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The wrapping paper for technology

visualisation of a box build

Enclosures are ‘the wrapping paper for technology’ – but what kind of enclosure do you need for your bespoke box build?

It will depend on any number of criteria, such as whether your application is sited inside or outside, the sensitivity of the assembly, how robust it needs to be and the environmental conditions in which it is operating. Material, IP ratings and dimensions are the three main factors to consider when choosing your enclosure. 

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visualisation of a box build




Enclosures for IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) has created significant challenges and opportunities for enclosure makers. Where will the all-important sensors and actuators go? How will they be protected from water, heat and cold? How will one enclosure tick all the IoT boxes?

The ‘workhorse of infrastructure remains the enclosure’. But what considerations should you have before specifying the enclosure for your IoT project?

Safety & Security

Enclosures may be placed in more vulnerable positions to accommodate the sensors and networking required to make the IoT practical. Assess the physical and cyber security for your enclosures – what precautions have you in place? It is always advisable to upgrade firmware regularly on all connected mechanisms, change passwords frequently and choose secure lock systems.

Protection

As enclosures move beyond the factory floor, exposure to potentially harmful ambient conditions is a concern. You will need to choose appropriate NEMA and UL ratings for each environment, as well as assess ingress protection from such ambient contaminants as oil, dirt, salt air or product dust. You will also have to check that electromagnetic “noise” from motors, belts and fans are minimised. 

Layout of operational controls

Scalable Enclosure

Maximising the space inside your enclosure is of huge importance because the data-hungry IoT demands far more in terms of bundled electronics than traditional applications. Your first priority will be to determine if panel modification is necessary to allow for additional cable management, such as cabling trays, raceways, routing, clamping or busbars. Then assess whether you need to think about extra thermal management.  

Scalability

Can your enclosure form part of a modular system? If your application needs to be scaled up, being able to add enclosures seamlessly to your system on-site will help save time and money. Enclosures should be positioned side to side to accommodate custom configurations, and doors should be reversible.   

Future-proof design

Plan for tomorrow, not ‘just enough’ for today. Consider busbars instead of cabling to create more power in less space. Choose enclosures that are able to be modified easily. Assess designs to add modifications such as new knockouts, cable entry points, windows or HMI.

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