15
Oct
2021

How to Choose the Right Materials for Cabinets and Enclosures.

electric system
Source: Unsplash

Choosing an effective enclosure and cabinet system for your electric system is crucial to ensure maximum protection of your electrical components and devices. There are several aspects that can deteriorate the health of your electrical components and cause them to fail prematurely if they are not adequately protected. 

One such aspect is the temperature, where high amounts of heat can melt down your electrical circuits and transistors with ease. If you want to protect your electrical system from high amounts of temperature, then you can consider temperature controlled enclosures, which are highly effective at doing so. 

However, protection from these aspects is yet defined by another factor entirely – material. The material of your cabinets and enclosures entails how effective the system will be for protection. Let us find out the perfect material for the cabinets and enclosures and see what factors determine the choice of selecting the optimal option. 

What factors affect material choice? 

There are several factors that can drastically affect the choice of material you pick for your designated electrical cabinet and enclosure in one way or the other. These factors are – 

Internal Temperature 

How much your cabinet absorbs external heat dictates how much temperature can be passed through your cabinet into the internal components of your machine. An enclosure with no temperature resistance will allow all heat to travel through its material and risk melting, or at least damaging, the components inside.  

You need to ensure that the material you are using for your cabinet or enclosure has a sufficient amount of temperature and heat resistance that can help it repel external heat conditions. If this is not done, the next choice will be installing a cooling system near the electrical system, which will only increase costs. 

Alternatively, your enclosures can also be exposed to cold conditions that can freeze the enclosure and cabinet freezing solid. A heating system can be installed in such situations, but your cabinet material should be able to accommodate the generated heat and system installation. 

Air and water 

metal tower
Source: Unsplash

A combination of fresh rain and a windy day can introduce rust in your electrical system cabinet, as most of them stay outside and regularly face harsh weather conditions. Once rust sets on your cabinet, it can slowly spread out to cover the entire enclosure and then proceed to corrode the internal electrical system. 

A strong gust of air can also bring various harmful waste items such as dust particles, debris, and various other dirt matter. If your cabinet has broken seals, this can easily enter your electrical compartment and settle inside – potentially ruining your entire electrical system. 

According to logospack.com, having an optimal container that fulfills all its needs is necessary for the system’s continued protection. Stainless steel and corrosion-resistant material are considered to be the best choice for a cabinet if it is going to stay outside in external conditions. 

Vandalism 

It is not uncommon to see vandalists break into electrical system cabinets and enclosures and break the precious components inside them. Vandalism is a serious threat, and your electrical cabinet needs to be equipped with adequate resources to have optimal protection against it. 

This can be done by integrating special materials that specially protect your system from getting vandalized. The materials you choose need to be compatible for installing security sensors and monitoring devices to keep thefts at a minimum. 

What are the different types of materials used for cabinets and enclosures? 

Most of the materials used for protecting cabinets and enclosures in electrical systems classify majorly into plastic and metal. There are different specific types in plastic and metal itself, and they both have their own type of advantages, as well as disadvantages, for using them. Let’s look at some of the commonly used different types of plastic and metal cabinet materials –  

Plastic

Fiberglass 

Fiberglass is considered to be the number one option in contrast to metallic materials. It is incredibly durable and is capable of various components inside an electrical system, such as reliable PCB headers from Ismolex.com. They are fairly transparent and quite sturdy. However, they disintegrate under direct sunlight if they aren’t treated with a UV treatment. 

Polycarbonate 

The process of creating polycarbonate is extremely easy. Combine that with the fact that it has a high amount of temperature and impact resistance, and you get a pretty solid choice for your cabinet and enclosure material. The problem is, it is prone to lose its integrity if it comes in contact with acidic or basic substances. This can be easily countered with a silicone coating. 

Metal 

Steel 

While standard steel isn’t really effective for protecting your electrical systems, its corrosion-resistant alternative is a highly viable choice for use in cabinets and enclosures. Stainless steel with EMI shielding is one of the most corrosion-resistant materials on this planet and is also one of the most effective materials out there. If you want to build your cabinet with metal, stainless steel is a highly viable choice. 

Aluminum

Aluminum is one of the most popular choices for front panel enclosures. Anodized aluminum, especially, is considered to be one of the most effective cabinet materials out there. However, the raw and un-ionized form of aluminum is what attracts most companies because of its easy styling options. It also allows effortless heat transfer but blocks all kinds of electricity transfer, such as those from lightning. 

Benefits of each type

Aluminum
Source: Unsplash

Benefits of metal – 

  • It is resistant to high temperatures and fire. 
  • It has more durability and impact protection than plastic. 
  • Helps you prevent electromagnetic signals from entering the cabinet.

Benefits of plastic – 

  • It is much more affordable than metal. 
  • Much lighter. 
  • Bad conductors of electricity. 
  • It can be mounted in a much more seamless and easier order. 
  • It looks better, and the aesthetics can be easily maintained. 
  • If you need additional systems in the cabinet, you can install them with relative ease. 

Conclusion

There are several ways through which you can choose the perfect material for your cabinet and enclosures. We hope this article was insightful for you regarding that, and if it was, please consider following our website for regular updates as it will help us out immensely.

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