Growth in Customised Industrial Enclosures

Industrial enclosure is an important element of any power distribution projects. This article focuses on better selection and planning for industrial enclosures.

Industrial Enclosure prevents machine and wiring from direct contact with human and other external bodies that can create an accident or damage to human life or machine. These cabinets require standard practice in manufacturing to provide adequate strength and protection for critical components fitted inside.

Contamination and electrical or electronic device should not gel together if your equipment needs longer life. Failure of equipment leads to costly affair of production down time that’s why people start putting focus on better cabinet for their electrical systems.

Few years back Indian market is dominated by local manufacturers and price of enclosure was generally quoted on per kilogram basis and that always carry risk of poor quality due to no real criteria defined except sheet thickness (gauge).

Panel builder and machine manufacturer who primarily used their in-house facility also found difficult to run their facility due to pollution norms, huge capital cost allocated in it and for the latest certification needs.

The branded manufacturers of the industrial enclosure not only concentrate on the safety aspect of it, but also on the attractiveness, to make the enclosure pleasing to the eye. This article highlights quality, cost and changing demand pattern for electrical enclosure.

Enclosures are now made with standard rules and certification: Changing scenario and demand from critical application forces supplier to use standard rules in enclosure manufacturing. Usually, enclosure selected based on below parameters:

Sheet Steel Thickness and Grade, Paint or Power Coating thickness and Types, Types of Gasket, Degree of Protection, Impact Strength, and usage like – outdoor or indoor application.

These parameters vary based on criticality of application and certification enforces the manufacturer to meet the requirement.

Degree of protection is measured in IP as per IEC 60529 certification, impact strength is tested under IK as per IEC 62262 certification. IP & IK Certification ensures degree of protection under defined impact load.

Common problems found in metal enclosure are rusting and main causes are improper pretreatment of surface and manual procedure for power coating. When a manufacturer claims high salt spray life e.g 500 hours, 1000 hours, they need to have set up of 10 tank cleaning, preferably zinc phosphating and spray gun/dip coating shops with baking facility. The full procedure has to be automated to avoid any manual errors to keep consistency in finish and finally product has to be tested for impact, bend test and paint thickness to ensure quality.

The gasket plays an important part too of maintaining the IP rating of industrial enclosures on actual field application. Now-a-days all branded enclosures manufactures are doing jointless PU gasket to ensure very long running IP life.

Different kind of industrial enclosures like wall mounted boxes, floor mounted panels, compartmentalised enclosures, its cabinets and console desks are used in automotive, food and beverage, chemical, aerospace, shipbuilding or off-shore industry production control, engineering machine control, power distribution control systems and plant engineering applications.

Variety of applications demand more and more customised enclosure sizes, different paint shade specification and cut outs. Industrial enclosures are just like raw material for panel builder, OEMs and they need it as a base to start assembly of devices and wirings if customer needs to make cut outs or make accessories brackets that again increase their delivery cycle time so customer is looking for branded customised enclosure ready to use and it reduces their cycle time.

Customisation in size with low volume is difficult to handle because it requires effort to be done from design build to manufacturing and many global companies are not able to handle it easily and another customisation is for cut outs that can be handled in two ways by doing cut out on fully finished enclosure or doing cut out while manufacturing the enclosures.

Customisation in enclosure still ensures IP & IK certification by following the same procedure as followed in certified enclosures.

Consistency, flexibility & modularity in branded enclosure attracting many machine manufacturers and OEM to use branded enclosure that bring praise for their machine and panel as outer cabinet quality impress the end user. Warranty, approvals & certification for branded enclosure is another driving factor.

Usually enclosure cost is very less 3-5 per cent of machine cost and approx. 8-12 per cent in electrical distribution panels but capital cost is huge to run the enclosure manufacturing facility and maintaining the stringent pollution norms for welding, Electroplating & paint shop.

Growth in branded customised enclosure demand is happening due to growth of existing customer, customer shifting for branded enclosure from local fabricator, proven & tested products from branded manufacturers, and standard certification availability for export market.

Handling low volume customisation is always challenge for enclosure manufacturer, because there will be no stock and they will never able to make extra quantity due to uncertainty in order schedule, Shifting to standard enclosure ensures fast delivery and better prices.

Abhijit Dey
Vertical Head –
Industrial Enclosure
BCH Electric Ltd.