Enclosures/panel building

  • Enclosures with welded pitch roofs

    Enclosures with welded pitch roofs

    Stainless Steel cable management manufacturer Lasnek has expanded its compact enclosure range by offering all the standard enclosures with a choice of 15 pitch roof, complete with integral drip-proof cover and a fitted viewing window.

    Unlike other manufacturers' canopies, which are often attached on to exisiting enclosures, Lasnek's pitched roof is fully welded in construction or reduced moisture and particle inglass; this also removes the need for extra parts to be fitted. Its 15 not only reduces the presence of unwanted foreign bodies, be it water or actual objects, but also provides customers with an angled site for operator-friendly control interfacing.

    The new viewing window, which is available as an option on most standard Lasnek enclosures, allows users to see the contents without opening the unit.

  • See-through protective enclosures for control panels

    See-through protective enclosures for control panels

    STI (Europe) has introduced a new range of see-through polycarbonate enclosures for protecting fire and security control panels and other electronic equipment. The enclosures protect equipment from vandalism, accidental damage and the environment whilst ensuring all-round visibility and immediate access.

    A variety of locking mechanisms are available including thumb and key locks and additional eyelets allowing the use of a secondary safety seal or padlock. External mounting tabs allow the enclosures to be easily installed on to any wall surface, providing protection without the need to change the location of the equipment. Complete mounting accessories and tamperproof screws are provided. The polycarbonate is backed by a lifetime guarantee against breakage and damage under normal conditions.

    For many years STI products have been helping prevent false fire alarms as well as vandalism, theft, accidental damage and the misuse of devices and equipment that protect people and property. The new range of polycarbonate enclosures complements these products and ensures the continued safe and reliable operation of electronic equipment.

  • handCASE’ - Die-Cast Aluminium Hand-Held Enclosures

    handCASEÂ’ - Die-Cast Aluminium Hand-Held Enclosures

    ROLEC have launched the ground-breaking IP 66 ‘handCASE’ enclosures. For the first time in the electronics market, fully styled hand-held enclosures have been made from die-cast aluminium rather than ABS plastic. As a result, these enclosures are very robust, and offer a high degree of EMC protection as standard. However, they are also ergonomically styled and offer an equally attractive design to other plastic enclosures on the market.

    Typical applications will include test and measurement equipment, machine and robot controllers, detection equipment, and data logging units used in outdoor or harsh indoor environments.

    The ‘handCASE’ enclosures are manufactured in die-cast aluminium GD AL Si 12. The assembly consists of the top, base and battery compartment lid, plus two moulded rubber sealing gaskets and four screw gaskets. The cases are assembled by four M3 machine screws.

    These enclosures are sealed to IP 66 protection class and offered in three standard sizes: 180 x 80 x 42 mm, 220 x 100 x 42 mm and 220 x 100 x 62 mm. The two smaller sizes are supplied with an integral battery compartment for four 1.5V AA cells or two 9V cells.

    The contoured top casting features a recessed area for easy location of a membrane keypad or product label. The top can also be machined for mounting display modules, keypads and push-button switches. The base can be machined for connectors, switches and cable glands. The largest size case is deep enough for fitting standard control switches. Prices start at £51.

    01489 583858

  • Record year for FIBOX UK thanks to its EURONORD range of enclosures

    FIBOX, which has been providing the electrical and electronic industries with the widest, innovative and most reliable range of thermoplastic enclosure products for almost 40 years, is forecasting its second consecutive year of record sales in the UK, due in no small part to their range of high-grade EURONORD products.
    "We're certainly pleased with our excellent progress over the last two years, especially the success of new product introductions, but the biggest success belonged to our EURONORD range which achieved record growth," said Steve Gallon, Managing Director of FIBOX Ltd.
    Now encompassing well over 100 sizes in 4 materials, the advanced quality EURONORD range offers OEM’s and Process Control Engineers, an exceptional variety of solutions for housing a multitude of DIN rail mounted terminal blocks, PCB’s and other electronic devices, used extensively throughout a host of industrial control applications.
    Considered by many installers as being ‘technically superior’ to similar brands, these enclosures can be offered as standard or fully customised and are available in aluminium, Polycarbonate, ABS and impact resistant polyester, with all sizes, mounting pods, components and accessories meeting all industry standards. Transparent covers are available on the entire PC and ABS ranges.
    Fully RoHS compliant, these new EURONORD enclosures are all rated IP66/IP67; offer excellent flammability ratings and are halogen free; making them the ideal choice for a ‘life time’ of service in demanding and hostile environments.
    Steve went on to explain, “All our products are designed in close cooperation with our customers. We listen carefully and use the input from our customer base, to produce new and advanced enclosure ranges, innovative accessories and constant product improvements, which when combined, not only help FIBOX deliver a better range of products and customer service for our growing client base, but better business results as well”.

    01642 604 400

  • Fibox introduces a new range of GRP enclosures for use in harsh and demanding environments

    Fibox introduces a new range of GRP enclosures for use in harsh and demanding environments

    Highly regarded for their Polycarbonate, ABS and aluminium ranges of products, FIBOX has now introduced a superior range of Glass Reinforced Polyester (GRP) enclosures and cabinets to its UK customers whose applications demand the improved chemical, thermal and mechanical properties deemed necessary, for use in today’s multi-purpose processing industries.
    Maintaining an emphasis on product integrity and rated IP66, the new CAB P, CAB PX & SOLID P range of enclosures have been specifically introduced to meet the ever-increasing demands of engineers in industries where GRP is widely specified for housing electrical, electronic, pneumatic controls and instrumentation.

    However, due to the outstanding mechanical and electrical properties of this extensive new range of GRP enclosures, original equipment designers and panel builders are also choosing the FIBOX CAB P, CAB PX & Solid P enclosure ranges for their durability, strong performance and proven longevity and precision service in demanding applications across a wide variety of industry segments.

    Steve Gallon, Fibox UK Managing Director, explained, “One of the great advantages that Panel and System Builders have found by specifying these GRP enclosures instead of steel is that no extra finishing is required when drilling holes, as GRP is totally corrosion-proof. Another advantage GRP has over steel, especially when being installed on-site, is that machining, drilling and cutting doesn’t give off conductive or magnetic ‘swarf’ that can seriously damage sensitive electronic or electrical equipment”.

    Accessories for all product groups include: Mounting plates, DIN rails, DIN rail frames, rain hoods, plain front plates, front plates with DIN openings, wall mounting lugs, main cable entry solutions, sockets for floor standing applications and both opaque and transparent covers.

