An electrical enclosure is a cabinet facility to house electric and electronic equipment such as switches, displays and wiring. Its main purpose is to keep the electrical equipment safe, organised, to prevent corrosion and to protect equipment users from electric shocks.
Electrical Enclosures can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes to suit a variety of requirements. LED Controls stocks enclosures from industry-approved names such as Rittal, Tempa, Pano, Gewiss and Safybox.
Electrical enclosures are specially designed cabinets made to protect electrical components from harsh surroundings including high to low temperatures.
These electrical enclosures are made to house a variety of motor control gear components such as Variable speed drives that control a variety of motors, power supply units, relays, terminals, electrical isolators, a multitude of cables and switches to protect them from anything that may damage them such as rain, dirt and dust from where the electrical enclosure has been mounted which could be on a manufactures shop floor to a wall of a house to control an electric gate.
Enclosures can be made from specific types of materials which have a range of benefits depending on what the material is. The main material that electrical enclosures are made from are certain types of plastic. There is Polycarbonate (PC) which is a popular thermoplastic due to being quite tough and has a good thermal stability. It can be used indoors and outdoors as it has a good working temperature range from -20C to 140C.
Another plastic that is used widely is Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS). This is a blend of two types of polymer but is mainly used for indoor applications rather than being exposed to outside weather conditions due to its level of impact resistance and UV resistance over long periods of time.
As with ABS plastic there are other blends that are used for electronic enclosures that use one or more types of polymer to create stronger materials that are more impact resistant and resilient to UV rays that can discolor and weaken the electrical enclosures. One of these is a mixture of PC and ABS (Polycarbonate + Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene). Mixing these two together produces and electrical enclosure with not only a high impact strength but a better resilience to being used in minus temperatures as well as a substantial resistance to chemicals.
Another popular polymer/plastic choice for electrical enclosures is glass reinforced plastic, also known as fiberglass reinforced plastic or GRP for short. Again, these can be a mix of different polymers that is joined with the fiberglass which give the enclosure high impact resistance, the properties to be functional in high and low temperatures, and I high level of flexibility due to the properties of the fiberglass.
From the types of plastics, we move on the metals that electrical enclosures are made from. These are mainly mild steel and stainless steel
Mild steel electrical enclosures are the cheaper of the two. These are mainly used for indoor industrial applications housing the control systems that will control various motors that intern run other large or precise machinery. They will be powder coated from the manufacture for longevity but being mild steel if they are placed outside in the weather or any wet conditions any scratches or marks will eventually lead to rust.
Rain canopies for certain brands of electrical enclosures are available if a mild steel enclosure is placed out side to help with the prevention of rust.
These electrical enclosures will be powder coated from the manufacture for longevity and mainly they come in a standard grey which is based on the European RAL color system which defines the colors for different coatings, plastics and paint. However, some manufactures do have other limited color choices depending on your needs.
Another popular choice yet slightly more expensive is a stainless steel electrical enclosure. With the presence of other elements mixed in with the steel such as nickel and chromium stainless steel has a much higher resistance to rusting if positioned outside (depending on the grade of stainless steel). These again are powder coated form the manufacture.
As well as a variety of materials that they can be manufactured from there is also a range of extra parts or options depending on what the enclosure is being used for. These can include the backplate, either plastic or metal depending on the material of the enclosure. This is where the electronics are mounted inside the enclosure. There are also windowed doors, blanking plates, post mounts and pre-fitted enclosures with din rail mounts already installed ready to accept a range of electrical components depending on the enclosures application.
Electrical enclosures must comply with certain protective regulations to ensure that they are at optimal performance, in particular when used in potentially hazardous areas such as plants or coal mines. These regulations can vary depending on what country or what application they are being used for. They are given IP (Ingress Protection) ratings which determine the level of performance and effectiveness of the products. This determines how effective the enclosure is when subject from deliberate access, solid objects, harmful dust, condensation, water spray/submersion and pressure.
The most common IP ratings are IP65, IP66, IP67 and IP68 - the first number indicating the degree of protection for people, and the second showing the degree of protection of the equipment due to environmental factors. IP68 is the highest rated of the most common enclosures, which is proven to be completely dust tight and protected against submersion in water.
LED Controls stocks a wide range of electrical closures available in different sizes and materials, depending on your requirements. Electrical enclosures can vary dramatically in price, from as little as £12 to upwards of £800, depending on these differentiating factors. Shop our range of enclosures below.