Enclosure Cooling Techniques for Industrial Control Panels


Electrical control panels, working in busy industrial applications, serve as the nerve center for many businesses. They are a critical piece of equipment that can ring up some expensive downtime if they are not monitored, maintained and cooled properly.

Most of the enclosures that house electrical control panels find themselves in hot and dusty areas, two potentially damaging factors that must be mitigated when choosing to employ the right enclosure cooling techniques.

Fans – forget it

Filtered fans can bring dust, humidity and corrosive gases into the enclosure that will play havoc on the controls. In your search for enclosure cooling techniques, search beyond fans to find a closed loop cooling system, especially if the ambient temperature is higher than recommended for the electrical control panel’s operating temperature.

Heat exchangers

Air-to-air heat exchangers use a closed loop system that employs a heat pipe to move heat from inside the enclosure to the outside. This is a good choice where ambient temperatures are below the desired enclosure air temperature. The biggest advantage of a heat exchanger is the simplicity of the system. It is the most efficient choice for cooling as the only energy used is for two circulating fans. Additionally, heat exchangers are available for NEMA Types 12, 4 and 4X, making them a durable system for almost any application.

Air Conditioners

Naturally, if the area is just too hot for a simple heat exchanger system, you will need to step up to an enclosure air conditioner. Size must be a consideration both for the enclosure itself and the air conditioner. Beyond the physical size, you must calculate and understand the heat load being generated by the equipment inside and know the maximum ambient temperature  outside the enclosure.

To battle these varying factors, select an air conditioner with a thermal expansion valve and an efficient condensate evaporation system built in. The thermal expansion valve will provide reliable cooling over a wide temperature and load range by balancing and modulating proper refrigerant flow. In addition, an efficient condensate evaporation system will  pre-cool hot refrigerant gas from the compressor, which lowers the running amps.

Expensive electrical equipment provides long, reliable service as long as it is maintained and housed properly with the right temperature control. Maintaining the integrity of your systems with the right enclosure cooling techniques will protect your equipment from harsh industrial environments and keep your operation running smoothly.

All you need to navigate this important decision is a consultation from one of the experts at Thermal Edge. Contact our sales team today.