Summer Proofing Your Enclosures
2017-07-14. Mississauga, ON - High temperature is a common cause of electrical components failing, so users of manufacturing automation systems must ensure that have Rittal’s protection!
High temperatures are the most common cause of sensitive electrical and electronic components tripping or even failing, so users of manufacturing automation systems need to ensure that they are prepared for the summer heat and, if necessary, should arrange for an inspection of their equipment to check the level of risk, according to Jason Swann, Rittal’s Product Manager for Climate Control Products in Europe.
Inverter drives are used within electrical equipment because they are effective at reducing the amount of energy used – which means lower production costs. Assuming an efficiency of 97%, a 250kW drive can produce up to 7.5kW of heat, much of which is retained inside the enclosure. Therefore without adequate cooling heat will rise.
The life expectancy of components is hugely affected by excess heat. An electrical component’s life expectancy can be reduced by 50% for every 10°C increase in the ambient temperature. So keeping an Inverter drive cool will prolong its life, reduce the risk of failure and save money.
Rittal offers the following list of questions to check if there may be a problem brewing:
- Is your equipment tripping or failing due to high temperatures?
- Is this having an impact on production, in that it’s either slowing or stopping completely?
- When you walk around your shop floor, do your enclosures feel hot to the touch?
- At the height of summer, are your enclosure doors regularly left open and do you need large fans blowing into your panels to cool the devices inside them? This also presents a health and safety risk!
- Does inadequate chilling of process fluids result in production down-time?
- Would your existing cooling solution benefit from a health check?
Any ‘yes’ responses suggests a thermal survey could be a sensible next step. Rittal’s expert team can provide a survey and if necessary advise on the best solution.
A survey will identify the likely risk of a system overheating. It will review any existing cooling solution and determine how suited it is to that particular working environment. If necessary, it will then provide recommendations around remedial action – for example, changes to the system’s service and maintenance regime to help improve its efficiency or the recommendation to invest in different climate control technology.
to access the Free Enclosure Cooling guide which can help manufacturers solve these problems. You can also use our online Energy Calculator tool to determine the level of cooling your enclosure needs:
Which cooling solution is installed will ultimately depend on the amount of heat produced inside the panel and the environment in which it is installed. It must be specific to a particular application.
The main considerations centre around whether the enclosure is located in a cold or hot environment, if that environment is clean or dirty, and to what degree. Conditions may also change over the course of the working day, week, month or year, so the final selection of an appropriate cooling solution may not be entirely straightforward.
Enclosures that are placed in a cool and clean environment may find fan-and-filter units are more than adequate, given a single device provides more than 4 kW of cooling in ideal conditions. However If the air is dirty, it is still possible to take full advantage of low ambient temperatures by using energy efficient air-to-air heat exchangers to provide any necessary cooling. For applications that require the temperature inside the enclosure to be lower than that outside it, a refrigerant based solution may be the best option.
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