An electrical enclosure refers to a cabinet for electronic and electrical equipment to mount displays, knobs, and switches. It also helps to prevent the impact of electric shock to users of equipment and protects the contents from environmental factors.
The enclosure may be the only equipment part that is visible to users. It might be designed not only for its utility but for aesthetic considerations. There may also be legal regulations that determine the performance and features of enclosures, especially in hazardous environments like coal mines or petrochemical units.
But electrical enclosures are mostly ignored and neglected by engineers. After all, their functionality is ‘only’ to house the controls. Contrary to this perception, electrical enclosures must be designed carefully to enhance the total system structure. Whatever be the environment or application, the system can be improved with innovation and cutting edge techniques of manufacturing to reduce costs, save space, and protect equipment.
An enclosure has two main tasks: Protecting and Housing sensitive electrical equipment from weather and environmental contaminants. The electrical enclosures Australia must be designed carefully.
Following are the top features of electrical enclosure:
Though modern electrical enclosures may be created out of various materials (polycarbonate, fiberglass, etc.), the majority are made out of stainless steel or carbon. Of these, stainless steel is much popular for corrosion resistance and durability. But all applications of enclosures do not need extra cost and weight of a complete steel finish. Non-metallic materials may be considered as a good option for enclosures whose weight is a matter of concern.
There are different stipulations in different countries regarding the criteria of protection with regard to enclosures. For instance, in the US, there is the NEMA rating, which specifies standards for the performance of different classes of electric enclosures. Such standards cover criteria like protection from submersion and rain or corrosion resistance.
An often ignored factor is physical security. However, it is the most crucial design goal for the majority of enclosures, whether indoors or outdoors. In ideal terms, an enclosure must be as tough to access as the office. For this, enclosures must feature remote access, key-lockable or pad-lockable handles, remote monitoring, and other features for security.
A crucial consideration is to keep the equipment and workers safe. After all, the main aim of an enclosure is safety and protection. The equipment can be protected against hazards like arc flashes by making use of disconnect enclosures, which are so designed as to shut off the power before the enclosure is touched for opening. Some other strategies for safety design can include viewing windows and access ports, which permit monitoring and collection of data, without opening the door of the enclosure.
Is it mandatory that the enclosure be made of steel of heavy gauge? With regard to modern enclosures, the strength factor is in the frame. This helps users to do without the cost of all-welded and thick-skinned construction. The majority of frames nowadays support more than 3000 lb. This is without counting exterior roofs, walls, or panels.
In contrast to depictions in 2-dimensions, electrical enclosures are not simply a mounting door or panel; they feature volume and occupy much valuable space on floors of the factory. Keeping your enclosure in the right size will render it much easier to install and simpler for working with. Reducing the foot-print of the enclosure will save space and lower freight and transportation cost.
When cooling and heating loads within the enclosures are managed effectively, it allows factory owners to protect the electronics and controls within, to meet the need for lower consumption of energy. With regard to enclosures, options for climate control include:
- Cooling units like thermo-electric coolers
- Air cooling like heat exchangers and fans.
- Enclosure heaters
- Liquid cooling like chillers
To enhance thermal management with regard to enclosures, include accessories like air routing, water distribution, filters, hygrostats, and thermostats.
It is necessary to consider the hidden costs related to electrical enclosures such as material resources and extra labour, which boost the total ownership cost when fresh equipment or upgraded equipment is added in the future. Such changes are often ignored by engineers and designers till they have to comply with legal standards etc. Ensure that the design is scalable by factoring in such points before issues arise.
Thus, by accounting for protection, total ownership costs, and easy utility of electrical enclosures Australia, engineers can create electrical enclosure designs that are not only practical but excellent.
Salman Zafar is an ecopreneur, consultant, advisor, speaker and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection, conservation and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe. Salman is the Founder of EcoMENA, a popular voluntary organization based in Qatar. He is also the Founder and CEO of BioEnergy Consult, a reputed consulting firm active in biomass, waste-to-energy and waste management segments.
Salman is a professional environmental writer with more than 350 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass environmental awareness in different parts of the world.
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