    The new CAB range also comes with two locking options: double-bit locking or swing-handle multi-point locking for extra security.

  • Enclosures - The basic enclosure - only the starting point

    Increasingly demanding applications have driven the innovation of new products to set new industry standards. The electrical control enclosure in today’s technological environment needs to address an array of different applications and when considering which enclosure is suitable for an application, the basic enclosure is now only the starting point says Sando Selchow of Rittal

    Within manufacturing process environments electrical enclosures are often situated in close proximity to the actual products being produced. The mechanical components used in and around such process plants tend to accumulate deposits and the electrical enclosure is no exception, with particles possibly cultivating on enclosure surfaces, crevices and recesses. If this were a food, pharmaceutical or chemical plant a strict hygienic protocol would need to be adhered to in order to prevent contamination. Maintaining a hygienic working environment in this type of environment although of paramount importance is always a constant battle.
    Rittal has recently introduced a new range of hygienic design enclosures to facilitate in this constant battle. The range has been specifically designed to prevent deposits cumulating on the enclosure surfaces, crevices and recesses to help eliminate any potential contaminants, which could negatively impact on customer production.

    Incorporated into the design is a 30° angled, sloped overhanging roof preventing any liquids or solids collecting on the roof area. A larger than average gap to the top of the door, allows for easy cleaning and prevents any unwanted deposits from reaching the door seal. The door has outward pointed edges (approximately 135° compared with 90° folded standard enclosure doors) and a larger flat surface on the inside of the edge. Together with the flat silicone base seal, the door builds a perfect corner finish, free of gaps and contact areas preventing any unwanted deposits.

    The enclosure has a protection category of IP66, which also includes the internal door hinges to create an all round gap free door. The new flat gap free silicone door seal is coloured blue, which is the industry standard colour for non-consumable products, and offers a high resistance to all process and cleaning liquids.

    Various different mounting options are available. The enclosure can be mounted either with tubular mounting brackets with a smooth finish, or open frame plinths with a clearance height of 300mm, designed from tubular stainless steel. Both options allow easy cleaning access and minimise entrapment areas. Adjustable levelling feet, with internal sealed threads, make entrapment areas completely obsolete and new stainless steel cable glands stop any particles from attaching themselves within the glands or connections.

    Electrical enclosures, which are used in hostile situations in the manufacturing process environment, are usually hosed down at the end of the day. Often high pressure cleaning equipment is used and the mechanical equipment or controls are included in this wash down. In this type of environment where the controls need to be protected against any form of water ingress it is recommended that a stainless steel sealed enclosure be used which meets the demanding standards of IP69K.
    More stringent cleaning methods are required within food processing plants where strong high velocity hoses are directed at machinery and their controls to prevent harmful bacteria from harbouring. The temperature in a process plant within a poultry factory could be around 10ºC ambient when in use, but when the cleaning process takes place, refrigeration is turned off, which allows the temperature to rise to 20ºC. The water temperature for cleaning is often higher than 50ºC and can have a water pressure of 70 bar. If the enclosure to house the controls was only rated at IP56 or 66 the control enclosure could fill with water, as the water temperature is far higher than the enclosure and the water pressure is greater than the design standard of the gaskets.
    The IP69K protection category certifies the enclosure to be water ingress proof when tested on a turntable. The German DIN 44050 standard originated from requirements found in the automotive industry where spray water and high pressure cleaning resistance was required.
    The IP69K to DIN EN 40 050 part 9/5.93 lists the IP (International Protection) rating for road vehicles. The IP rating is described in a combination of the two numbers and an additional letter behind the last characteristic numeral. In this case this creates for example the IP69K, where the letter “K” provides further information. The letter “K” refers to a special case for road vehicles which describes the protection of electrical devices in road vehicles with regards to foreign bodies, dust and, in particular, with regard to the penetration of water. The use of the additional letter “K” is, however, no longer used exclusively in vehicular applications, but also in the food and beverage processing industries. As this test procedure differs considerably from the other IP-tests, enclosures with IP69K test certificates are currently the highest protection standard available against water ingress.

    The IP69K to DIN40 050-9/5.93 lists the protection category test consisting of the following parameters: Water pressure up to 100 bar; 14-16 litres per minute flow rate; temperature up to 80°C; distance min 100 to max 150mm. Duration of the test calls for 4 directions and test jet time of 30 sec each at the angles of 0°, 30°, 60° and finally 90°. To achieve the 4 directional test, the test object is placed on a rotating turntable.

    Protection class IP69K is therefore an important standard for enclosure systems used in the food industries. In addition to the water ingress properties, the food industry also requires hygienic standards on the surface properties. Standard 304-grade stainless steel achieves the required levels, but what about the gasket material? Special properties are required, such as a non-bacteria harbouring surface and a smooth transgression between the stainless steel parts and the gasket materials. The German Institute, “Frauenhofer-Institute IPA”, certified the highest standards in the food and hygiene sector for the Rittal IP69K enclosure range.

    When products are used in factories and applications around the world, common safety standards are set to make sure all health and safety criteria are met. Enclosures are no exception; meeting the requirements of the EN60529 ingress protection and EN60439 low voltage control gear assemblies standards.

    New markets have also given the enclosure manufacturer the ability to supply complete packages. There are a wide range of different climate control solutions available that range from addressing condensation issues to more severe heat problems, heaters for raising temperatures above freezing, louvers for normal convection, fans for forced convection along with air-to-air heat exchangers, to technically sophisticated cooling systems for the more hostile environment. Power distribution can also be a prerequisite in control panels and a busbar system that offers advantages in assembly and space saving is an advantage providing possible cost and time savings.

    Rittal’s extensive range of climate control solutions feature two control options that allow functions such as door switch control, condensate management, master-slave set-up, and network connectivity, as well as a wealth of system information that can be accessed and evaluated. On three phase units, the systems accept both 400 V and 460 V +-10% connections from one single standard unit. The internal air circuit design of the roof-mounted units can open up more possibilities in drive cooling applications or targeted cooling.

  • Multi-coloured remote control enclosures

    OKW has announced its ‘MINITEC' enclosures, which have been designed for small portable electronics which are carried in the hand, in a pocket, on a key ring, or on a neck chain.

    Typical applications will include personal safety, detection, monitoring, emergency call, audio, alarm, and radio and infra-red remote control devices.

    When taking into account all the different styles, sizes, formats and colour options, this is the largest single product range OKW has ever introduced to the market, at any one time, with over 120 individual enclosures. As part of the launch, OKW have teamed up with Farnell who are offering the entire range from stock.

