Picking the Right Enclosure, Part 1

While it’s admittedly an obvious statement, choosing the right enclosure to protect your electrical equipment is vital. That’s why the next few posts will delve into three main enclosure consideration categories: structure, manufacturer and configuring. When thinking through the structural features you’ll need your enclosure to have, first think about materials.


Materials

Three main categories of enclosure material are available on the market: metal, fiberglass and polycarbonate. Integra manufactures polycarbonate enclosures both because of its strength, impact resistance and ability to weather harsh environments. There has been some confusion about whether or not polycarbonate enclosures can be used for outdoor applications:  let’s set the record straight now!  All materials, including sensitive and delicate electrical equipment, can be safely housed—even in outdoor conditions—in polycarbonate enclosures. An added benefit of the thermoplastic enclosures is that they are non-corrosive, non-conductive and lighter compared to steel.

 

Frame

Another important factor to consider when choosing an enclosure is its construction. While some enclosures are bolted together at the edges of panels, many molded plastic enclosures don’t require bolts because they can be manufactured seamlessly. So when you are deciding which enclosure to go with, the key is to know the demands of your application. If your new enclosure will be housed in a high-impact environment, a non-bolted style may be a better choice for you.

 

Hinges

Don’t underestimate this important facet of your enclosure. Before you buy your enclosure, make sure that the hinges are easily accessible and can be easily replaced when necessary. Hinges should also allow a wide angle door swing. Your enclosure’s door swing should open at least 180°.  However, an even wider angle — up to 225° — may be an important advantage when you need to service the equipment stored inside your enclosure. Both metallic and non-metallic hinges are available. Whichever option you choose, make sure that your hinges are durable enough to handle the rigors of heavy use.

 

Next post will cover important checklist items for your enclosure manufacturer. Stay tuned!

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