Polycarbonate v. Fiberglass Enclosures: Understanding the Differences



There are many important differences that set polycarbonate enclosures apart from enclosures made of fiberglass.  The most important differences are:  strength, durability and modifiability.


Need to visualize the difference? Check out our neat chart.



Polycarbonate enclosures are over four times stronger than fiberglass enclosures.  Polycarbonate enclosures can withstand over 900 pounds of impact, while the impact resistance of fiberglass enclosures is considerably less:  only 225 pounds of impact.


Polycarbonate enclosures will withstand direct exposure to UV light without deteriorating or fading in color. When fiberglass enclosures are exposed to UV light, their fiberglass materials begin to bloom and deteriorate, and their color fades.


Every polycarbonate enclosure manufactured by Integra is NEMA 4X rated, which means it is watertight and able to withstand direct water spray. Integra also produces a special IP66 rated enclosure series that can be fully submersed in water without deterioration and that can be marine-friendly (salt water resistant).


Polycarbonate enclosures are easy to customize and modify. Many times when an enclosure is installed, it needs to be modified, which involves cutting a hole in the enclosure or changing the material in some way. When fiberglass is modified, it gives off a very dangerous, fine dust that is irritant to the skin and can be dangerous to inhale. This dust is also very difficult to clean up because of how fine it is. However, polycarbonate enclosures produce small, safe curls of material that can be easily swept away and are not dangerous to inhale or touch.


Additionally, fiberglass, which is made up of interwoven fibers, is much more likely to splinter when they are being modified.  However, polycarbonate enclosures cut cleanly and easily, making them much easier to modify.





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