    The ‘MINITEC' enclosures are available in two basic styles: rectangular style ‘E' and tear drop style ‘D'. Four external sizes are available: 52 x 32 x 15 mm and 68 x 43 x 18 mm (style ‘E'), and 51 x 32 x 13 mm and 70 x 44 x 16 mm (style ‘D').

    Each case consists of a top part, bottom part and a soft intermediate ring. The top and base parts are moulded in off-white or lava grey ABS, or black infra-red transparent PMMA (UL 94 HB). The intermediate rings are moulded in soft touch TPE in four standard colours: volcano grey, orange, lime green and bright blue. The rings feature moulded eyelets or strap loops for fitting the key rings or neck chains which are offered as accessories.

    The recessed top part is designed for locating a membrane keypad or product label. Style ‘E' is also offered with a smooth top for fitting rubber keypads etc. Location bosses are moulded in the base parts for mounting PCBs and components, and the cases are assembled using a single self-tapping fixing screw.
    Prices start at under £4.

    OKW can supply the ‘MINITEC' enclosures with additional holes for the keypads, connectors and displays etc., plus silk-screen printed legends and logos, and EMC shielding.

    More information on the enclosures can be found on OKW's website at:www.okw.co.uk/minitec

  • Enclosures - Preventing poor design degrading long-term reliability

    Steve Gallon explains why the integrity of a systems design depends on the reliability of conductors (wires, cables, and fibre optics), terminals, connectors, sockets, circuit boards, back plates, and the overall enclosure

    Not wishing to teach Grandma how to suck eggs, it's worth reiterating electrical and electronic enclosures typically come in two grades: commercial and industrial.

    Commercial cabinets ideally suit office and light industrial environments, whilst industrial equipment is normally more robust. The operating environment then determines the type of cooling, shielding, and IP protection needed.

    These basic considerations establish the type of materials and plating or finishing needed for the enclosure to withstand the environment and successfully contain, protect and shield the device, to finally operate in.

    Another consideration may be shock and vibration, especially in factories and environments prone to shaking as may found in the rail or mining industries.

    Overall enclosure dimensions dictate the closest standard catalogue size available, and free space surrounding the cabinet works into calculations for selecting a cooling unit. (Heat exchanger and air-conditioner equations include the exposed surface area of the cabinet - enclosure bottoms and sides resting against walls and floors are ignored).

    Intended use is important because some industries such as petroleum and food processing enforce rules and regulations concerning materials, finishes, paint, seals (for fluids and radiation), and explosion-hazard factors. For example, many food and beverage-processing plants mandate stainless-steel enclosures whilst other installations require GRP or polycarbonate enclosures.

    There was once a time many UK panel builders and enclosure users overlooked GRP because they were of the belief that these products were not as strong as steel, however with today's advanced manufacturing techniques, modern GRP enclosures offer impact resistance (IK) ratings, equal to those of steel.

    In addition and because of the material is inherently corrosion-proof, the suitability of GRP products for use in tough environments is amply demonstrated by their widespread adoption throughout Europe for extensive use in demanding applications which include traffic light controls, railway signalling, telecommunications and remote metering and monitoring.

    Another issue crops up especially around telecommunications equipment, medical instruments, switchgear, machine tools, telephone links, and optical links. Many of these products are regulated by national standards, and special features may have to be incorporated in the cabinets.

    Whenever possible, the designer should try to stick to standard enclosures as much as possible to keep costs down. What might be a custom job for one enclosure manufacturer may be a standard catalogue item for another. Standard enclosures, climate controllers, and accessories typically are available off the shelf or within two to three days. Modifications, however, may take four to six weeks!

  • New industrial enclosures catalogue

    Rolec has published its new comprehensive industrial enclosures catalogue. The 236 page colour catalogue is said to provide design and installation engineers with a source of high performance enclosures with specifications from IP 66 to IP 69K, The ordering information, drawings, material specifications and customising options are all set out in a clear and easy-to-use format.

    The product range includes die-cast housings in industry standard sizes, wall enclosures, terminal cases, push-button enclosures, front panel enclosures, command enclosures, EMC cases and Atex Ex enclosures. The enclosures are manufactured from die-cast aluminium, ABS, polycarbonate, polyester or sheet steel. The range also includes suspension arm systems and cable glands.

    For 2008, Rolec has added two new lines, the unique die-cast ‘handCASE' hand-held enclosures, and the aluDISPLAY command and display enclosures. Other existing lines have also been extended.

    The catalogue also includes examples of customised enclosures which have been machined, painted and printed.

    The catalogue can be ordered online at www.rolec-enclosures.co.uk/get-catalogue

    Tel: 01489 583858

  • Die-cast hand-held enclosures with battery power

    The new ‘handCASE' enclosures from ROLEC now feature externally accessible battery compartments. These high performance IP 66 aluminium enclosures have been designed for mobile hand-held electronics which are used in harsh environmental conditions either indoor in outdoor.

    Typical applications will include test and measurement equipment, machine and robot controllers, detection equipment, and data logging units etc.

    These ergonomic enclosures are manufactured from die-cast aluminium GD AL Si 12 rather than the more typical ABS plastic for this type of housing. As a result, the ‘handCASE' enclosures are very robust and offer a high degree of EMC shielding, which can be especially useful for RF equipment.

    The ‘handCASE' assembly consists of three separate die-castings the top, base and battery compartment lid, plus two moulded TPE sealing gaskets and four screw gaskets. The cases are assembled by four corrosion proof stainless steel M3 screws.

    Three standard sizes are offered with external dimensions of 180 x 80 x 42 mm, 220 x 100 x 42 mm and 220 x 100 x 62 mm. The two smaller sizes are supplied with an integral battery compartment for four 1.5V AA cells or two 9V cells.

    The contoured top section features a recessed area for easy location of a membrane keypad or product label.  The top can also be machined for mounting display modules, keypads and push-button switches. The base can be machined for connectors, switches and cable glands. The largest case is deep enough for fitting standard control switches. Prices start at £53.

