An electrical enclosure is used in many different applications where housing and protecting electrical equipment is required. It provides a safe, weather-resistant space for electrical components, while also protecting against unauthorized access. Here, we take a deeper look at electrical enclosures and their applications.
What is an Electrical Enclosure?
Electrical enclosures are integral parts of power distribution and control systems. To help you understand them better, we will start by defining them. After the electrical enclosure definition, we will see why the housings are important –or what purposes they serve.
Electrical Enclosure Meaning
An electrical enclosure is simply a housing that encloses electrical equipment. There are many different types of electrical equipment enclosures, ranging from small handheld enclosures to wall-mounted boxes and large, floor-standing enclosures.
Enclosures can be made from various materials, including metal, plastic, and fiberglass. You can also purchase them ready-made, or you can have them custom-designed and built to specific requirements.
Custom electrical enclosures ensure that you have a cabinet to perfectly suit the equipment you need to protect. This is often a better option than trying to find an off-the-shelf product that is the right size and with all the correct features for your needs.
Why Use an Electrical Enclosure?
Now that you understand what electrical enclosure boxes are, it’s time to see why they are so important. There are several reasons why an enclosure for electrical equipment may be required:
- Firstly, an electrical component enclosure provides protection for the electrical components from the environment. This helps to prolong the life of the equipment and minimize the risk of electrical hazards.
- An electrical enclosure box provides a means of mounting the electrical components. This is crucial in situations where space is limited, or where the components need to be arranged in a particular way.
- An enclosure can help to improve the aesthetics of an installation. This can be important in public areas or in situations where the appearance of the installation is important.
- Electrical enclosure boxes provide security for the electrical components, protecting them from tampering.
- Electrical enclosure cabinets also help to protect against unauthorized access. This is vital in environments where there is a risk of tampering or theft.
- In addition, enclosures can also help to reduce noise pollution and electromagnetic interference (EMI).
Electrical Enclosure Construction
An electrical equipment enclosure is usually a box or cabinet to enclose electrical components. It also provides a means of mounting the equipment, and normally comes installed with a door and handle, among other features. Generally, the electrical enclosure construction is normally based on the following.
Electrical Enclosure Size
There are different electrical enclosure sizes. It depends on the specific requirements of the application. It can be a small or large electrical enclosure, or it can feature specific add-ons such as air vents or cable glands.
Small electrical enclosures are typically mounted
Electrical Enclosure Material
Most enclosures are made from sheet metal, such as carbon steel, stainless steel, or aluminum. However, other materials can also be used, including plastic and fiberglass. The choice of electrical enclosure material will usually be dictated by the environment in which the enclosure will be used.
Electrical Enclosure Accessories
The electrical enclosure construction also includes an array of accessories. Common electrical enclosure accessories include cable glands, DIN rails, and mounting plates. These accessories help to create a complete housing solution for the electrical equipment.
Electrical Enclosure Types
Different electrical enclosure types are classified based on their function, material, mounting option, and features. Here is a list of the most common enclosures, their features and best use.
These are the most basic types of enclosures. They are typically used for small, low-power applications. The wall-mount enclosure are easy to install and can be mounted directly onto a wall or onto a piece of equipment.
Floor Mount Enclosure
These enclosure types are larger than wall-mounted boxes and are typically used for more complex applications. The floor mount enclosure is usually used indoors and fitted with a variety of accessories, such as shelves, drawers, and doors.
Pole Mount Enclosure
Pole-mounted electrical enclosures are used when it’s not possible to mount the enclosure onto a wall or floor. They are commonly used outdoors, in public places. Pole-mounted enclosures are available in a variety of sizes and can be fitted with a range of accessories.
Surface Mount Enclosure
These enclosure types are typically mounted to the face of a wall or other surface. A surface-mount enclosure is used when it’s not possible or desirable to mount the enclosure flush with a wall. These enclosures are often used in industrial applications.
Flush Mount Enclosure
Flush-mount electrical enclosures are installed the wall structure so that they are they are flush with the surface. These types of enclosures are used when it’s important to have a smooth, streamlined appearance, such as in residential and commercial applications.
Free Standing Enclosure
Free-standing electrical enclosures are built to stand on their own and to offer mobility. They are, therefore, usually fitted with wheels, casters, or leveling feet. These types of enclosures are mostly used to house large equipment. They are also preferred when enclosure relocation is a possibility, especially in industrial applications.
Metal Electrical enclosure
Metal enclosures are strong and durable, making them ideal for use in harsh environments. Metal enclosures can be made from a variety of materials, including stainless steel, carbon steel, and aluminum.
Plastic enclosures are lighter than metal enclosures, making them easier to install. Plastic electrical enclosures are also available in a variety of colors, and can be made from materials such as polycarbonate and ABS.
Fiberglass makes low-cost yet strong and durable enclosures. These are ideal for use in harsh environments. Fiberglass electrical enclosures can be made from a variety of materials, including fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) and glass-reinforced plastic (GRP).
Enclosures can be purchased ready-made from many different manufacturers. Alternatively, they can be custom designed and built to specific requirements. When choosing a custom electrical enclosure, it’s important to consider the following factors:
- The environment in which the enclosure will be used
- The type of equipment that will be housed in the enclosure
- The size and weight of the equipment
- The required level of protection
- Any special features that may be required, such as ventilation or cooling
The purpose of electrical enclosures is to protect the electrical components against water, dust, oil, and other contaminants that could damage sensitive electrical equipment. In outdoor applications, these housings provide protection against severe weather conditions, such as high winds and hail
Common applications for electrical enclosure cabinets or boxes include housing circuit breakers, switches, and other electrical components in both indoor and outdoor environments.
You will usually find enclosures in a variety of industries, such as telecommunications, oil and gas, transportation, and power generation. They are also used in residential and commercial applications such as homes, office buildings, and retail stores.
In industrial applications, these products are commonly used in factory floors, process control rooms, and machine shops. Enclosures are also used in corrosive environments, such as chemical plants and food processing facilities.
Enclosures are essential parts of electrical systems. They provide a safe and secure environment for electrical components and protect them from the elements. Whether it’s an indoor or outdoor electrical enclosure, choosing the right enclosure for your application is critical to the safe and efficient operation of your system.