Finding the Right Enclosure Part 2

For this post, we are continuing the important task of finding the right enclosure for your application. To review part one, visit the post here.

Control Enclosures are mainly metal boxes made of steel, stainless steel, or aluminum that are installed to consolidate the components and electrical equipment used to control industrial machinery and production lines. The box is essentially protected from the surrounding environment.

Overview of Control Enclosures

Control Enclosures operate power loads by means of monitoring and control devices. Because it houses these components and electrical equipment, it is exposed to dust, dirt, humidity, heat, and other harmful factors.

Inside are circuit breakers, electromagnetic switches, indicator lights, electric meters, servo amplifiers, inverters, and other components related to the control of machinery and equipment. In addition, coolers and fans are installed to protect the parts and electrical equipment stored inside the control panel from heat and to maintain an appropriate temperature.

HMI, indicator lights, meters, switches, etc. are installed on the front panel for operation and checking the operating status.

Size Selection

When selecting the size of the control enclosures, it is necessary to confirm the circuit breakers, electromagnetic switches, PLCs, relays, etc. that you want to store in the cabinets. In addition to making sure that all devices can fit in the cabinets, the size of the cabinets should be selected so that there is about 10% spare space. The reason for this is that modifications to the cabinets may not be possible if there is no room for additional equipment. The size should be selected with future additions and modifications in mind.

Particular attention should be paid to depth and the space to be reserved for installation. Even if the height and width are clear, some equipment may be too deep or cables and connectors may exceed the size range, preventing the door from closing.

Some devices may generate heat or noise, and there are space requirements to ensure that they do not affect the surrounding equipment. If you think you can just fit it in a cabinet, understand that it may interfere with the door or affect the surrounding equipment.

Materials and Features

In general, three metal materials are commonly used for control panels: Iron, stainless steel, and aluminum.

Iron is the most common material used for control enclosures because it is easy to process and strong. It is not very resistant to rust, but surface treatments such as plating are sometimes used to prevent rust.

Stainless steel features higher corrosion resistance than common steel and is also stronger when made into steel plates. It is also resistant to scratches and stains, and is suitable for hygienic applications.

Aluminum is lighter than other metallic cabinets. It is also highly corrosion resistant and can be used in a wide range of indoor and outdoor applications. When small enclosures are used, they are often made of aluminum for lightness.

Hole Machining

Control enclosures often require many holes on the door face for installing HMI, indicator lights, meters, switches, etc., and holes on the sides for pulling out cables. If you have a custom enclosure with holes machined, please send your drawing to the MISUMI Electrical Team at electrical@misumiusa.com. The team would be happy to provide you with a quote.

About the Author

Akira Kajihara

Akira Kajihara comes from MISUMI Japan as a Product Development Analyst. He is very familiar with Japanese electrical control parts and has been involved in the development of many major electrical product launches over his 6 years with the company. He is currently managing MISUMI's large cable assembly offering.

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