Build a Cabinet Cooling System You Can Stand Behind
Electrical enclosures for industrial applications require a cabinet cooling system that can guarantee the components inside will be kept free of any particulates, moisture, or corrosive gases in the environment, and will be maintained at or below their maximum recommended operating temperatures.
The following steps will help build a cabinet cooling system that keeps all of your electrical components fully protected:
Determine the correct NEMA type for the enclosure.
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has specified rating standards for electrical enclosures based on the environments in which they will operate.
For example, NEMA Type 1 is specified for a general indoor environment, such as a data center, with little exposure to liquids, hazardous chemicals, or large particles of dust and debris. In contrast, a NEMA Type 4X cabinet must be able to withstand harsh weather, spraying liquids, corrosive chemicals, and/or large amounts of particles in the air, such as fibers or metal shavings.
Determine the amount of cooling required.
The cooling capacity of the system should be based on the amount of heat generated by the equipment housed in the cabinet, the ambient temperature and direct heat sources such as boilers, and the maximum allowable temperature of each individual component. Both oversizing and undersizing the cooling capacity of the system may lead to problems. An online BTUH Enclosure Temperature Management calculator can help determine the optimal size of the cooling system for the enclosure.
Select a cooling technology.
The NEMA rating, along with the maximum operating temperature of the components and the ambient air temperature of near the enclosure, will dictate the appropriate cooling technology for an enclosure. NEMA Type 1 or Type 3R cabinets can often be effectively cooled by a simple filtered fan system. Those with higher NEMA ratings, or operating in high ambient temperatures, will require a closed-loop cooling system, which isolates the electrical equipment from the outside air.
Three basic cooling technologies to consider are a filtered fan system, an air to air heat exchanger, and an enclosure air conditioner. Each of these technologies carries benefits and tradeoffs. The ETM calculatorcan help with this determination as well.
Determine the appropriate dimensions.
Cabinet cooling systems typically come in standard, compact, or narrow dimensions, to fit the size of the enclosure. Aim to specify the cooling enclosure unit width so that it is less than the depth of the cabinet.
Select options and accessories.
To enhance the performance of the cooling system, specify appropriate options and accessories, such as a corrosion protection package for marine environments, an integrated heating package to maintain a minimum startup temperature condensation inside the cabinet in cold weather, or a remote controller. For a filtered fan system to be used on an enclosure located outdoors, specify NEMA Type 3R shrouds to fit over the filters to block blowing rain or snow.
Ensure safety and quality with appropriate standards.
To guarantee the proper operation of a cabinet cooling system, make sure it has been certified to meet health and safety requirements by the appropriate testing agency. For example, systems sold in the U.S. should carry a UL listing, while those sold in Europe require a CE mark. Additionally, products carrying an ISO 9001:2008 designation are certified to meet the highest quality standards.
For more help in building a cabinet cooling system for your OEM application, contact the experts at Thermal Edge.