5 Precautions to Take when Enclosure Cooling System Is Subject to Vibration


Precautions-enclosure-cooling-systemElectrical enclosure air conditioners installed in locations subject to vibration may fail unless special precautions are taken to prevent failure. These locations may include steel structures supporting heavy equipment, marine environments, and off-road equipment. Fortunately, it’s possible to mitigate the effects of vibration on enclosure air conditioners. Here are five steps that we, at Thermal Edge, take to proof our enclosure air conditioners subject to vibration.

Effects of Vibration

Unless special precautions are taken, all air conditioning equipment is susceptible to damage from vibration. The refrigeration compressor is relatively heavy and mounted on rubber bushings, so significant movement of the compressor is possible. Copper tubing used in the refrigeration circuit may form cracks and fracture with excessive flexing over the life of the air conditioner. Wiring that is not properly secured may chafe and any component not securely fastened may vibrate loose.

Vibration Mitigation

Fortunately, it’s relatively simple to design enclosure cooling systems to withstand the effects of the high and low frequency vibration levels that may be found on industrial and mobile equipment. Thermal Edge enclosure air conditioners provide adequate vibration protection in most conditions and includes:

  • Fixed rubber bushings to reduce stress in the copper joints: Fixed rubber bushings are installed on all refrigerant tubes, especially those connected to rigidly mounted components such as the evaporator and condenser. These bushings allow the tubing to move along with the compressor to reduce stress on the joints.. Special bushings are used for the compressor mounts to restrict excessive, uncontrolled vibration.
  • Shock absorbing loops in tubing: Specially designed tubing that incorporates shock absorbing loops to absorb flexing caused by movement of the compressor and reduce the possibility of failure due to fatigue is incorporated where needed.
  • Use of high quality silver solder: Normal brazing methods use a brazing material containing copper, phosphorous, and only limited amounts of silver. This type of joint, although initially flexible after brazing, is more likely to become brittle and crack after constant exposure to thermal expansion because of the lower fatigue limit of copper. Thermal Edge uses a more expensive brazing alloy that contains a high percentage of silver to produce a joint that is less susceptible to fatigue failure.
  • Wiring secured: All wiring is fastened into a harness and securely tied to prevent uncontrolled movement and avoid chafing that would result from wires rubbing against other components.

Severe Vibration Applications

Enclosure air conditioners fitted to equipment that is subject to particularly severe vibration require additional vibration protection. Typically, these situations could include off-road vehicles, industrial equipment mounted on structures exposed to high levels of vibration, and high-speed marine equipment. The additional measures are:

  • Use of stainless steel sheathed flexible hoses: Although it’s possible to reduce compressor vibration, the mounting bushings must allow some movement to protect the compressor. Under severe vibration, the special shock absorbing pipes connecting the compressor to the rest of the equipment may eventually fatigue and crack. They are replaced with flexible stainless steel sheathed hoses that effectively isolate compressor vibration from the refrigeration system tubing.

Get Expert Help

The selection of air conditioners to be installed on electrical enclosures situated in locations that experience heavy vibration requires special care. Other factors that may need to be taken into account are the effects of dirt and dust that’s likely to be present in these environments.

If you need to install your enclosure air conditioner in an environment that is subject to vibration, give our technical experts a call so they can advise you on the most appropriate enclosure air conditioner solution.