So you’ve decided to purchase a steel enclosure to house and protect your valuable electrical equipment. Great choice! Metal enclosures can effectively safeguard equipment in extreme environments, repelling water, wind, corrosive agents, dust, and more. Plus, they can protect users from dangerous equipment by ensuring that the equipment is covered, enclosed, and unable to cause harm. However, if you want a steel enclosure, you will need to explore the various types of steel first. Galvanized, carbon, and stainless steel all provide unique benefits and drawbacks.
Types of Steel
All steel is composed of iron and carbon, but the various types of steel differ in their amount of carbon, impurities, and added alloying elements. The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) categorizes steel into four basic groups based on chemical composition: carbon steel, alloy steel, stainless steel, and tool steel. Today we will focus on carbon and stainless steel, since these are the two types offered by American Products Contract Manufacturing, as well as the process of galvanizing steel.
The most common type of steel produced these days, carbon steel contains trace amounts of alloying elements. You can purchase low carbon steel (up to 0.3% carbon), medium carbon steel (0.3% to 0.6% carbon), or high carbon steel (more than 0.6% carbon). The higher the level of carbon, the harder and stronger the steel will be. For example, low carbon steel offers more flexibility but less strength. Medium carbon steel, though more difficult to shape and cut, provides additional sturdiness. Finally, high carbon steel trades flexibility for durability. It is extremely difficult to cut, bend, or weld, and after a heat treatment, high carbon steel may become brittle. However, it is also reliably strong.
Stainless steel employs chromium, a hard and steely-gray metal, as its primary alloying element. In fact, chromium makes up approximately 10.5% to 20% of the steel. This added element makes stainless steel far more resistant to corrosion than it would be otherwise. It is also resistant to rust and water stains, which is why so many people like to use it in their kitchens. Although over 150 grades of stainless steel exist, only 15 are commonly used. Finally, stainless steel is typically more expensive than other types of steel.
If you want to increase the resilience of carbon steel, consider galvanizing it. Galvanization refers to the process of coating steel (or iron) with zinc to prevent rusting and add protection. The zinc coating acts as a barrier, ensuring that corrosive substances cannot reach the steel underneath. Most galvanized steel uses carbon steel as a base.
Ready to Purchase an Enclosure?
When you decide to purchase an electrical enclosure, be sure that you select a company that provides high-quality metals, employs state-of-the-art equipment, and always strives to exceed industry standards. After all, even the best types of steel can be ruined by subpar production procedures.
In addition, consider your enclosure’s application when selecting its material type. Some applications require an enclosure with great strength, while others necessitate an enclosure that can stand up to moisture and corrosive agents. For help selecting the ideal steel (or perhaps aluminum) for your application, discuss your requirements with the manufacturer.
If you’re on the hunt for a company that can manufacture premium metal enclosures on your behalf, check out American Products Contract Manufacturing. Manufacturing metal enclosures is our specialty. 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.