    More information on the enclosures can be found on ROLEC's website at:

  • Enclosures - Hygienic enclosures: a consistent approach to cleanliness and food safety

    In industries where a clean and sanitary working environment is essential such as the food, beverage and processing industries, a strict hygienic protocol needs to be adhered to in order to prevent product contamination. In the constant battle to prevent cross contamination, which could have a disastrous negative impact on an organisation such as product recalls, reduced profits, tarnished reputations and loss of consumer confidence, daily washdowns of all equipment is paramount to protect product purity and quality. Glen Ward of Rittal explains

    A daily washdown includes the enclosure housing the electrical controls to remove any particles that may be cultivating on the enclosure surface, crevices or recesses. Protecting the electrical equipment from daily washdowns while maintaining hygienic standards can prove to be a ‘hygienic headache'. Common problems that occur during the daily washdowns include solution pooling, the possibility of trapped contaminants between walls and mounted enclosures as well as the unreachable areas created by floor standing enclosures. Hygiene checks have also revealed that the use of pressure washes harbours the risk of organic contaminants entering niches and tiny recesses in standard enclosure designs such as the two-bit lock, hinges, seals and glands. However, these problems can be easily overcome if during the design phase the enclosure is properly specified.

    To prevent any pooling from collecting on the roof area, an enclosure that incorporates a 30° sloped overhang allows cleaning fluids to completely drain away as well as stopping objects being placed on the roof which could potentially cause a contamination hazard. Ideally the slope at the back of the roof should be raised at an 8-20° angle over the door by 10mm to prevent liquids from reaching the door and seal. An increased gap between the door and the roof will offer easier cleaning and an bezzled door return will ensure that fluids do not run back and take residence on the seal.

    A special silicone door seal should also be fitted - designed to protect against acids, alkaline solutions, detergents as well as disinfectants, and ought to have chamfered edge folds to prevent any liquid accumulation. The seal should be of a coloured variety to improve the visibility of particles that are then detectable with metal detectors. As the seal is subjected to a constant barricade of water the seal will need replacing on a regular basis. A one-piece replaceable seal is ideal as it is quick and easy to install as well as being gap free eliminating the possibility of bacteria forming within the small joins.

    When it comes to the two bit locking mechanism, it was always difficult to tell if the recessed hole had been cleaned out completely. The solution has been to design a new hygienic lock that protrudes from the door surface, which contains no recesses eliminating the places where micro-organisims could fester while offering more reliable cleaning. The hinges on enclosures have also continued to provide a bacterial haven with the pin through the middle making it virtually impossible to keep hygienically clean, hinges that are mounted inside the seal remove it from the external environment therefore eliminating the potential hazard.
    An area, which has until recently caused problems, has been the use of the traditional cable gland that has a number of design features making it unsuitable for hygienic environments, such as open screw threads and tiny recesses. To rectify this Rittal has introduced a new hygienically designed cable gland, which minimises the risk of deposits found in ‘open' production processes. Conventional cable glands contain various cavities and crevices where dirt and bacteria can gather; the new cable gland presents only smooth surfaces and gentle transitions, so dirt and micro-organisms have nowhere to congregate. A special feature of the new cable gland is the cap nut that extends all the way to the mounting surface, thereby concealing the entire clamping and sealing mechanism.

    The mounting of the enclosure to avoid entrapment areas also needs careful consideration. Difficult to clean areas with floor standing enclosures can be eliminated by using adjustable levelling feet, with tubular threads, which support the enclosure while accommodating the floors drainage slope. For wall-mounted enclosures, tubular mounting brackets with a smooth finish will minimise entrapment areas. Open frame plinths with a clearance of 300mm designed from tubular stainless steel will also allow easy cleaning.

    Enclosure mounting, seals, gaskets, and gland plates can also affect the IP rating and can often make the difference between the success and failure of the enclosure to meet its desired task. Typically, the more hostile the environment the enclosure is to be situated in, the higher the IP rating will need to be. For internal use where there is no likelihood of the enclosure being washed down, the IP rating could be as low as IP43. However, in an extreme environment, where the enclosure is subjected to a daily washdown, the internal equipment will need protection any form of water ingress so an IP69K enclosure will be required.

    Established in 1993, the IP69K protection rating which is currently the highest available, was designed to address the high pressure, high temperature washdowns of road vehicles. As the cleaning method for these vehicles was quickly adopted by other industries, the IP69K enclosure was formed. When strong, high velocity hoses are directed at machinery and their controls to remove any remaining substances, it is important to protect the electrical controls, and if the enclosure were only rated at IP66 it could quickly turn to disaster. For example: the temperature in a processing factory could be around 10°C ambient when in use, but when the cleaning process takes place the refrigeration is switched off allowing the temperature to rise to 20°C. The water temperature for high velocity cleaning is often higher than 50°C and can have a water pressure of 70 bar. As the water temperature is higher than that of the enclosure and the pressure is greater than the design standard of the gaskets, the enclosure would soon begin to fill with water.

    IP69K enclosures are subjected to a rigorous test before they receive their certified rating. The test consists of: water pressure up to 100 bar, 14-16 litres per minute flow rate; temperature up to 80°C; distance minimum of 100mm to a maximum of 150mm. The duration of the test calls for four directions and test jet times of 30 seconds each at an angle of 0°, 30°, 60° and 90°.

    So how is IP69K different from UL Type 4? IP69K and UL Type 4 standards both require the enclosure to protect against the entry of water, but Type 4 test is mainly concerned with hose down conditions involving lower pressure water at a greater distance (10-12ft) and with a greater volume of water (65gallons/minute).  IP69K certification requires close range, low volume with very high pressure, which is similar to the type of washdowns found in the pharmaceutical, petrochemical and food and processing industries. IP69K is therefore an important standard for enclosure systems used within any environment where the equipment is subjected to high pressure cleaning.

    Every industry faces its own challenges and the food and processing industry is no exception. However, the latest hygienic thinking has now been applied to the electrical enclosure packaging field, which can significantly reduce the contamination risk, facilitating in this constant battle. These new developments allow greater system availability, more efficient cleaning and lower energy requirements due to the reduced use of chemicals. With careful consideration when choosing an enclosure, a lot of the common problems in hygienic environments can be easily overcome.

  • Enclosures - Modular electrical distribution meets motor control

    Electrical distribution and motor control has a major role to play in today's industry. The systems that control it are usually referred to as motor control centres (MCCs), distribution or switchboards. Darryl Wells-Pope from Rittal explains

    The construction of the enclosure is divided into a number of many different sizes of compartments arranged in rows and columns with each compartment door opening separately. These compartments contain electrical devices, which are then connected to copper busbars that power motors or distribute electricity as a distribution or switchboard.
    Every compartment within the MCC, distribution or switchboard will normally house a circuit breaker and/or a motor starter normally side by side with sufficient space left over for control, power transformer and a relay. As modifications are inevitable, the compartments need to modular and available in various sizes that can accommodate different sized parts.
    When compartments contain circuit breakers, the compartment door should have a handle through it to act as a means of disconnecting the power from the equipment; without opening the door. This will also allow each compartment to be shut down separately without interfering with the other processes. 

