Enclosure Air Conditioners: Why You Should Spec Them in Your Equipment

Enclosure Air Conditioners: Why You Should Spec Them in Your Equipment

Owning industrial electrical equipment can be an expensive affair. The initial cost of the equipment itself may not be that high, but the operating costs over its lifetime and the downtime to your business in the event of failure can be significant. For instance, while a standard industrial-grade 20 HP Variable Frequency Drive is priced between $1000 and $3000, the costs to your interrupted business due to a failed drive and the reduced productivity can very well run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Modern electrical equipment dissipates a lot of heat that needs to be removed to prevent the temperature from increasing too much. A simple and ideal solution for this problem is an enclosure air conditioner. Here are some reasons why you should specify a suitable enclosure air conditioner for your application:

Electrical Equipment Should Be Operated Below Maximum Allowable Temperature

Research reveals that the lifespan and reliability of electrical equipment halves for every 18 °F (10 °C) increase above normal room temperature (72 to 75 °F). Most equipment manufacturers specify a maximum allowable temperature for their products beyond which the performance is less than optimal. Equipment efficiency and temperature are directly related.

An enclosure air conditioner can regulate the enclosure temperature and ensure that the operating temperature of the equipment is within allowable limits. Not only does it prolong the lifespan of the equipment but it also reduces equipment operating and maintenance costs.

Equipment Heat Needs to be Removed

Even though modern technology has been successful in reducing losses in electrical equipment, they still dissipate a significant amount of heat. For example, solid state devices in variable frequency drives generate a significant amount of heat: between 0.75 and 2.25 kW of waste heat that must be removed.

In addition to this, the location of the enclosure may add to the heat load in the form of solar heat gain or ambient temperature gain, or heat from other equipment in the vicinity. An enclosure air conditioner can help tackle the different heat sources in the enclosure and maintain a desired temperature for the equipment.

Potentially Harmful Locations and How to Handle Them

Often, you will find yourself needing to run your electrical equipment in potentially harmful locations. You may need to seal the enclosure against harmful gases and vapor that can damage your equipment; you may need to prevent fluid ingress into the enclosure when it is drenched or sprayed. Enclosure air conditioners are your best bet in these scenarios. Air-to-air heat exchangers can efficiently seal the enclosure in potentially harmful environments but they cannot reduce the enclosure temperature below ambient temperatures. This may restrict their use if the enclosure is located in a hot place. Air conditioners not only isolate your equipment from the harmful gases in the location, their closed-loop cooling system maintains the temperature in the optimal working range, even if it is below ambient levels.

It is an excellent idea to spec enclosure air conditioners for your equipment using an enclosure temperature management calculator. What can an efficient enclosure air conditioner do for you?

  • Maintain a desired temperature in your enclosure
  • Protect your enclosure against humidity, dispersed oil, dust, and particulate matter
  • Safely dispose of condensate produced by humidity inside the enclosure

The use of an enclosure air conditioner not only preserves the health of your equipment but also reduces its operating and maintenance costs. Reduced equipment downtime means improved business productivity and increased profits.

If you want to calculate the heat load of your equipment and size an enclosure air conditioner for use with your enclosure, contact our expert sales team at Thermal Edge.