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Protect and survive

Jun 2017 Enclosures & Racks, General | Comments Off
Protect and survive
 

Mark McCall, category manager at Rexel, outlines some of the latest issues driving electrical enclosure system developments in industrial and commercial applications, to help electrical contractors ensure that they stay ahead of the game

Many electrical contractors are familiar with the consumer enclosure unit market, where a combination of recent legislation changes, safety considerations and aesthetic appeal have driven the evolution of consumer unit design – one that now incorporates mild or stainless steel boxes to replace plastic. In addition, the consumer unit market has been experiencing a move towards the adoption of more attractive product designs to match the expectations of homeowners.

However, the momentum for enclosure unit product innovation within industrial and commercial applications has different drivers. Within this environment, the main areas for consideration have been shaped by two key elements; overcoming temperature and cooling issues within the cabinet, and the availability of more robust solutions that can adequately withstand the rigours of a challenging workplace or operating environment.

Temperature control

As enclosures that house electrical or electronic equipment become ever larger to cater for increasing numbers of ever more powerful components, the pressure is on for manufacturers to ensure that adequate thought and provision have been given to appropriate enclosure temperature monitoring and regulation for the correct enclosure climate control. This is a critical factor for electrical contractors to consider when embarking on the specification process.

The combined effects of a warmer and unforgiving operating environment is proven to have a dramatic effect, both on the overall power consumption of the unit and the predicted life expectancy of components that are required to work within a harsh surrounding, which can result in machine and operational downtime in the worst cases.

The heat generated by process panels or combinations of control gear can be substantial and the enclosure industry, both in terms of manufacturers and suppliers, is reacting to such challenges by incorporating temperature control monitoring and associated cooling mechanisms into product design. This also gives contractors additional specification criteria to consider.

Enclosure unit manufacturers and suppliers are aware of the importance of this issue and are reacting accordingly. This will go a long way to optimising efficiencies, reducing component maintenance and replacement, offer significant energy saving efficiency and guarantee a safer solution for the long-term.

Industrial innovations

At Rexel, we have invested in developing our bespoke Newlec enclosure offering for industrial applications across a wide variety of sectors, from food and beverage, to oil and gas, to meet the challenging critical equipment demands in all environments, both inside and outside. This consequently gives greater reliability and confidence that the expensive and sensitive infrastructure inside is protected.

Made from mild steel, stainless steel or glass reinforced polyester (GRP), the units can be floor standing or wall mounted and are modular so that they can be bayed together to meet the needs of any specific application. With the correct enclosure cooling, they are able to withstand extreme temperatures changes and fluctuations.

Industrial and commercial environments, such as within a factory application, can be lethal for electronics, so Newlec brand enclosures have been designed and engineered to provide high levels of protection against EMI/RFI, vibration, wide temperature variations, moisture and dust ingress, vandalism and even earthquakes where appropriate.

Hygiene assured

Today’s exacting industrial or commercial enclosures are having to react to changing demands, regulations and directives. Take, for example, Rexel’s range of hygienic design (HD) enclosures, terminal boxes and command panels, enclosure climate control and accessories specifically designed for the food and consumables industry.

The growing incidence of food poisoning and product recalls caused by microbial, physical or chemical contamination underscores the need for reliable hygiene standards. The HD range provides an effective solution that makes existing plant more hygienic, saves time with cleaning and disinfection and optimises cleaning regime results, minimises risks of cross-contamination and increases energy efficiency (CO2 footprint), reduces downtime and increases plant productivity.

In order for electrical contractors to continue confidently to specify and install reliable solutions that meet these changing needs and can operate in challenging environments, Newlec’s range of enclosures of all sizes translates into stronger and more adept systems that overcome tests of temperature, component complexity and position.