How to choose the best electrical enclosure to suit your need?
There are several factors to consider when choosing an electrical enclosure.
Step 1. Determine the IP Rating to suit the application
Step 2. Choose the material to suit the environment
Step 3. Select the size to suit internal components
Step 4. Add accessories including mounting brackets, ventilation and access options.
This selection guide provides information to help select electrical enclosures. Following this guide will help to optimise the life of enclosures and internal components.
IP Enclosures conform to IEC62208 – Empty enclosures for low-voltage switchgear and controlgear assemblies.
Scope and Application
This selection guide applies to empty enclosures for low voltage switchgear and controlgear assemblies in accordance with IEC62208 where the rated voltage does not exceed 1000 V a.c. at frequencies not exceeding 1000 Hz or 1500 V d.c. For design and verification information, refer to our comments regarding electrical enclosures and IEC61439 Low voltage switchgear and controlgear assemblies.
The most important decision when choosing an electrical enclosure is to select what IP rating is needed. Ingress Protection IP Ratings are defined in IEC/EN/AS60529 as a two digit code detailing the degree of protection against mechanical impact and protection against contact with live parts, ingress of solid foreign bodies and water. The degree of protection table can also be found in our electrical enclosure technical catalogue. If an outdoor or weatherproof electrical enclosure is required, it is important to select the correct enclosure with the required IP rating. Our single door electrical enclosures are IP66 while our double door electrical enclosures are IP55.
What material is best for electrical enclosures? Material is selected based on the application, environment and location. Factors impacting selection may include strength of materials, resistance to corrosion, thermal stability, resistance to UV, mechanical impact and lifting requirements. Enclosures should be constructed of materials capable of withstanding the mechanical, electrical, thermal and environmental stresses to be encountered in service conditions. This includes protection against corrosion by use of suitable materials or by protective coatings. IP Enclosures provide powder coated galvanised steel for general industrial applications and grade 316 stainless steel for extreme duty applications that require high corrosion resistance. If the application has high levels of exposure to chemical or chemical cleaning, check for compatibility using the chemical resistance table below. Care must be taken assessing tenders and quotes offering low quality imported enclosures manufactured using low quality non-conforming stainless steel. We recommend only accepting stainless steel from high quality European mills. If in doubt, request a material test certificate from the enclosure supplier to determine country of origin of raw materials.
How to size an electrical enclosure? The size of the enclosure is determined by the components and cables being housed. This includes minimum distances around components and cables. It is important to check the installation diagrams of the housed components to ensure minimum distances between and around components are maintained with regards to electrical clearances, airflow and maintenance accessibility. When sizing enclosures, the distances between a conductive barrier or enclosure and the live parts they protect should not be less than the values specified. Wall mounted steel electrical enclosures and stainless steel electrical enclosures range in size from 300H x 200W x 150D to 1200H x 1200W x 400D.
How do I mount an electrical enclosure? It is important to select the best location and orientation for your enclosure. Then select a suitable mounting method to suit the overall plant layout and design of the adjacent equipment. Options include wall mounting brackets, a stand, or pole-mounting brackets. This is to provide safe access while maintaining adequate operator walkway access. In addition, if you are mounting the enclosure from an adjacent structure, it is also important to ensure the structure is adequately designed to withstand the additional loads.
Inner Doors, Escutcheons
How do I attach an inner door escutcheon plate? Hinged, removable inner door escutcheons are a standard option and can be easily fitted into each enclosure for mounting components. If you require inner door escutcheons, be sure to check the depth of the enclosure to ensure minimum distances between and around components are maintained. Enclosures up to 400mm deep are available to ensure large electrical equipment and drives can be safely housed behind escutcheons.
Security and Locking
Locking mechanisms and hinges for doors should be of mechanical strength sufficient to withstand stresses in normal conditions and short circuit conditions. It is important to select what type of locks will be best for your enclosure. For example, a standard lock may be suitable for a small control panel inside a manufacturing facility but a special locking system may be required to restrict public access to a large outdoor weatherproof cabinet. In addition, various utilities, facilities and applications have specified lock types or key types to conform to a standard for their electrical cabinets. IP Enclosures provide standard locks with all electrical enclosures and can provide optional locking systems and swing handles to suit any requirement including electronic pushbutton and RFID locking systems. Common options are key lockable swing handles, padlockable swing handles, key lockable wing knobs and padlockable wing knobs. Keyed options are available in several barrel combinations. It is also important to consider the grade of material for locking systems and whether other more advanced interlocking systems are required.
Air Conditioners, Ventilation and Rain Hoods
The application, environment, location and installation may require heat deflection, venting, cooling or heating. Enclosed assemblies for outdoor and indoor installations in high humidity and temperatures varying with wide limits should be provided with suitable ventilation, heating and drain holes while protecting degree of protection. We can help you select options that you may need. Options include ventilation fans, filters, vents and sun shields. Rain hoods and vent hoods are also available. When designing the layout of the internal contents of the enclosure, allow for minimum distances around vents, filters and fans for airflow and maintenance. Electrical enclosures can be provided customised to include cut-outs with ventilation accessories fitted.
Can I install an electrical panel? Before starting any work, please consider electrical enclosure safety and check with your local authority for regulatory requirements. Contractors shall engage a Licensed Electrical Contractor to perform duties and functions of Electrical Works. The electrical equipment and associated wiring within electrical enclosures and electrical cabinets shall comply with the relevant requirements of IEC61439, AS/NZ 3000, AS/NZS 3100 and the Electrical Safety Act 2002 and associated Regulations and Codes of Practice.
This is a guide only. Refer to relevant standards, project requirements and technical specifications for specific requirements.