    With modular MCCs, distribution or switchboards it is essential a level of separation is achieved and these forms of separation extend from ‘Form 1', which is based on a traditional open ‘cabinet' type MCC construction to the extremity of ‘Form 4b Type 7' where all starters or feeders are separated from each other - even the control terminals. In such solutions it is advisable that incoming cables can be brought into large cable chambers, with aperture sizes of up to 400mm wide, providing greater manoeuvrability for the onsite contractors and, therefore, quicker and easier installation.

    Type testing in low voltage switchgear is increasingly becoming an issue of prime importance worldwide. Type tested panels in accordance with IEC 60439 Part 1 assure a high level of personal protection as well as system protection. However, one important thing to remember is to ensure all plastic materials used for the busbar supports are self-extinguishing in accordance with UL 94-VO. With such type tests, more safety is assured through heat dissipation and comprehensive short circuit resistance testing. When type tested along with various manufacturers' protective devices, MCCs offer even more flexibility of system permutations.

    With MCCs or distribution boards, it is paramount that systems are totally flexible in their makeup and that busbar mounting can take place either in the roof area, the rear or mounted into the base/floor area. Such options allow for all eventualities, and offer a wider scope to cater for any electrical application, which may be required.

    The design of any MCC, distribution or switchboard can be time consuming, not only does the front ‘general arrangement' require organising to make use of the valuable space, but the internal components require careful planning in order to make sure fine details such as mounting plates and busbars are included. By utilising a specialised engineering software package, designers specifying and designing MCCs can now produce drawings and parts lists within minutes. If the right software is chosen it should also allow modifications and additions, which may be required at a later date, to be easily incorporated, be able to specify the individual component parts, which allows for a quick and effortless placement of the MCC order, and allow completed drawings and parts lists to be exported into various software packages.

    As so many projects are now expected to take place with a fast turnaround, when considering the self-build option it is essential the instructions are clear so the mechanical assembly can take place quickly and easily. What happens if any of the side panels are damaged during transit? Are they easy to replace? Can they be replaced?  These are questions that could cause a problem if the system is not of a modular design. With modular MCCs these issues don't tend to exist as all external panels can quickly and easily replaced, with the added bonus that any earthing cables conventionally required to be replaced can be eradicated due to ‘self-earthing' panels.

    With any purchase of a motor control or distribution board it is important to consider the future use of the equipment. Although it may be suitable for today's business requirements, will it be able to cope with tomorrow's demands?  Whether the MCC can be easily extended is therefore something that needs to be considered. If it is to be extended it would be advisable to choose an MCC where the individual enclosure units can be easily bayed in the future. Consideration also needs to be given to the busbar extensions; can they be achieved easily with standard products? Are the products available quickly so the build is not delayed? And what about the compartment sizes? Can these be accommodated easily into an existing structure? Are special parts required? Do doors have to be especially manufactured or are they available off the shelf?  All of the above elements are paramount when selecting an MCC.

    Any motor control centre, distribution board or electrical switchboard needn't be a complex structure if all the elements are considered, are easily and readily available and can be expanded as and when required.

  • Lower cost IP 66 polyester enclosures

    Due to new manufacturing techniques, Rolec is now able to offer its polyKOM enclosures at very competitive prices. As a result, more engineers can now take advantage of the quality and design features of these versatile flame retardant polyester housings.

    PolyKOM enclosures are rated to IP 66 and are manufactured from glass reinforced polyester (UL 94 V-0) - halogen free - in silver grey, RAL 7001. All models are fully insulated to VDE 0100. The range consists of fourteen industry standard sizes with external dimensions from 80 x 75 x 55 mm to 600 x 250 x 120 mm.

    The cases are assembled by corrosion proof captured stainless steel fixing screws. M4 or M6 threaded screw bosses are provided in both sections for mounting terminal rails, electrical assemblies and PCBs.

    View this product online at www.rolec-enclosures.co.uk/polykom

    Rolec Enclosures
    Tel: 01489 583858

  • GRP Enclosures offer effective corrosion resistance

    A new high quality range of glass reinforced polyester [GRP] enclosures is now available from ETA Enclosures. The range, sealed to IP65, comes in 7 popular sizes offering the best in style and protection with a host of user friendly accessories.

    Features include:

    • Modular and adjustable frame
    • Din rails adjustable in height
    • Removable panels
    • Snap-on fixing and ¼ turn screws
    • Designed for installations at a temperature range of 25 through 60°C
    • Glow wire 960°C /650°C for window door version
    • Line suitable for assembled units complying with Standard CEI 17-13/1
    • Available in grey RAL 7035 or on request in red RAL 3000

    Ideal for use in such harsh environments as marine, off-shore, petrochemical, paper plants and water treatment facilities these GRP Enclosures offer effective corrosion resistance for electrical and electronic control installations.

    Of a robust construction the ETA GRP enclosures range is available with left or right hinged doors and incorporates an internal drip shield which is designed to direct liquids away from the door seal. For easy visual inspection and the monitoring of internal components a film protected widow door version is also available.

    A standard triangular lock insert can be upgraded with optional key locks to provide greater security.

    A 12 page full colour technical brochure detailing sizes and accessories is available.

    Eta Enclosures (UK)   


    01709 386630

  • New enclosures catalogue runs to 100 pages

    Electronics packaging specialist Schroff has launched a new edition of its main catalogue.  Running to over 1100 pages, Edition 23 provides detailed technical information on the company's complete range of products, including cabinets, cases, subracks, plug-in units, embedded systems, backplanes and power supplies.

    Among the many new products to appear in the catalogue are the propacPRO series of cases, a range of frame-type plug-in units, intelligent socket strips, and extensions to the company's cabinet range.

    In addition, the catalogue features a useful appendix containing an overview of relevant standards, a list of commonly used abbreviations and a complete product index.

    This easy-to-use catalogue is clearly laid out in colour-coded sections and makes generous use of colour pictures, as well as dimensioned line diagrams showing assembly details, tables and selection charts with stocked items shown in bold text.
    Providing an indispensable source of information for anyone involved in specifying or purchasing enclosures or related products and services, the Edition 23 catalogue can be obtained by visiting www.schroff.co.uk and clicking on the ‘Catalogue Request' button.



