a step further and protects against corrosive agents like salt water, chlorine or chemical cleaners.
Temperatures – An enclosure air conditioner must be able to stand up to high heat in areas where ovens or other heat-generating machinery is at work. Materials, carefully chosen, could give that air conditioner a valuable assist by offering additional electrical enclosure insulation from the heat or even by deflecting some of that heat away. Again, with all of the options on the table, almost anything is possible if you’re willing to explore materials yourself or by grabbing some advice from an expert who has performed the exploration already.
Starting early, meeting your specs – In the past, installing an electrical enclosure involved ordering a gray box, installing the equipment and hoping the box would be up for the challenge. With many more options available for both the enclosure and the enclosure air conditioner it is more important than ever to capture detailed specifications and spend more time on the design phase.
Meeting the need for climate control, impact resistance, fluid spray and many more factors becomes critical and will lead you to the right decision whether the enclosure needs to be metallic or non-metallic.
Stainless steel will perform very well in nasty surroundings, but it could wreck a budget if it is not needed. In which case, look to fiberglass or polyester for a more cost-effective solution. Specifiers can give themselves budget flexibility by carefully evaluating all factors into a design. If less expensive material will withstand the environment, direct that money toward something more worthwhile aside from the enclosure.
The Thermal Edge Support Team has been through this before and in many cases they can provide a standardized solution using materials that will meet the need for your unique application. Before diving too far into the details of a new enclosure installation, contact our support team to see how they can find the best products to protect your investments and keep your business running.