Will an Enclosure Cooling Fan Protect Your Electrical Equipment?


Industrial electrical equipment is vital to the operation and success of many businesses, yet the wiring and components contained in an electrical enclosure may be subject to degradation from excess heat, as well as from dirt and dust, splashing liquids, wet weather, and corrosive chemicals.

It’s important to select the correct enclosure cooling system, one that will keep cooling costs low and minimize maintenance requirements, yet provide sufficient protection.

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3 Types of Enclosure Cooling Methods for HMI Equipment

HMIs (human machine interfaces) are used to provide information and control inputs to plant and machinery. HMIs usually incorporate a visual display on a touch screen, letting users enter information and activate plant and machinery through soft buttons configured on the screen.

Generally, HMIs interface with a PLC or SCADA system, although some HMIs are able to control and operate the plant directly. Depending on the design, the HMI is programmed using the manufacturer's proprietary language or some form of software such as Windows CE.

HMIs are generally robust and able to tolerate difficult environments. However, for reliable long-term operation they are best installed in temperature-controlled enclosures so that there's little chance of the equipment malfunctioning.

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The Consequences of Neglecting Electrical Enclosure Temperature Control

Electrical equipment manufacturers generally recommend enclosure temperatures be kept below 95ºF (35ºC). Active cooling maintains the electrical components at constant operating temperature, providing a longer and more reliable life span. A crucial first step in determining whether a temperature controlled electrical enclosure is necessary for your industrial application is calculating the heat load

Besides thermal, other environmental requirements such as moisture and dust must also be considered.

The cost of installing a reliable enclosure cooling system can be far less than the cost of future equipment failure. For this reason it’s best to plan electrical enclosure temperature control during the initial design phase and prior to installation.

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3 Ways to Better Plan Enclosure Cooling

Although designers are well aware of the need to consider electrical enclosure cooling, precedence is given to ensuring the electrical enclosure complies with the technical specifications. In many cases, it's only once this has been completed that enclosure cooling requirements are considered.

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How the Right Enclosure Air Conditioner Protects Your Equipment

The use of enclosure air conditioners to protect equipment inside electrical enclosures has become commonplace. However, there are several requirements that users should be aware of when selecting an air conditioner. Among these are the need to specify the correct capacity unit and to ensure that its construction is compatible with that of the electrical enclosure so as not to affect the physical and electrical integrity of the enclosure. The unit should also have a NEMA rating and be approved by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL).

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When to Use an Air Conditioner for Electrical Component Cooling


Reliable operation of electrical equipment in an enclosure is dependent on its operating temperature. This in turn depends on the heat load of the electrical equipment and method of cooling adopted. In many instances, natural or fan-assisted ventilation is used. This is only viable if three conditions simultaneously exist. These are:

  • Low heat load

  • A moderate ambient temperature

  • Clean environment

If any of these requirements can't be met, enclosure cooling that relies on using ambient air won't work and enclosure air conditioning is required.

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8 Fallacies about Industrial Cooling Equipment You Should Forget


Some maintenance staff are skeptical about industrial cooling equipment and regard it as a waste of time. They reason that modern electrical equipment is robust, well designed, and doesn't need cooling. As an example, they may point to the use of high temperature electronics found in motor vehicles and assume that industrial electronics are equally robust.

This is not necessarily the case. The truth is that industrial electronics are not designed to the same standards.

This is just one of a number of fallacies about industrial cooling equipment that inhibit rational decision making. Here are eight more fallacies to guard against:

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How to Select an Enclosure Air Conditioner with the Right Cooling Capacity

The selection of the right size enclosure air conditioner should be based on a careful assessment of the total heat load, ambient temperature variation, and the required enclosure temperature. If the air conditioner is larger than required, energy usage will increase and the unit will cycle excessively. Conversely, an air conditioner that's too small will run continuously and not control the temperature properly. A number of factors need to be considered when choosing an air conditioner. Here is how to select an enclosure air conditioner with the right cooling capacity:

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6 Things You Should Know Before Choosing Industrial Cooling Equipment 

The process of choosing electrical enclosure cooling equipment is not straightforward. It requires an understanding of heat loads in the enclosure and the optimum working temperature of electrical equipment to size your air conditioner. Another level of complexity is added if you are choosing cooling solutions for industrial applications. Industrial cooling equipment requirements are very demanding. Failure to meet standards could mean damage to your electrical equipment and halted productivity for your business. Here are six things you should know before choosing industrial cooling equipment:

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How to Minimize Thermal Drift in Outdoor Electrical Enclosures

Temperature control of outdoor electrical enclosures is a tricky affair. The calculation of heat load in these enclosures has to factor in solar heat gain and heat due to ambient temperatures apart from the heat load from the electrical equipment inside. Due to fluctuations in ambient temperature and the day-night cycling of solar heat, outdoor electrical enclosures are subject to thermal drift, the temperature change caused by internal heat loads in equipment and changes in the external ambient temperature. Some electrical equipment such as relays and switches have thermal drift compensating circuits in their components. For instance, BJTs and Op-Amps have internal circuits that compensate for thermal drift due to internal heating and offer precise equipment operation even at increased temperatures.  

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