    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Tel: +44 (0)1442 218726

  • Huge range of enclosures

    Cynergistic Technologies is representing Apra Gruppe of Germany. Founded in 1969 Apra has grown substantially over the years and encompass virtually all enclosures under one roof including the following;

    * 19''-cabinet systems
    * sub rack systems
    * desktop/small enclosures
    * panel Instrument cases
    * custom plastic enclosures
    * cabinet systems,
    * pre-wired solutions
    * electrical enclosures
    * 19''-server plug-in units
    * display enclosures
    * Customer specific designs.

    Whether you require a standard enclosure, sealed or unsealed or a custom one off solution we have the product to suit. Our ability to be able to take sheet plastic and form it into complex, custom enclosures that fit almost all applications is virtually unique. From stereo lithography, through to custom ‘flat sheet' enclosures up to full 46U cabinets - our capability is unlimited.

    This new and exciting addition to the Cynergistic product range confirms the ability to truly offer a complete electro-mechanical solution coupled with the highest quality service.

    Cynergistic Technologies specialises in the supply of standard, modified standard or custom electro-mechanical components. Utilising industry experts and technical specialists we are one of the few true demand creators and supply fulfillment companies for the UK and Eire.

    Cynergistic Technolgies
    tel + 44 (0)844 8009324
    E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.      

  • 'Pizza box' 1U rack enclosures to take away

    Foremost Electronics, the Essex based specialist distributor of electromechanical   components, has announced the introduction of a range of 1U, 19" rack mountable 'pizza box' enclosures.

    The new Elma Slimkit 10 is a flexible enclosure solution for free standing or 19" rack mounted systems. The basic chassis can easily be transformed into a complete case by adding a rear panel and top cover to the basic mounting chassis. The elegant design allows numerous enclosure combinations to be assembled depending on the application. Fitted with a rugged and wear resistant aluminium front panel the chassis is available with or without perforations for optimised thermal solutions and is available in a number of attractive finishes for individual product tailoring

    Typical applications for the Slimkit 10 from Foremost Electronics include low profile test equipment, control and instrumentation systems, telecoms, networking, alarm, audio and wireless products and signal conversion equipment.

    Alan Cook, managing director of Foremost Electronics commented, "The addition of these high quality Pizza Box 19" enclosures complements our existing range of Emech products and allows our customers to buy complete connectivity, switching and enclosure solutions from one source. Our goal is to provide a one-stop-shop for all the interface, connectivity and packaging needs of system and instrument manufacturers."

    Standard features include aluminium front panel, 0.75mm pre-galvanised sheet steel frame, vibration proof construction, fast assembly, easy access, removable front and rear panels for ease of machining and EMC shielding without additional gaskets. The 1U high chassis may be specified with a base tray of either 240mm or 360mm, with or without perforations for air flow. Accessories include handles, which may be specified in a range of colours, tilting or fixed feet for free-standing applications and an earthing kit to allow enclosures to meet the requirements of EN/VDE/SEV safety standards.

    Foremost Electronics
    T: +44 (0)1371 811171

  • Enclosures - Manufacturing challenges in the new decade

    Steve Gallon, Managing Director of Electrical Enclosure company FIBOX, comments on the future, and explains how innovation and consistency of service will impact on the market post-recession

    With 2010 heralding the dawn of a new decade; this year offers many challenges and opportunities for electrical product manufacturers to self-examine, introspect and outperform the decade gone by. While the beginning of the last decade saw the industry's R&D departments adopting positive attitudes toward innovative technology; the end of the decade saw many of those company's finance directors putting the brakes on innovation and adopting large scale cost-cutting measures and implementing huge rationalization programmes in order to ride-out the effects of the recession.

    It wasn't that these companies didn't recognise the importance of innovation, but in reality, investing in innovation was not possible. For them, the recession meant financial resources and extra facilities for investing new ideas were just not available, so instead, their focus was on making more effective use of the scarce resources that they had.

    Having been in the industry more years than I care to mention, I ?see the notion of ‘if it's not broken, don't fix it' as committing industrial suicide and instead recommend ‘demand, challenge and probe' become the new paradigm.

    If there is one thing history has taught us; it's that as the financial situation returns to somewhere near normal, wealth increases and markets stabilize, the demand from customers will change and therefore in order for those surviving manufacturing companies to prosper, they will be the ones that have looked to the future and continued to innovate.

    Right now the ability for the industry to innovate is not just critical to success. It's simply a prerequisite for survival. 

    So, what is innovation? Conventionally innovation has been best explained as the initial recognition of a market need and the development of a unique or novel way of fulfilling that need by producing a commercially viable product or solution. However, in today's market, as the current manufacturing industries emerge from the deepest recession since the Second World War, innovation must go further than purely identifying a need. It's about responding quickly to challenges, adopting new ideas and moving fast to seize opportunities.

    However, innovation needs to be encouraged at all levels and in all elements within an organisation to be truly effective.

    From a corporate standpoint, the most important thing for Fibox, was to emerge from the economic downturn, stronger and fitter than before and in a position to drive strong growth as volumes increase.

    Companies who will achieve this best are those that have continued to innovate. It is not good enough for a company to hope to grow ahead of the market solely on the basis of old products. The companies that will show greatest growth potential in recovery are those that emerge with new products and improved services.

    The fact Fibox sees innovation as the most important driver of future growth is based on its ability to develop new products for new markets and gain sustainable competitive advantages within them. Yet, innovation is not something it reserves for product development: It is really applied creativity. Given this definition, all Fibox employees are encouraged to rethink processes, streamline job tasks, implement productivity measures, and continue to think creatively.

    Innovation in management is important too, because this dictates the speed of production and ensures the development of suitable ideas make it through to commercialisation.

    With this in mind, Fibox has continued with its policy of integrating its product innovation programmes in conjunction with its customers' demands, suppliers' needs and specialist distributors' call for specialist and bespoke products complete with specific components.
    A lot of the interesting innovation happens when you work in close partnership with people in organisations who are your suppliers or who are your customers and who can perhaps help you in getting products much faster to market.

    This ‘open' innovation policy not only creates added value for the company but is a prerequisite for our future innovation capabilities and helps us to inject new impetus, into discovering new market opportunities and develop new ideas and technologies.

    By collaborating with our customer partners, correctly evaluating R&D progress and product roll-outs also have important implications for the company beyond any particular initiative. We regularly introduce our key product development personnel to meet with distributors and customers, because unless they are clear what client customers demand; their innovations will have no value for the end user. Innovation, based on the specific needs of customers, is faster, cheaper and a more dependable approach.

