Metal enclosures are an essential piece of equipment that helps to store and protect delicate electrical equipment from hazards such as dust, water and prying eyes. Simple yet effective, a metal enclosure provides a secure storage facility for potentially dangerous electrical equipment.

Steel enclosures (as well as enclosures made from other materials such as plastic, aluminium, GRP and ABS) are very common fixtures throughout industrial buildings such as factories & warehouses. Some enclosures have viewing panels to allow people to be able to read the electrical displays or to check at a glance that everything is working smoothly without having to disconnect the power supply or come in contact with any live terminals. Most have hinged doors with a locking device, shown below.

steel enclosure internal

Here are 5 key places to install electrical enclosures.

1. Around telecommunications equipment

Broadband cables and computer servers are just two examples of telecommunications equipment that needs to be protected by electrical enclosures. This equipment is typically very sensitive and so needs a sturdy casing that can keep it safe, whilst also providing adequate ventilation so that it does not overheat. This latter requirement is very important for high powered equipment such as computer servers, as these can slow down and cause disrupted or even totally interrupted data processing if they overheat.

Floor standing enclosures for telecommunications equipment can be located either outdoors or inside a property, and they can be either publicly maintained or private property. The enclosure around telecommunications equipment can also be mounted on a pole or on a wall. Many telecommunications companies make a particular type of high quality enclosure a key part of any installation that they perform. 

2. Fuse boxes

Fuse boxes (also known as consumer units) are a popular example of steel enclosure. They are used by ordinary homeowners in every home with an electrical supply. The outer metal casing of a fuse box protects the circuit breakers on your fuse board and also provides you with an additional layer of protection from the live wires that lie just beneath the fuse board. Fuse boxes are usually situated either within a lockable cupboard or high up on the wall to keep them out of the reach of children.

Fusebox consumer unit

Many fuse box enclosures have viewing windows located behind a flip-down cover. That means that if a circuit breaker trips within your home, all that you need to do is to take a look through the viewing window of the enclosure around your fuse box and you will instantly be able to pinpoint where the problem lies. 

3. Floor standing enclosures for utilities

Vial pieces of equipment such as the control panels for utilities such as wind farms or industrial freezer systems very often benefit from being enclosed in a specialised metal framework. The metal enclosures used for utilities can have a number of benefits, including reducing condensation around a control panel, ventilation (or other forms of heat management), filtering signals and shielding the control panel from electromagnetic currents that might interfere with their working.

floor standing enclosure

Floor standing enclosures are required for larger projects such as large network components and big industrial speed drivers. These larger size cabinets can be connected together to form an even larger enclosure. They can accommodate electrical components associated with utilities such as wind farms. Swing doors, shelves and additional ventilation units are all common additions to the enclosure in this context.

4. Warehouses

Condensation and electromagnetic signals are not the only contaminants that electrical equipment needs to be protected from. Electrics also need to be protected from dust, and this is found in abundance in warehouses. Any warehouse or other dusty building or space that uses electrical equipment should thus also have an electrical enclosure installed to protect that equipment. The main way in which dust adversely affects electrical equipment is by impeding electrical conduction.

A layer of dust can also have an insulating effect on a circuit and cause it to overheat. Finally, dust often attracts and absorbs moisture, which can lead to short circuiting. Protect your warehouse's electrics from all of these ill effects with one simple step: installing a metal enclosure around them. 

Hylec metal enclosure

5. External Enclosures

While steel certainly offers an economical and robust solution, you may want to consider an alternative material for outdoor applications. Steel can rust especially if it doesn't have any shelter and is left open to the elements. We recommend GRP (Glass Reinforced Polyester) or the more cost effective but with less tensile strength ABS enclosure (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) design.

The last thing any professional wants, is to be called back to a job, to replace defective equipment. Matters can be made even worse if the electrical components inside are also damaged due to rain ingress. GRP enclosures are rated at IP66 which offers a higher resistance to water than the usual IP65 rated steel enclosure.

GRP Enclosure

The importance of steel enclosures

An electrical enclosure can be used to protect your electrical kit from all kinds of contaminants, including dust, water and EMC (Electromagnetic Compatibility). It can be used to stop equipment from overheating and it can also be used to protect human beings from electrical hazards. Your enclosure can be placed in a warehouse, outside on the street or even in the home.

The best place to situate your enclosure will depend on the type of equipment that it is designed to go with - an enclosure can be wall mounted, pole mounted or free standing depending on the context. Viewing windows, swing doors, shelves and child safe locks can all be used to customise your enclosure. Versatile and practical, these casings are indispensable to anyone who cares about practising good health and safety. Which types of electrical equipment in your home and business might benefit from an enclosure? Perform a quick survey today and then make sure to purchase the most relevant type of enclosure for them right away.