Stainless steel electrical enclosures at any temperature15 November 2023
How to protect electrical enclosures from heat
There are various ways to protect electrical enclosures in the case of installations in areas with very high temperatures.
AIR CONDITIONERS FOR ELECTRICAL ENCLOSURES
Air conditioners for electrical enclosures are devices designed to ensure an optimal temperature and humidity environment within the enclosure and are essential to prevent damage to sensitive electrical components that may occur due to high temperatures or excessive humidity.
They help ensure the reliability and durability of electrical systems by protecting internal components from adverse environmental conditions.
IRINOX offers two series of vertical and horizontal installation air conditioners, both with a standard AISI 304 stainless steel outer cover (AISI 316 on request).
Wall- and door-mounted air conditioner KCVE
KCVE is an innovative air conditioner designed specifically for electrical enclosures, which can be installed either on doors or on the wall.
It is equipped with the Smart Energy System to allow the fan or evaporator to be switched off in the event of low internal temperature and to carry out a periodic temperature check.
Top-mounted air conditioner KETE
KETE is an air-conditioning device designed for installation on the roof of electrical enclosures.
It is equipped with an alarm contact, which is activated when the condensate pan is full and therefore needs to be emptied to prevent damage to electrical and electronic components.
VENTILATION FOR ELECTRICAL ENCLOSURES
In cases where the outside temperature is lower than the temperature inside the electrical enclosure, it is sufficient to work in the design phase to promote proper ventilation, allowing cooler air to enter and cool the components that have overheated. It is important to provide ventilation grilles in these cases, as well as flanges and hoods to ensure quick access only to ventilation for operators who will have to carry out maintenance.
Filter group KFF
Filter groups are cooling solutions that channel cooler, filtered outside air into the electrical enclosure, expelling heated air through ventilation grilles.
They provide a practical solution to aid heat dissipation in the electrical enclosure and protect electronic components from overheating.
Top-mounted fan units KTP
They are devices that generate forced ventilation and are used for direct heat extraction from the upper area of the electrical enclosure (roof), especially in confined spaces. The KTP series has a plastic construction with an aluminium roof.
Top-mounted fan units are normally coupled with a filter to achieve natural or forced convection cooling of the air and minimise dust ingress.
Thermoelectric unit KTCU
The KTCU thermoelectric unit is a device that can cool the enclosure using only electrical energy, ready to be integrated into a machine.
It exploits the Peltier effect, whereby heat is transferred by passing electric current through thermoelectric modules, which on the one hand absorb the heat, lowering the temperature (cold side), and on the other hand expel it to the surrounding environment (hot side).
They are very reliable, have a long service life and do not require significant maintenance. Usually used when the outside temperature exceeds 35°C and the air outside the cabinet is dusty or particularly oily.
The Sensis device is an advanced thermal management solution for electrical enclosures. This tool is designed to autonomously respond to a wide range of needs related to climate control within electrical enclosures, predictive maintenance and interconnectivity.
Sensis is able to regulate the temperature and humidity inside the electrical enclosure to keep them within safe limits, which is essential to prevent overheating of electrical components.
It also keeps track of safety thresholds being exceeded and electrical enclosure door openings. This recording of critical events is essential for system monitoring and maintenance, even remotely.
SPECIAL ROOFS AND SOLAR PANELLING
In the case of outdoor installations where both electrical enclosures and the operators standing next to the cabinet or enclosure to carry out maintenance work are often exposed to critical weather conditions.
It may happen, for example, that a cabinet is exposed during the summer to direct and constant sunlight, as on railway tracks, which would cause the contents to overheat, potentially leading to damage.
Or the opposite situation of very cold temperatures may occur, as in the case of northern European shipping ports during the winter season.
In these cases, roofs that protect the cabinet from sun, rain and severe weather conditions can be of considerable help. In the IRINOX range we provide two models of stainless steel roofs to be fixed to the cabinet:
- Rain roof: sloping with overhang on all sides.
- Dust roof: 30° sloping version (customisable inclination).
There are also many special versions of roofs or sunshade panelling made to special customer design requirements, carefully considering the context of electrical enclosure installation and the customer's handling needs (such as handling cabinets without removing the roofs, keeping the contents safe at all stages).
How to protect electrical enclosures from cold
Even in colder temperatures, care must be taken when choosing the enclosure. Choosing an enclosure with a high protection rating might think you are making the best choice, but this is not necessarily the case.
The use of enclosures with a high protection rating, such as IP55 or higher, can in fact lead to condensation, especially when such enclosures are installed outdoors. This is due to the limited heat exchange caused by the enclosure's hermetic seal, which retains moisture inside the enclosure.
In these situations, it is advisable to install ventilation grilles equipped with dust filters, or to consider installing anti-condensation heaters. These measures will help keep the temperature inside the electrical enclosure above the dew point.
Anti-condensation heaters are an essential solution to prevent the formation of condensation inside the electrical enclosure due to low temperatures or humidity. These devices are designed to maintain an adequate temperature inside the enclosure, thus avoiding the risk of damaging electrical components.
They are available in a power range from 30 to 400 watts, either in a natural convection version, which uses the heat generated by the heating element to distribute it inside the enclosure, or in a forced convection version, with forced ventilation for more efficient heat distribution.
A complete line of mechanical and electrical thermostats for precise temperature control and alarm management, keeping the electrical environment safe and under control. Ideal for integration with IP54 and IP55 ventilation systems and anti-condensation heaters.
Areas with the most extreme weather conditions
IRINOX co-operates with various companies in the road, rail and also naval transport sectors, where great efficiency is required, especially in logistics-related aspects, for the handling of even very heavy and bulky loads.
In order to efficiently serve the vast geographical area in which IRINOX enclosures are installed, which must withstand large temperature fluctuations, as the applications are often installed in open environments, subject to all kinds of weather, solutions for internal climate management are often integrated, both in hot and cold temperatures.
In addition to temperatures, another factor that makes conditions in the marine environment harsh is saltiness, which contributes to corrosion of all materials. In these cases, AISI 316L stainless steel is always preferred, as it contains a lower percentage of carbon and is therefore less susceptible to corrosion.
Some examples of projects we have carried out in this area:
The criticality of projects for the oil and gas sector is certainly in the high explosion risk of the structures in the case of very high temperatures, given the presence of highly flammable materials.
In contexts such as these, it is always recommended to install Atex-certified electrical enclosures, able to withstand even in contexts with potential explosion risks.
To ensure a better seal for electrical enclosures even in these harsh environments, where there is a high exposure to hydrocarbons, where materials such as silicone could deteriorate exposing the contents to contamination risks, it is preferable to opt for polyurethane seals.
IRINOX, for example, supplies as standard for all APN push button boxes and ADN terminal boxes to be installed in oil environments, an o-ring kit made of NBR, a hydrocarbon-resistant material.
Some examples of projects we have carried out in this area: Anti-seismic modular cabinet