    Innovation of service has a role to play in the modern marketing mix too. As mentioned before, innovation is based not only on applying cutting edge technology in a novel way; but as about all round creative thinking.

    When Dell developed its first products, its innovative idea was not totally product based; it was its web based distribution methodology that set it apart. This new approach allowed Dell to emerge rapidly as a market leader with a range of ‘me too' products.

    The art of ‘two-way' communication is an innovation in itself and continues to emerge as a powerful tool in the strategic arsenal of many leading companies.

    In order to make company information and product innovations public, expert journalism is required. As such, technical, business and above-the-line promotion in carefully selected media vehicles are adopted. Furthermore, when innovations are professionally presented, it evaluates them and presents them to the customer in a comprehensive way.

    In tandem with professional external communication, the contribution of internal communication to the commercial success of our products and revitalised service innovations cannot be overstated. This is especially true when it comes to delivering straight talk. Shielding employees from bad news is condescending and akin to treating them like children; it implies they are not ‘grown up' enough to handle harsh decisions. So why do some companies do it? One reason is because they feel employees will feel totally dejected and then underperform. But we have found just the opposite; tell people what they need to know and they will reward you with solid performance.

    Over the last few years, Fibox has implemented firm communication plans, supported by updates on intranets, texts, and even blogs, not to mention, emails, to help employees know how the company is performing. It is important to listen, it doesn't make any sense to spend all time and effort to find and appoint the best people around, if you are just going to ignore their input.

    Therefore, from a Fibox point of view, innovation is about encompassing the company's total creativity, novel thinking, original design and often, but not always new technology.
    At Fibox we believe this 360° attitude to continued growth is based on innovation of product in combination with innovation of service through precise and well-timed use of technology will be key to our success in the new decade.

  • Explosion-proof enclosures stand the test of time

    A range of explosion-proof enclosures from Cooper Crouse-Hinds (CEAG) are being used by MCI  Electrotechnics, a supplier of electrical instrumentation and control panels, to protect a variety of electrical equipment destined for offshore and onshore oil, gas and petrochemical applications.

    Established in 1995, MCI manufactures, and if required, installs and commissions custom control panels and electrical equipment for both hazardous and non-hazardous environments around the world, including the North Sea, Middle East and Far East. The business has an annual turnover of around £4m and employs 32 staff. The company's manufacturing plant is based in Dyce near Aberdeen and covers approximately 6,500 square feet.

    MCI supplies a diverse range of electrical control systems, including motor control centres (MCCs), junction boxes, motor starters, control panels, distribution boards and CPFG (combined pressure fire & gas) panels. On the hazardous area side of the business, MCI offers customers two main types of explosion-proof enclosure for its products: a moulded plastic (GRP) EEx de version, as well as a range of metal (aluminium / cast iron) Ex d enclosures. All of these enclosures are supplied by Cooper Crouse-Hinds.

    Using the CEAG moulded plastic Ex de enclosure, MCI assembles and mounts a variety of flameproof-encapsulated components, such as fuses, contactors, lamps, MCBs, switches and meters. These impact-resistant GRP enclosures provide increased safety protection for the components. Built up units include Ex distribution boards, control stations and motor starters, all supplied to European standards EN 50014 and EN 50018. The systems are ATEX-certified for use in Zone 1, Zone 2, Zone 21 and Zone 22.

    MCI also uses aluminium / cast iron CEAG explosion-proof enclosures for use with control panels, starters, junction boxes, MCCs, distribution boards and CPFG panels. MCI offers three versions of CFPG panels for A60 class modules, battery isolators and temporary power units. These ATEX-certified systems are suitable for use in Gas Group IIB installations, Zone 1 and Zone 2 areas, fulfilling the requirements of EN 50014 and EN 50018.

    As Ian McIntosh, managing director of MCI comments: "We began using CEAG explosion-proof enclosures around 10 years ago. In that time, the enclosures have proved very reliable. We've probably only had to reject one or two units in the last 10 years, which is pretty impressive. For MCI and its customers, it is absolutely critical that the enclosures are reliable because we need to guarantee the safety of our products and help to minimise any downtime for the customer caused by faulty, unsafe equipment."

    "CEAG enclosures are designed and manufactured to a high quality and the service and technical back up is also very reliable," adds McIntosh. "Even our customers sometimes specify that we use CEAG enclosures. They understand that CEAG is a respected, globally-recognised product in the oil and gas sector and they appreciate the quality of the enclosures."

    In late 2009, MCI supplied a motor control centre for a drilling system to be delivered to an oil and gas exploration platform in the North Sea. The 10-metre long MCC panel was built in three sections, which in total use 52 separate explosion-proof enclosures. All of the enclosures were Ex d certified and interconnected by using ‘barrier assemblies'. The entire unit has ATEX assembly certification. The remainder of the project was the build of Ex de moulded plastic lighting distribution boards. All units were EEx d certified for Zone 1 and Zone 2 areas.

    As McIntosh explains: "We won the contract by offering the customer a very competitive price and delivery time for the MCC. We couldn't have done this without the support of CEAG, who was able to respond to our customer's requirements in terms of the enclosures. We believe that our delivery time of 16 weeks was almost twice as fast as any competitor could offer for this project. But without CEAG's support, we couldn't have met this timeframe."

    In addition to supplying explosion-proof enclosures and other electrical equipment certified for ATEX environments, Cooper Crouse-Hinds also offers other hazardous area electrical equipment to IEC and NEC standards, as well as other international approvals for Eastern Europe, China and North America.

    Cooper Crouse-Hinds (UK)

    Tel: 02476  308930  
    Fax:  02476 301027  
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Enclosures - Solving enclosure confusion

    Specifiers must assess enclosure construction before specifying products as the incorrect  choice can lead to significant and costly consequences. They should also make sure they fully understand the system of IP ratings, to avoid incorrect choices and spending more money than necessary. here, Darren Hodson from Schneider Electric explains the system of enclosure ratings, discusses the differing materials available and highlights one of today's most common misconceptions surrounding the ratings standards - IP69K

    The various enclosure materials available have their strengths and weaknesses and in order to specify the most appropriate material, these must be fully understood. In addition, the importance of the right quality enclosure is critical.  The role of an enclosure is to protect valuable electrical components and personnel and it just doesn't make sense to save a few pounds by purchasing an inferior product to protect high value systems.  A substandard enclosure could result in leaks, damage to equipment, and possibly even become a hazard to the public.  If this happens not only is the user faced with the cost of replacing the enclosure, there is also the cost of changing any damaged components, downtime and possible litigation.

