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The ultimate guide to NEMA enclosure types (other NEMA ratings) – part 4

Electronic equipment is an essential component of modern life, and NEMA enclosures play a crucial role in protecting this equipment from damage. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) ratings define the level of protection that an enclosure offers against various environmental factors.

While NEMA 1 enclosures offer basic indoor protection against dust, they are not suitable for harsher conditions. Other NEMA ratings, such as NEMA 3, NEMA 4, NEMA 4X, NEMA 12, and NEMA 13, provide varying degrees of protection against elements such as windblown dust, rain, sleet, splashing water, oil, and coolant.

It is essential to choose the right NEMA enclosure for your electronic equipment to ensure its safety and longevity. By understanding the different NEMA ratings and their characteristics, you can make an informed choice and protect your investment. In this article, we will explore the various NEMA ratings and their applications, helping you choose the most appropriate enclosure for your electronic equipment.

Common NEMA Ratings

NEMA ratings are used to classify enclosures based on their ability to withstand various environmental conditions. The following are the most common NEMA ratings:

NEMA Rating

Description

Applications

NEMA 1

Indoor use, provides basic protection against dust

Control panels, junction boxes, and indoor electronic equipment

NEMA 3

Outdoor use, provides protection against weather, wind-blown dust, rain and sleet

Control panels, junction boxes, and outdoor electronic equipment

NEMA 4

Outdoor use, provides protection against splashing water and hose-directed water

Control panels, junction boxes, and outdoor electronic equipment in wet or damp conditions

NEMA 4X

Outdoor use, provides protection against splashing water, hose-directed water, and corrosion

Control panels, junction boxes, and outdoor electronic equipment in wet, damp, and corrosive environments

NEMA 12

Indoor use, provides protection against dust, oil, and non-corrosive liquids

Control panels and indoor electronic equipment in dirty or oily environments

NEMA 13

Indoor use, provides protection against dust, oil, and coolant

Control panels and indoor electronic equipment in dirty or oily environments

It is essential to choose the appropriate NEMA rating for electronic equipment based on the environmental factors it will be exposed to. The operating environment, potential hazards, and regulatory requirements should all be taken into consideration to ensure the longevity and safety of the equipment and personnel.

NEMA 1 Enclosures

NEMA 1 enclosures are designed for indoor use to provide basic protection for electronic equipment. They are typically made from sheet metal and do not have a seal, making them unsuitable for use in outdoor environments or areas with excessive moisture. They are best used in areas where the equipment needs to be shielded from dust and debris.

The NEMA 1 rating does not provide any protection against water or other liquids, so caution should be exercised when using electronic equipment in environments where liquids are present. NEMA 1 enclosures are commonly used for housing power supply units, junction boxes, and other electronic equipment that does not require significant environmental protection.

Key Features of NEMA 1 Enclosures

Despite being basic in design, NEMA 1 enclosures do have some key features that make them suitable for specific applications. These features include:

Feature

Description

Sheet metal construction

Provides basic protection against dust and debris

Lack of seal

Makes them unsuitable for use in outdoor or wet environments

No protection against liquids

Caution should be exercised when using electronics in areas with liquids

Overall, NEMA 1 enclosures are a cost-effective option for providing basic protection for indoor electronic equipment that does not require significant environmental protection.

NEMA 3 Enclosures

NEMA 4 and NEMA 4X Enclosures

NEMA 12 Enclosures

NEMA 12 enclosures are specifically designed for indoor environments where protection against dust, oil, and non-corrosive liquids is necessary. These enclosures are commonly used in manufacturing facilities, where machinery can generate dust and oil, and in laboratories, where equipment may be exposed to spills or splashes of non-corrosive liquids.

The key features of NEMA 12 enclosures include a gasketed door, which provides a tight seal against dust and other particles, as well as oil-resistant seals that protect against oil and other non-corrosive liquids. Like other NEMA enclosures, NEMA 12 enclosures are constructed from durable materials, such as steel, to provide lasting protection for electronic equipment.

It is essential to select the correct NEMA rating for your equipment to ensure the safety and proper functioning of electronic components. While NEMA 12 enclosures provide protection against dust, oil, and non-corrosive liquids, it is essential to consider the specific operating environment of your equipment to determine if this rating is appropriate.

Applications of NEMA 12 Enclosures

NEMA 12 enclosures are commonly used in environments where dust, oil, and non-corrosive liquids may be present. They are suitable for use in a wide range of settings, including:

Manufacturing plants with machinery that generates dust and oil

Laboratories with equipment that may be exposed to spills or splashes of non-corrosive liquids

Offices or other indoor settings where protection against dust and other particles is necessary

It is important to note, however, that NEMA 12 enclosures are not suitable for outdoor use or environments where exposure to water or corrosive liquids is expected. In these cases, a different NEMA rating, such as NEMA 4 or NEMA 4X, may be more appropriate.

NEMA 13 Enclosures

NEMA 13 enclosures are designed to provide protection against dust, oil, and coolant in indoor environments. These enclosures are commonly used in industries such as food processing, petrochemical, and manufacturing where equipment may be exposed to harmful substances.

NEMA 13 enclosures feature oil-resistant gaskets and coolant-resistant seals that provide a secure seal against these substances. The enclosures are also designed to prevent the ingress of solid foreign objects, such as dust and debris.

The NEMA 13 rating also indicates that the enclosure is suitable for indoor use only. It does not provide protection against outdoor elements such as rain, wind, and sun exposure.

Key features of NEMA 13 Enclosures

Feature

Description

Solid protection

NEMA 13 enclosures can shield electronic equipment from dust, dirt, and debris that can cause malfunctions and damage

Oil resistance

NEMA 13 enclosures can withstand the ingress of oil, making them ideal for use in manufacturing plants and petrochemical facilities

Coolant resistance

NEMA 13 enclosures can protect electronic equipment from coolant, which is commonly used in the food processing industry

When choosing a NEMA 13 enclosure, it is important to consider the specific needs of the electronic equipment and the environment in which it will be used. It is also important to adhere to regulatory requirements that may dictate the type of enclosure needed for certain applications.

If you have any additional questions or concerns about NEMA enclosures, consult with a qualified professional at APX Enclosure who can provide further guidance and advice. Our team can start by designing and fabricating a prototype for your approval. Contact us today to learn more about our American-made cabinets and request a quote.

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