Do you know the environmental hazards your enclosure will face? Although you don’t need to pinpoint the exact perils of the environment, you do need to make an approximation. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) can assist you with this goal through its standards for electrical enclosures. Over a dozen standards exist, but today we are focusing on NEMA type 4 and 4x. To better understand these levels of quality, please scroll down.
NEMA Type 4 and 4x
To start, let’s discuss the level of protection an enclosure must provide to rank as type 4.
Type 4 enclosures must be watertight. More specifically, the enclosure must exclude at least 65 GPM of water shot from a 1-inch nozzle delivered at a distance of at least 10 feet for at least 5 minutes. With this level of moisture protection, these enclosures are protected from the ingress of rain, sleet, snow, splashing water, hose-directed water, etc. Finally and similarly, any external ice that forms on the enclosure should not damage the enclosure or the equipment.
Enclosures don’t just protect the confined equipment from the environment; they also protect humans from the equipment. Type 4 enclosures must provide a degree of protection to personnel against access to hazardous parts.
Solid Foreign Objects
Whether your enclosure is located inside or outside, you might worry about the ingress of solid foreign objects harming the enclosed equipment. For example, you may be concerned about falling dirt, windblown dust, or lint. Type 4 enclosures provide a degree of protection to the equipment, defending it against solid foreign objects that enter the enclosure. Type 4 is the lowest-rated standard of dustproof enclosure.
NEMA 4 enclosures utilize gaskets, which are shaped pieces of rubber used to seal the crevice between two surfaces, and a clamped door. Both of these features ensure maximum sealing.
Type 4 enclosures are constructed for both indoor and outdoor use. Due to their level of moisture protection, they are often employed in wet outdoor applications. For example, you might find a type 4 enclosure on a ship dock, in a dairy, in a wastewater treatment plant, or in a brewery.
The Difference Between NEMA Type 4 and 4X
Type 4X enclosures include all of the protections listed above. They can be used indoors and outdoors, they protect against solid foreign objects, they safeguard equipment against moisture, and they will not be damaged by the external formation of ice. In addition, the X of the title indicates that the enclosure offers additional corrosion resistance. This is the primary difference between NEMA type 4 and 4x. To offer this protection, NEMA 4X enclosures must be fabricated from corrosion-resistant materials like stainless steel and aluminum.
Customization and Purchases
If you find that type 4 or 4X enclosures don’t quite fit your requirements, you can work with the manufacturer to develop a customized product. For example, you may wish to add additional features, such as forced ventilation or climate control. In addition, you may find that you need to purchase an enclosure with a higher ranking to achieve the level of protection you require. For example, if your enclosure must be submersible or explosion proof, a type 4 or 4x enclosure won’t meet your needs.
To view all of the NEMA enclosure types, please visit the NEMA website.
Finally, if you’re on the hunt for a company that can manufacture premium metal enclosures on your behalf, 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 3X, type 4, and type 4X metal enclosures, and we manufacture these enclosures from aluminum, galvanized steel, carbon steel, and stainless steel to create a rugged and reliable structure and to meet your environment conditions. Give us a call at 1-877-960-3703 to learn more, or request a free quote online.