Nine Trending Topics in Enclosure Design

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Your Design, Our Assembly

It’s important to realize that MIS assembles control panels, complete with the physical enclosure and its contents after the design has been approved. In order to confirm the proper functionality of a finished project, customers discuss the design thoroughly with the manufacturers before production. Moreover, in these discussions, certain topics often appear repeatedly, creating trends to follow in enclosure layouts.

In this situation, trends keep customers and engineers informed about the most talked about action items while alerting manufacturers on the most significant concerns to prepare and provide solutions! After all, if we can identify the trends, we can constantly update our services and capabilities to stay ahead of customer demands.

 

Depend on the Trend

With attention to enclosures, many trends can make or break the operation of the control system as a whole. Each one brings its advantages and reminders when planning the system. As a matter of fact, here are nine trending topics in the layout and design of an enclosure to discuss with your manufacturer:

 

DensityDensity 

Being that customers continuously want the enclosure to get more compact while carrying the same amount of weight, density has become a staple in layout discussions. In this case, there are apparent advantages to creating a dense system; however, there are also notable pitfalls when limiting the volume of a space. 

 

    • Advantages: 
      • Increases the impact for the amount of space 
      • Widens range of installation possibilities (wall mount vs. free-standing)
      • Fits better into specific spaces
    • Reminders:
      • Must be aware of attempting to house too much power in a small space. 
      • Extra attention needs to be given to the following trending topics to maintain safety. 
      • Rework will be complex, and the customer must review maintenance considerations. 

 

ModularityModularity

On the other hand, another way to assist with de-cluttering is using distinct functional units in an overall electrical panel design. With trends such as this one, prefabricated units piece together the complete build.

    • Advantages:
      • Distribution of control functions to distinct areas of the panel build. 
      • Manageable sub-plate layout with a focus on separate modules at a time. 
      • Easy to distinguish problem areas and resolve issues within functional modules.
      • Future additions available
    • Reminders:
      • Restricted flexibility due to a specific layout of each function type being housed together with other components in the same module. 
      • Module sizes and shapes can be limiting. 
      • Modularity is not always cost-effective (paying for additional functionality)
      • May create additional interconnect wiring

 

DistributedDistributed

Similarly, shifting the power from a central source to more minor, dispersed sources is familiar for installation in modern building designs or complex machine layouts. For instance, if there is not enough floor space, separating the panel from one large floor mount to an HMI paired with compact wall mounts would accommodate the space. 

 

    • Advantages: 
      • Aids in flexibility with building layout 
      • Allows for human control from different points in the room
    • Reminders: 
      • The distance of the electrical box or control system to the panel is a factor in deciding the price of a build. The further away, the more effort must go into organizing the room for functionality and practicality. 

 

TerminationsTerminations

Critical considerations for terminations include installing ferrules, rings, or fork Sta-Kons, wire stripping and prepping (solder thinning), and calibrating tooling for installation. Certainly, the proper termination solves many issues before they occur

    • Advantages: 
      • Eliminates loose connections
      • Better conductivity
      • Strengthens terminations for longer-lasting, maintenance-free wires
    • Reminders: 
      • Wires lacking terminations are more susceptible to a failure point and breakage.

 

Breakout BoardsBreakout Boards

Given that some customers prioritize the amount of time for a project compared to the complete originality, breakout boards may be the perfect time-saving solution! These technology assets for high-tech connections take away trial and error runs in the design process. 

 

    • Advantages: 
      • Cost-effective: come with terminal and pre-made connections
      • Take up less room in the panel
      • Easy to use and install
    • Reminders: 
      • Minor customization available for pre-made components

 

Heat ControlHeat Control

In certain cases, enclosures require heating if installed outside or in cooler conditions. For these projects, deliberate design to maintain control of the temperature inside a panel build is essential. For instance, heat rises, so placing delicate components over the heat sources would increase the chances of damage.

    • Advantages: 
      • Addresses both the heat sources in a design and purposely adjusts the layout to accommodate for possible heat damage
      • Aids in avoiding fires, explosions, or harm to human operators
    • Reminders: 
      • Less flexible design due to shifting heat sources.
      • Designs with multiple heat sources may need additional heat-controlling elements, such as A/C and Explosion Proof material. 

 

A/C Air Conditioning (A/C) 

From time to time, your enclosure may be too hot to handle. For this reason, cooling air to aid in heat control within the electrical panel is also a popular topic of choice. For example, a build with multiple high-risk heat sources may require a fan and A/C unit to challenge the damage by heat. Experienced manufacturers should advise on component placement and high-risk areas. 

 

    • Advantages:
      • Adjustable settings give the human operator more control over temperature
      • Deliberate placement dramatically lessens the possibility of heat damage
      • Maintains humidity levels 
    • Reminders: 
      • Moisture is also destructive to delicate components, so A/C placement is crucial to the build. 

 

NEMA-Rating NEMA Rating

 

Overall, understanding the appropriate rating for the enclosure allows builds to be assembled for their specific environments. NEMA Enclosure Ratings consider environmental conditions considerations (Explosion Proof, etc.) and materials used, such as the effects of metal v. carbon/fiber.

    • Advantages:
      • Knowing that the enclosure is designed with specific weather and surroundings in mind
      • Security of inner components
      • Tested and approved material and layout
    • Reminders:
      • Customers must also consider the inner layout of the enclosure for potential internal problems.

 

Material ChoiceMaterial Choice

On the whole, trends in material choice include Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel, Carbon, Plastic, Composite, Explosion Proof. Each one brings its qualities to the control systems and electrical wiring. For some, this aspect is the most important, as it has a lot of say in end-life and component protection

 

    • Advantages:
      • Not only customizable options for specific environment needs, but internal processes as well
      • Assistance with heat control 
    • Reminders:
      • Different materials cost more than others
      • Levels of flexibility differ from material to material

 

After the Design, We Take Control

MIS takes the reins for assembly work once customers finalize their designs. Throughout the design process, consult our team with these trending topics to get the assembly perspective and understand that we will advise you with honest feedback. The number one word for us at MIS Controls is #transparency. This policy means that any recommendation we give you is golden; even if our services cannot fully cover your project, we will refer you to someone who can. With this in mind, it is no disadvantage to you to reach out to our team and discuss some new trends!

 

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