Electrical enclosures have several important duties. In addition to housing and protecting important electrical and electronic equipment, these cabinets safeguard users and the surrounding environment. To ensure a great performance, their utilitarian design is often determined by regulations, and they must be made from strong, durable, and functional materials. Common electrical enclosure materials include rigid plastics and metals like steel and aluminum.
Electrical Enclosure Materials
CARBON & GALVANIZED STEEL
Carbon steel works well in harsh and dirty environments, both indoors and outdoors. It is inexpensive and easy to modify after fabrication. Although it don’t offer superior corrosion resistance, this can quickly be remedied with the addition of a powder coated paint finish. Carbon steel may also be galvanized to offer additional protection, which means it is coated in a layer of zinc for corrosion resistance.
A premium metal, stainless steel can offer excellent corrosion protection, strength, durability, and heat resistance. Due to its longevity, it offers great long-term value. Stainless steel is often chosen for electrical enclosures used in hygienic applications like the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries. It is also preferred when resistance to chemicals is necessary, as in the oil and gas industries.
Aluminum enclosures are strong but lightweight, with pure aluminum providing a tensile strength of approximately 13,000 pounds per square inch. Aluminum is often cold rolled or alloyed with other elements to increase this strength, potentially reaching a tensile strength of 100,000 pounds per square inch. It offers excellent resistance to corrosion and high heat dissipation, and it is cost effective as well.
Rigid plastic construction is light, economical, and can easily be customized. Plastics (like polycarbonates, polyester, ABS, PVC, etc.) provide effective insulation for electronic devices and people, and they are very resistant to corrosion as well. However, plastics are susceptible to ultraviolet (UV) and weathering degradation, especially in hot and humid areas. Look for plastics with additives and special formulations to reduce degradation problems. In addition, plastics are not suitable for rugged applications like building sites, mines, and quarries.
Your choice of material will depend on many factors, including weight, heat dissipation, security concerns, cost, moisture levels, temperature, the contents of the enclosure, the weather (if the enclosure will be stationed outdoors), and the concentration of corrosives present in the environment. For example, if weatherability is a concern, you may wish to choose a premium metal like stainless steel or aluminum. For help choosing between electrical enclosure materials, discuss your requirements with a manufacturer.
Speaking of which, if you’re on the hunt for a company that can manufacture premium metal enclosures on your behalf, whether unibody or modular, check out American Products Contract Manufacturing. Our high-quality, innovative enclosures enable our customers to assist the telecommunications industry in expanding and improving their network services. We offer NEMA type 1, type 2, type 3, type 3-R, type 3-X, type 4, and type 4-X metal enclosures, and we form these enclosures from aluminum, galvanized steel, carbon steel, and stainless steel to create a rugged and reliable structure. Give us a call at 1-877-736-2228 to learn more, or request a free quote online.