Even though it is often the last thing on your mind, the proper enclosure could make all the difference in the success of your industrial applications. Although manufacturers invest a lot in controls and switchgear and do extensive research, they don’t often think about the enclosure that will power, protect and cool their equipment. Rittal knows that downtime can have a significant impact on your bottom line. Therefore, we’ve put together the top considerations for every designer to help them choose the proper enclosure.
The first step in the specification is to choose between a modular or standard welded enclosure. This article will compare both types. Modular sections are lighter than unibody designs and have higher load capacities.
Next is the choice of enclosure materials. Powder-coated carbon steel enclosures provide everyday protection from contaminants like dirt and dust and water splashing, dripping, or splashing. For harsher environments, stainless steel enclosures can be a good choice. Stainless steel enclosures modular enclosure offer superior protection from corrosion, chemicals, and high-pressure washings. They also provide sanitary and corrosion resistance. The most popular uses of stainless steel enclosures include oil and natural gas, pharmaceutical, industrial, food, and drink applications.
It is essential to consider the weight of your equipment. Modular enclosures may be up to two-thirds lighter than their unibody counterparts but still can hold the equivalent weight. The mounting panel and its components are carried within the enclosure’s internal frame rather than its welded walls. This provides more excellent safety for workers, both in routine maintenance and transport. It is common to have a unibody enclosure for panel installation or removal. This is a requirement that multiple workers, forklifts, and chains are required.
The common cause of downtime for controls and switchgear is contaminants that shorten the equipment’s life cycle. This is why it is essential to have the enclosure rated at the correct NEMA or UL protection level. Type 1 and type 2 enclosures are designed for protection against human contact with electro-charged parts. Type 3R-rated enclosures comply with outdoor paint requirements. They allow water inside to drain. Type 4 sections can withstand direct water pressure and are dust-tight. Type 12 enclosures protect against dirt and particulate falling and can withstand dripping and coolant splashing.
The size of your enclosure is essential as it will affect the space required for your system. This is where unibody and modular sections differ significantly. Modular enclosures can make the most of the 3D space inside. Design is not restricted to the mounting panel, as the frame can hold other components. This allows you to reduce the footprint of your enclosure while still maintaining the same operational area.
Module enclosures with a larger surface area allow for more accessories. Unibody designs feature smaller doors which make it easier to pass through mounting panels. Modular sections can have removable doors and sidewalls. This allows panels to be 15 percent larger than a similar unibody design. This is useful for adding components such as busbar power, LED lighting, and a fold-up keyboard shelf.