There have been ongoing debates for years about the advantages of polycarbonate over fiberglass as a material for enclosures. Both are great for NEMA/IP boxes, often being able to reach IP67 or IP68 ratings. Here are a few advantages of each:
- More impact resistant
- Provides greater UV protection
- Easier to modify. With Fiberglass enclosures, there is a fine dust that can be irritating to the skin or when inhaled. Fiberglass also can splinter, ruining the box, if it is not modified correctly
- More visually appealing. The enclosures made from polycarbonate tend to be smoother with less texturing
- More true to shape with less mold variability. The glass particles will retain the rigidity through the production process, insuring that there is more consistency between boxes. This is very important as the installer tries to maintain their IP rating with a situation where wall thicknesses and slope can vary. This means it is much more difficult to create a tight seal between the box and the accessories
- Fiberglass may hold up better in extreme heat or cold. Polycarbonate has a tendency to shrink slightly when cold or to expand slightly in heat. Fiberglass maintains its original shape much more readily
Bud Industries has introduced several lines of products (our PIP and our PBB series) that combine the best of both worlds. Since it has a lower Fiberglass content at 10%, it maintains many of the features of the polycarbonate boxes with the add benefits of fiberglass. The look is closer to that of a polycarbonate box, but with the added consistency that engineers demand. Check out our new line at http://www.budind.com/view/NEMA+Boxes/NEMA+4X+-+PIP.