In almost all cases, unusual and premature deterioration of an enclosure installed outdoors is closely linked to an underestimation of the enclosure required.
- Collect as much data as possible concerning the installation environment
Everything starts with a precise diagnosis (as accurate as possible)
of the environment.
The data collected will allow you to assess the levels of protection required: against the ingress of solid bodies or liquids, external mechanical impacts, sunlight and its UV rays, human interactions (identify threats due to an installation in public areas versus private spaces), humidity level, wind, etc.
- Consider outdoor equipment requirements
E.g. how will the enclosure be installed (on a wall, on the floor)? How will it be protected against its environment (need for canopy, a padlock, etc.)? How will the cables enter the enclosure (preferably from below)?
- Make a detailed inventory of the devices inside the enclosure
What happens inside the enclosure is as important as what happens outside. The characteristics of the enclosure, and particularly its size, are also dictated by the type of devices it contains: their dimensions, their level of thermal dissipation, their level of resistance, etc..
- Determine the correct enclosure size
Depending on the type of devices that will be installed inside and their location in the enclosure, constraints of size and weight, etc.
- Allow for the specific equipment required (universal mounting plate, 19’’ rack, etc.)
E.g. Where will the enclosure be installed: in a refinery, a water treatment plant, etc.?
Does the installation require mounting plates, a modular frame, or a 19″ rack? Does the enclosure need to be raised and mounted on a base (to reduce water spray, rising damp and damage in the event of a flood)?
- Pay attention to the weight
Allow for the weight of the devices and the weight of the enclosure, as it will ultimately be configured, and plan for transport and lifting systems beforehand..
- Get the “thermal management” reflex
It is an accepted fact that efficient thermal management maximizes the performance and service life of electrical and electronic components.
- Choose the appropriate enclosure material
The material you choose for the enclosure should ideally have four intrinsic qualities:
• Minimizes the effects on equipment of identified external impacts.
• Thermal properties (e.g. it must not absorb heat).
• Human protection against electrical hazards and fire risks.
• Sufficient adaptability to allow easy enclosure modification, without detracting from its level of protection.
- Do not neglect cable entries
Cable entries can be a major source of humidity and corrosion.
- Think about accessing the installation
• For routine use: door switch, door stop, document pocket, etc.
• For maintenance operations: accessibility to all components must be easy for the operator without any risk. Doors must be able to be opened and held in the correct position even with strong winds (e.g. near motorways). Choosing the correct place to install the enclosure is important for future maintenance tasks.
- Think about protecting the installation
No unauthorized persons should be allowed to access the devices. To ensure maximum safety of people and the electrical installation, all solutions should be considered. If necessary, add anti-burglary and tamper-proofing accessories.
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