    It is critical the same level of time and investment goes into choosing the right quality enclosure, in order to reflect the time and money spent in developing the system it contains and the system(s) it is connected to. Choosing the right material for the job is also an important consideration.  Buying a high quality enclosure, but in the wrong material, can be a costly mistake. 

    Depending upon the application and the preference of the customer, there are three common materials which enclosures are manufactured from: mild steel, stainless steel and GRP. But regardless of the material used, each enclosure should be chosen to suit the specific application they are intended for and this includes having the appropriate IP rating. IP ratings are defined in the IEC 60529 standard for degrees of protection provided by enclosures, published in the UK as BS EN 60529.

    The degrees of protection are specified by the letters IP, followed by two or more digits. The first digit (1 to 6) depends on the protection given by the enclosure to equipment within it against the ingress of objects, and also the protection of persons against contact with live parts of equipment within the enclosure. The second digit (1 to 8) relates to the protection of equipment against the harmful ingress of water. Either digit can be replaced by ‘X' for an unspecified condition.

    Optional supplementary letters can be used to specify only the protection of persons against access to hazardous parts, and to stipulate special conditions, such as use for high-voltage apparatus or under specified weather conditions.

    In general, a higher number represents better protection, although specifiers should be aware this isn't always a guarantee, as sometimes an enclosure might, for example, pass the tests for IP67 but not to a lower rating such as IP65.

    It is important specifiers fully understand the conditions of use for an enclosure, as simply specifying a high IP rating does not necessarily mean it is right for the job. The designations refer to the ability of the enclosure to pass the tests under controlled conditions, not to its ability to withstand influences such as weather, sunlight, corrosion, or extremes of temperature. A product can meet the highest level for protection against ingress of water, yet be subject to rusting, so customers must make clear what they are actually expecting from an enclosure rather than relying solely on an IP rating.

    In addition to IEC (BS EN) 60529 there are two other standards widely used for enclosures; IEC (BS EN) 62262 ‘Degrees of protection provided by enclosures for electrical equipment against external mechanical impacts (IK code)' and IEC (BS EN) 62208 ‘Empty enclosures for low-voltage switchgear and control gear assemblies - general requirements.' BS EN 62262 uses the letters IK followed by the numerals 00 to 10 to specify the enclosure's ability to withstand mechanical shock including direct impact.

    These ratings are used across all materials including mild steel -the UK's most popular choice. This type of enclosure is suitable for most indoor applications. With IP ratings up to IP66 and a high IK rating, it is robust and strong in many environments. The fact that it is easily modified is another reason why it has remained a popular choice for so long. However, specifiers are gradually realising its weaknesses. Mild steel has poor anticorrosion properties if the material is not treated, and this treatment is usually expensive. In addition, cut-outs made after painting must also be protected, adding yet a further cost.

    As an enclosure material mild steel still has its place. For general purpose enclosures, either indoors or in industrial and commercial premises, it is a cost effective solution but the fact it corrodes so quickly makes it an unsuitable choice for any external applications.

    Stainless steel has been a popular material choice for decades, typically used within the food manufacturing, food processing and pharmaceutical industries as well as for most external applications. It provides the same benefits as a mild steel enclosure but with greater longevity in aggressive environments.  It is also rust resistant, however depending on the grade and the environmental conditions, tarnishing and corrosion can occur. Stainless steel also has its own natural finish and so requires no further treatment.

    GRP is best suited to outdoor applications as it does not corrode in damp/wet conditions, even when exposed to sea salt. It also offers excellent protection against UV rays and therefore it won't discolour. Being an insulator it offers extra peace of mind on public access sites and so GRP is fast becoming a major competitor to steel with its insulation, strength and corrosion resisting properties over a temperature range from -50oC to 150oC.

    GRP enclosures are designed for the wide variety of aggressive applications in which they are used. In addition to the material, which is double insulated, self-extinguishing and halogen free, there are a number of anti-vandal features which make unauthorised access difficult. The list of industries that now accept GRP enclosures is growing and includes security, airports, highways, rail, utilities, telecoms and agriculture.

    It is also important to remember, especially when considering harsh environments, high IP levels are not necessarily an indication of a product being weatherproof. Other design features such as canopies also contribute to the enclosure providing the correct level of protection.

    IP ratings are invaluable in ensuring enclosures meet the correct standard however it is not always straight forward, as highlighted by one of today's most common misconceptions - requests for enclosures rated IP69K. At first sight, when you consider the rules for IP codes there is no such thing, since this rating is not mentioned in any of the standards mentioned above. In fact it stems from a German national standard developed for use specifically in the automotive industry.

    DIN 40050-9 adds to the IEC 60529 rating system with an IP69K rating for high-pressure and high-temperature wash-down applications. The IP69K test specification was initially developed for electronic equipment on road vehicles, but has also been used in other areas such as the food industry, where the use of pressure washers is common.

    This standard is purely a German national one and currently has no real meaning in the UK or other countries, as it doesn't feature as part of a British or International standard. A project is now underway to incorporate its requirements into IEC 60529 but initial attempts by various test houses found the test equipment and procedures were not precisely defined by the DIN standard. This means they do not give the same result when performed by different test houses, and so cannot be compared. Some research has resulted in a proposal to modify IEC 60529 to include the designation IPX9, but this is still at an early stage, and needs more work before it can be published as an amendment to the standard.

    In the meantime buyers of enclosures should be aware that ‘IP69K' products from different manufacturers may differ, and might not even pass the tests for IPX5. They should also remember that even the IEC 60529 tests are fairly short, up to 30 minutes for IPX7, although longer immersion can be agreed as part of IPX8. As a result they do not define the enclosure's ability to withstand long-term influences such as weather conditions. It is also often forgotten the ‘water ingress' tests do not specify that no water must enter; they allow water to enter but not in quantities that are considered to be ‘hazardous', which of course cannot be determined without knowing what apparatus will be within the enclosure.

    Today's enclosures offer a wide choice of materials and the breadth of products available is always expanding but specifiers and designers should remember that correct material specification is vital in achieving product longevity. And it is impossible not just to choose an enclosure with the highest IP rating and expect it to do any job, in any environment. Specifiers need to carefully assess the conditions of use and prescribe the IP rating that is most appropriate and importantly one that is recognised by IEC or British Standards, as well as choosing the appropriate material for their enclosures.

Page 2 of 3