The Cooling Solutions You Need for Your Outdoor Enclosure
March 22, 2020 / by Rittal Marketing

Keeping your outdoor electronics and critical process equipment safe is essential to the success of your business. When your equipment fails, and your systems go down, you’re not making money. It’s important for you to protect your critical components with the right enclosures to ensure that your outdoor equipment, and your business, stay up and running.  

Enclosures alone aren’t enough to prevent downtime. You need to integrate your enclosures with industrial climate control solutions to ensure that everything keeps working correctly. Not only do climate control solutions help to optimize the performance of your equipment and reduce system failure, but they can also lengthen the life of your components. In fact, with every 18°F/10°increase in the operating temperature of your electronics, you could be cutting your product life by half. 

The Dangers of Heat 

Of all the things that can damage your electronics, heat is the hidden killer. Controlling units, solid-state devices, and microprocessors all age quickly under heat pressure. When these components overheat, it affects their performance, and minor malfunctions can start to happen. Left unchecked, this can lead to the sudden catastrophic failure of the component, costing you thousands in downtime and derailing the timelines of your projects. Other issues include: 

  • De-rated power performance  
  • Trip faults and fluctuations in circuits  
  • Voided component warranty 
  • Product loss and customer dissatisfaction  

For outdoor applications, the first thought is to handle external heat. While ambient outside temperatures and humidity are indeed a problem, this is only half the battle. Electrical components can cause high thermal loads to originate from inside the enclosure itself. The trend to have higher equipment densities within enclosures only makes matters worse, as this can prevent proper airflow. That’s why a climate control solution – especially one outdoors – must be able to control heat from both external and internal sources efficiently 

Fighting Back 

To keep your electronics safe, your climate control solution must be able to properly work within your enclosure without compromising the enclosure’s NEMA rating. After all, you have to protect against more than just heat.  

For outside enclosures, there are three main enclosure ratings designated in NEMA 250- Enclosures for Electrical Equipment: 

  • Type 3R:   Enclosures constructed for either indoor or outdoor use to provide a degree of protection to personnel against access to hazardous parts; to provide a degree of protection of the equipment inside the enclosure against ingress of solid foreign objects (falling dirt); to provide a degree of protection with respect to harmful effects on the equipment due to the ingress of water (rain, sleet, snow); and that will be undamaged by the external formation of ice on the enclosure.  
  •  Type 4: Enclosures constructed for either indoor or outdoor use to provide a degree of protection to personnel against access to hazardous parts; to provide a degree of protection of the equipment inside the enclosure against ingress of solid foreign objects (falling dirt and windblown dust); to provide a degree of protection with respect to harmful effects on the equipment due to the ingress of water (rain, sleet, snow, splashing water, and hose directed water); and that will be undamaged by the external formation of ice on the enclosure.  
  •  Type 4X: Enclosures constructed for either indoor or outdoor use to provide a degree of protection to personnel against access to hazardous parts; to provide a degree of protection of the equipment inside the enclosure against ingress of solid foreign objects (windblown dust); to provide a degree of protection with respect to harmful effects on the equipment due to the ingress of water (rain, sleet, snow, splashing water, and hose directed water); that provides an additional level of protection against corrosion; and that will be undamaged by the external formation of ice on the enclosure. 

Enclosures installed outdoors typically cannot have the internal heat load removed using thermoelectric coolers or air-to-air heat exchangers. Instead, filter fans or certain air conditioners may be used in Type 3R, Type 4 and Type 4X applicationsAdditionally, Type 3R and Type 4 enclosures can also benefit from cooling units that are specifically made to provide significantly higher energy efficiencies than existing solutions 

The Rittal Solution 

From the Blue e+ to ULListed, Type 3R/4 air conditioning units, Rittal offers a climate control solution for every outdoor application. Our custom-engineered solutions include a variety of passive and active cooling technology, from heat exchangers and coolers, to standard fans and air conditioners.  

Blue e+ units feature hybrid cooling technology that provides 75 percent greater energy savings than competitive products, as well as: 

  • Easy, rapid installation 
  • Maintenance-friendly, tool-less filter mat replacement 
  • Multi-voltage capability 
  • A simple, multi-lingual touch display 

Rittal’s advanced climate control technology allows us to take a methodical approach to climate control, ensuring stable internal enclosure temperatures. It’s only through our innovative thermal management that you can keep your electrical systems safe from heat, and your business profitable.  

If you want to learn more about climate control for outdoor applications, click here to take a look at our climate solutions handbook. You can also check out our blog, Achieve Better Climate Control for Any Enclosure where we go over cooling solutions for indoor enclosures.

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