Things to Consider When Selecting an Electrical Enclosure

Are you trying to select a replacement enclosure or decide which enclosure you should use in a new control application? This post discusses a few considerations you should keep in mind during your search.

Material selection

Selecting the correct material for the enclosure environment is extremely important to maximizing the lifespan of your enclosure. Aluminum, fiberglass, stainless steel and painted carbon steel are all corrosion resistant materials. While it is important to select enclosures that withstand corrosion, it is also important to select enclosure accessories (windows, door latches, gaskets, etc.) that are also able to resist corrosion.  Stainless steel and fiberglass materials work best for applications that are exposed to acids and alkalines, while stainless steel, fiberglass, aluminum and powder coated steel work best in applications that are exposed to solvents. Overall, stainless steel is able to provide protection from the vast majority of corrosive materials.

It is also important to select an enclosure made of materials that will be able to withstand abuse. Steel material will provide the highest degree of strength and will hold up in a wide temperature range.

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Stainless steel – T304 vs. T316

As mentioned previously, stainless steel is one of the strongest corrosion resistant materials available. Two of the most common grades of stainless steel are 304 and 316. Type 316 has better overall corrosion resistant properties than 304, but is less resistant to chlorine and salts. Type 304 has similar resistance attributes that fiberglass materials are known for and is generally used when alkalis or caustic elements are present.  Both materials can be used indoors and outdoors.

Cost of Material

While purchasing a low-cost enclosure might seem like the best solution, it is important to remember that durable and corrosive resistant enclosures will last longer and will be cheaper in the long run.  Stainless steel is the most expensive material but it is corrosion resistant and is strong enough to withstand abuse. Aluminum and fiberglass are low cost materials but do not provide the same level of protection as stainless steel.

Our Offerings

Rittal, a premier enclosure manufacturer, has a wide variety of enclosures to meet your needs. Visit our website to see our full Rittal enclosure product line. We also offer non-metallic enclosures from Stahlin.