Given the vast array of environments that can exist in workspaces (e.g., warehouses, factories, office buildings), the type of panel enclosures that may be needed will be different based on a given situation:
…these types of enclosures can be found in areas where protection is needed from falling dirt, circulating dust, as well as some light water dripping and splashing)
…this enclosure type is called upon when protection is needed from solid foreign objects or moisture protection such as from rain, sleet, and snow. There is also need to protect the enclosure & parts/equipment contained within from ice that may accumulate on the outside.
…these types are meant to handle internal explosions while avoiding external hazards, as well as preventing combustion of combustible dust and use of oil-immersed equipment. These are the most extreme end of panel enclosures & take on Class/Group labeling.
Standards Here & Abroad
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association, or NEMA, is a standard used to help classify the protection an enclosure offers. As the name suggests, the standard applies to North America. So, if a company operates a facility in another part of the world, a different rating system would need to be accounted for. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) handles the standards & Ingress Protection (IP) codes are the resulting classification system. Knowing where the enclosure will be will help determine by which ratings it should be built to reflect.
Steel tends to be the predominant material used in the construction of panel enclosures. However, the grade of steel will vary depending on the environment in which the enclosure will be found. Options may include carbon steel, as well as 304 & 316 stainless. However, certain facilities may opt to use aluminum, fiberglass reinforced polyester, or thermoplastic ABS.
Consideration for Enclosure Size
The size of the enclosure needs to take into account. Factors include: heat dissipation, space for physical mounts, and venting. The enclosure must be spec’d out so that sensitive internal components are not physically compromised by heat & friction.
A New Day & Age
A panel enclosure houses sensitive components that are at the heart of a facility’s operation. The last thing anyone needs to do is root around somewhere they don’t belong or don’t fully understand how to operate. Questions about access for certain personnel & ease of servicing need to be addressed, as does what kind of locking/security mechanism will work best.
A recent development regarding panel enclosures has been the implementation of the Internet of Things (IoT). The concept of IoT relates to facility/workplace devices/machinery staying connected across a vast network. The more we keep everything tied to everything else, the more we have to protect the connection. As such, the choosing the right panel enclosure to ensure privacy, security, and protection of intellectual property is crucial.
LoDan Electronics, Inc. has been helping provide facility peace of mind since 1967. Our work with panel enclosures and all manner of interconnect solutions is second to none. Touch base with one of our experts today to see how our decades of expertise can take your operation to the next level.