Which NEMA Enclosure is best for your application?

May 29, 2014 at 10:00 AM


Let’s help you decide. We can figure this out together, I’m sure of it.

 

First we will talk about why you might want an enclosure, or for those of you who don’t know yet- what they are used for.

 

When deploying a wired or wireless network, it’s common to use expensive components like switches, routers, access points, and PLC's. These devices are critical to the operation of the network and can cost thousands of dollars.

 

When these devices are located outside or in an industrial setting such as a factory or processing plant, they become susceptible to damage from the elements, chemicals and physical contact.

 

The best way to protect your valuable communications equipment from this contact is with an enclosure. An enclosure is like Iron Man’s suit; the outer shielding protects the valuable inner-goods.

 

Who would Iron Man be without his suit anyways?

 

A common term that you’ll see used with enclosures is “industrial.” This is because most enclosures are built to be weatherproof, rugged, and often sport features such as heaters, cooling fans and more. They are designed for indoor and outdoor use, hot and cold temperature environments, as well as where equipment and critical systems need power, environmental protection, and security for the network to function.

 

NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) and the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) are two standard groups, and each has their own ratings based on resistance to dust, moisture, water immersion, and ice. Equipment enclosures typically use one of these rating systems to define how much abuse a particular enclosure can take.

 

You can find enclosures at use in places like:

 

Industrial data and control systems in factories and manufacturing plants, Municipal/State/Federal wired and remote sensor applications, secure WLAN network installations and more.

 

Some enclosures can even be used in extremely harsh environments such as mines, hydraulic or pneumatic control installations, and petrochemical refineries. They are made to endure all manner of abuse and keep the sensitive electronics inside safe.

 

As you will see, there are many varieties of enclosures with endless features. For the purpose of this tutorial we are going to walk through three categories: Non-powered, Powered, and Heated & Cooled.

 

 

Non-Powered

 

These enclosures are perfect for housing both wired and wireless communications equipment that do not require power. L-com’s non-powered weatherproof enclosures feature either a fully-removable gasketed lid with a stainless steel continuous hinge or a continuous gasketed lid secured by four non-metallic molded screws that ensure optimal integrity.

 

Our non-powered enclosures are also available in a variety of materials including Molded Fiberglass Reinforced Polyester (FRP) and VALOX 357U thermoplastic material.

 

 

Powered

 

Depending on the type of devices you are protecting in an enclosure, you may require a power source. Some of our enclosures have built in power outlets for a variety of interfaces, including 12V DC120V AC, 240V AC, and POE.

 

In addition to sharing some of the many features the non powered enclosures have, some of our powered interfaces include built in lightning protection. This helps add an extra level of security for the equipment installed in the enclosure.

 

 

Heating & Cooling

 

Weather your application requires power or not, there’s another piece of the puzzle to keep in mind. Will your equipment be exposed to cold temperatures, extreme heat, or moisture?

 

If your equipment will be experiencing any of these conditions, there are options for cooled, vented, and heated enclosures.

 

For example, L-com carries a sub-zero 48 VDC PoE-powered weatherproof enclosure, which is perfect for heating critical equipment in sub-zero temperatures. This sub-zero model has a thermostat-controlled heating system that is powered by a single Cat5 cable plugged into the remote-mounted power supply. This thermostat is designed for use in sub-zero environments up to -30°F (-34°C), maintaining a nominal internal ambient temperature of +40°F (4°C). The insulation properties of fiberglass, as well as foam insulation, aid in heat retention. 

 

Here's a helpful diagram that describes where all of these features would be located:


 

 

 

If you still haven’t yet figured out what you need, ask us about customization!

 

You might be able to design exactly what your application needs. At L-com we can customize mounting plates, cut outs and more to enable any mounting configuration. As mentioned previously, we also offer variations with heating, cooling, and venting. 

 

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