Fiberglass Enclosures vs. Polycarbonate Enclosures
The benefits of purchasing a polycarbonate enclosure instead of fiberglass can be found in the strength of the enclosure, its durability, and its modification possibilities. Polycarbonate enclosures can withstand over 900 pounds of impact, which is more than four times the impact resistance of fiberglass enclosures.
UV Light Resistance
When fiberglass enclosures are exposed to UV light, their color fades and the fibers are then exposed to direct UV rays which cause the material to bloom and deteriorate. In contrast, polycarbonate enclosures are not made of fibers covered with color that can fade and deteriorate, which allows it to maintain its shape, color, and strength even when exposed to UV light. Polycarbonate is a strong, durable material that withstands the harsh conditions of the outdoors and ultimately lasts longer than fiberglass enclosures. It is used in car windshields and headlights, because unlike fiberglass, it doesn’t deteriorate in UV light or the outdoors.
Polycarbonate More Easily Modified than Fiberglass
One of the major differences between polycarbonate and fiberglass enclosures is their modifiability, which involves cutting a hole or changing the material in some way. When modified, fiberglass enclosures give off a very fine dust that is irritant to the skin, can be dangerous to inhale, and is so fine it is hard to clean up. Instead of creating a fine dust, polycarbonate enclosures produce small curls of material that can be easily swept away and are not dangerous to touch or inhale. Because fiberglass is made up of interwoven fibers, the material is more likely to splinter than polycarbonate while modifying. Polycarbonate enclosures are easier to modify because they cut easier and more cleanly.
All Integra polycarbonate enclosures are NEMA 4X rated, which means that these enclosures are watertight and can withstand direct water spray. Integra also has a special IP66 rated series that can be submersed in water without deterioration. Even more specifically, polycarbonate enclosures can be marine-friendly, which means that they are salt water resistant.
Polycarbonate enclosures also have a cleaner look than fiberglass, especially when exposed to time and the elements. In most cases, enclosures need a hole to allow for wires or antennas, which are far easier to cut when using a polycarbonate enclosure. If a clear lid is needed for the enclosure, polycarbonate enclosures come with a clear lid or can be ordered as a completely clear structure. Enclosures made from fiberglass need to have a hole cut in them and have polycarbonate material to replace the fiberglass as a window. This process requires time, expertise, and ultimately makes fiberglass enclosures weaker and more susceptible to chemical or impact problems. Polycarbonate enclosures maintain their strength and clean look regardless of the variety of modifications that are needed.
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