A major purchase requires major preparation. So as you shop for an electrical enclosure, you will need to keep many factors in mind. Will the enclosure protect your equipment? Will the metal stand up to rough weather conditions? Can you count on this enclosure to last for decades to come? For help, use the tips below to learn what to look for in a metal enclosure.
What to Look for in a Metal Enclosure
SIZE & SHAPE
What is the scope of your project? First, consider the height and width, calculating the footprint space needed for the enclosure. Then, take mounting holes for the sub-panel into account, and determine if you will need a single-door, two-door, wall-mount, or floor-mount enclosure. Next, consider the depth and any buttons, meters, indicators, etc. that you would like mounted on the enclosure door. Remember to factor in heat dissipation as well.
Where will your enclosure be located, and what environmental conditions will it confront? The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) standards for performance and protection of electrical equipment make it easy for consumers to decide which enclosures fit their needs. The ratings convey the type of applications the enclosure serves. To learn more about NEMA enclosure ratings, please review this previous blog post. Understanding your enclosure’s environment and responding to it accordingly is the most important part of this process, as it will greatly influence your enclosure’s longevity and durability.
TYPE OF METAL
Which type of metal best suits your project? Common options include aluminum, galvanized steel, carbon steel, and stainless steel. Each type comes with pros and cons. For example, carbon steel may be suitable for an indoor enclosure, but if corrosion is a concern, consider stainless steel. Although stainless steel will cost more, it will provide protection from the environment. Aluminum is lightweight and provides excellent heat dissipation, while galvanized steel offers a high level of corrosion resistance and exceptional strength.
Many electrical and electronic components will be damaged by excessive heat. A very hot enclosure could decrease the life expectancy of such components, change their performance levels, or even cause them to shut down unexpectedly. If your enclosure will house heat-sensitive devices, you may need to add cooling through natural convection, forced convection, or a closed loop system.
Do you expect your needs for the enclosure to change over time? If so, you may wish to invest in a modular enclosure that can be adjusted to suit your changing needs. Think about accessories as well, such as locks, latches, internal lighting kits, additional braces, and more.
Above all, of course, when wondering what to look for in a metal enclosure, focus on finding a high-quality enclosure. Assess the quality of the materials, the efficiency of the design, the experience of the welders, the durability of the powder coating, etc. . . . Every aspect should reflect the manufacturer’s care and attention to detail.
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 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.