Are You Using Adequate Enclosure Cooling Methods?

Are_You_Using_Adequate_Enclosure_Cooling_MethodsWith the increasing heat dissipation from process-critical high-power controls and switching equipment, “enclosure cooling” has become the buzzword in all industries. For optimum performance and fail-safe operation of equipment under hot and harsh conditions, thermal management systems are necessary. There are several tell-tale signs of inadequate cooling; this blog aims to summarize them to help you recognize the potential of your existing cooling system.

Is Your Current Enclosure Cooling Method Fit for Use for Your Application?

If you have low-heat dissipation equipment located indoors in a clean, cool and dry air environment, you can probably get away with just an oversized enclosure that has sufficient air vents. However, natural convection is hardly the answer for most applications.

There is no single answer to when a cooling fan becomes necessary. If your application requires airflow greater than what the location can naturally provide or if natural convection cannot lower the enclosure temperature enough, then a fan or blower is advisable. It is to be understood that the enclosure temperature with a cabinet cooling fan is always going to be higher than the ambient temperature. Heat exchangers can be used if the location is too humid or too polluted. There are limits to use of an air to air heat exchanger as well. An air conditioner is required if you want to lower the temperature of your enclosure below the ambient temperature. Enclosure air conditioners do not have the application limitations that cabinet fans or heat exchangers do.

Did You Use a BTU Calculator to Specify Your Enclosure Cooling System?

It is essential to use a comprehensive calculator to specify closed-loop enclosure cooling systems for your equipment. Though rules of thumb can help you get in the specification ball-park, the implications of oversizing or undersizing an air conditioner for your application can be drastic. Using a BTUH calculator is the best way to size an air conditioner. You should calculate the total heat load within the enclosure and check to see if the enclosure cooling system can handle it.

Does your Enclosure Temperature Drift Too High?

Close monitoring of enclosure temperature can reveal a lot of information about the potential of the enclosure cooling solution. If the temperature drifts past the high nineties in an enclosure with cabinet cooling fans, it might be time to rethink enclosure cooling options. Frequent drifts in temperature to values above the target temperature in case of closed-loop cooling systems can indicate inadequate cooling or faulty equipment.

Does your Air Conditioner Consume Too Much Power?

A properly sized air conditioner would have a duty cycle of approximately 30 to 60% (light to moderate duty cycle). If your enclosure air conditioner has a higher duty cycle or if it consumes too much power, it means that the device is undersized and has to work harder to cool your enclosure and maintain the set point temperature.

How Frequently Have You Had to Schedule Maintenance for Your Equipment?

If you have had to schedule maintenance for multiple failures in the recent past, it might be time to evaluate the enclosure cooling system. It is easy to underestimate the heat given off by electrical components such as VFDs and PLCs, so it is important to accurately calculate heat dissipation. If this step was neglected or executed incorrectly, you are likely to find yourself requesting extra maintenance due to the increased heat stress on your equipment. An increase in general maintenance is a good indicator for a deeper ongoing issue.

To ensure that you have an adequate enclosure cooling system, contact our experienced sales team at Thermal Edge. They can help you specify and size the cooling solution based on your heating load and location.