Tag Archives: NEMA Ratings

Fiberglass Electronic Enclosures Broaden their Appeal

Although I have been involved with the electronic enclosure industry for nearly 40 years, I continue to be amazed at the variety of applications which require these enclosures.  The application space has expanded significantly since we introduced NEMA 4x Fiberglass Enclosures a few years ago.  These durable boxes are priced well below market, but provide industry leading protection.    They are more durable than polycarbonate boxes with less vulnerability to cracking when struck.   Some of the applications that we have seen recently include:

  1. In solid state lighting, the controls for the lighting need to be enclosed and often protected from outdoor or factory environments.  Numerous customers find that fiberglass provides a simple solution to long term exposure
  2. Fiber optic distribution, again in the lighting or energy fields
  3. In food services, we have customers that locate their controls in the fields or barns to track production where frequent hose down or weather situations require proper protection
  4. Climate controls and environmental tracking industries are also a unique niche that fiberglass enclosures effectively support.
  5. Solar Energy collection and conversion is a growing application for these electronic enclosures as they can withstand higher heat and yet are not conductive as one finds with metal enclosures.

The market for Fiberglass enclosures is broad and rapidly growing as pricing becomes more competitive.  With durable protection, limited conductivity, and hose down capabilities, they have much to offer.  Don’t forget that we can modify these boxes with cutouts, slots and other secondary operations to improve assembly time and truly provide a turn-key solution.

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How to Interpret NEMA Ratings

Perhaps one of the most confusing standards for an engineer to follow is NEMA ratings as it relates to enclosures.  It would be natural to consider that the higher the NEMA rating, the greater the protection.  This is definitely not the case.  It is also typical that one might assume that having a NEMA rating of any sort implies a high level of protection.  This is also not the case.  NEMA ratings are set up in a way to address a variety of concerns:  safety from moving parts, protection from dripping water, dripping oils, sprayed liquids, UV, corrosion, ice, and many more.  NEMA 1 ratings, for example, simply suggest that the product protects against contact with moving internal parts.  The ratings becomes confusing when you consider that NEMA 4 protects your product from sprayed water, ideal for wash-down or weather intensive locations.  NEMA 12 only protects against dust, falling dirt and dripping liquids so would be more appropriate in an environment where there may be less significant environmental factors, such as a factory which may not be a clean room.  NEMA 3 is weather resistant, with NEMA 3r protecting against icing as well.  The point is that you want to be sure you are receiving the level of protection you need without overpaying for too much.  For a complete listing of all of the relevant NEMA ratings for enclosures, Bud has a great tool, the Design Tips Handbook which you can download for free at http://www.budind.com/request_designtips.php .  Good luck with your design!

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Electronic Enclosures Musings

This is the first real posting on the new Bud Industries Blog.  Why have I decided to start a blog?  Does the world really need one more?  I think it does and there are several good reasons why.  First, any good engineer focuses their energy on designing the components that go into the box, and frankly have limited time to learn the choices in enclosures.  I will chat about the best ways to select the perfect enclosure for any application.  For example, determining which NEMA rating is required for an application can be confusing, yet the right choice will save money and insure the integrity of the finished product.  Another question I will cover is the proper materials required for the enclosure.  Often, the designer is most comfortable with a material they have worked with before, but my posts will help them understand where alternatives may provide improved flexibility or functionality.  Our mission is to make specifying the least technical component, the enclosure, quick and easy.  So check back often, let me know if there are areas that you would like me to discuss, and I hope you enjoy the blog.

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