While a good amount of sun cream and a beer in your hand might be all you need to push through heatwave, such as last week’s, that reached sweltering 32⁰ C in certain parts of the country, things are not as simple for your electrical enclosures.
For those cabinets that don’t have any environmental controls installed on them, such as air conditioning or forced cooling/ventilation, you can rest assured that a temperature of over 25 degrees will be more than enough to cause the equipment to struggle operating or even cease to work altogether, also known as to fall over.
It wasn’t one or two businesses that could have experienced failures caused by the hot weather, with the sectors that experienced the biggest impact being the Utility, Transportation, Industrial Estates and Telecommunications sectors.
The main issues were caused to electrical kit that is fit to work up to 50 degrees. When you have a cabinet that is lit by the sun all day and has no insulation in it, the cabinet can get a lot hotter than the ambient temperature and even reach up to 100 degrees temperature. This will, therefore, lead to your equipment overheating, losing functionality, stop working altogether and even getting permanently ruined.
It’s not only the electrical kit that is at stake, but any batteries hosted in the enclosure as well, as they deteriorate in high temperatures and lose a lot of their life expectancy, leading to additional costs in the future.
What can you do?
Probably the easiest and cheapest option to deal with all these problem is retrofitting your enclosures with a new door that has some form of air cooling system on it. These can be divided into three different categories, depending on what you need and what temperature you wish to achieve:
- Retrofitting with an air conditioning unit
Air conditioning will chill and make the inside of the enclosure a lot colder than the ambient temperature. It will also give you the option to set a specific temperature. An enclosures air conditioner represents an extremely effective method of cooling an enclosure and will work efficiently in any temperature conditions. This type of cooling is idea for highly sensitive equipment and cooling batteries.
- Forced air cooling
With forced air cooling a fan is used to increase the flow of air through the enclosure. The way the method works is by drawing cool air into the bottom of the enclosure and discharging hot air at the top. The air is drawn outside of the enclosure and will achieve ambient temperature. Be aware that fans need to be fitted with filters, so that the ingress of dirt is limited, otherwise, your parts are exposed to potential damage. However, for this method to work, the ambient temperature must be well below the maximum desired enclosure temperature. If you have a really sensitive equipment forced air cooling probably won’t be a good option and it’s highly likely that there would already be some sort of air cooling in place. Forced air cooling would be no good for cooling batteries.
- Air to air cooling
Extremely effective and low-cost way of reducing the heating or cooling loads on the treatment process air and air conditioning systems. A reduced heating or cooling load means lower energy bills and carbon emissions.
How much does it cost?
Forced air cooling is certainly the cheapest option. When it comes to which is the best one in the long run, there isn’t a simple answer, as they are all equally as good at what they’re set out to do. Price of retrofitting would depend on a number of factors, such as the type of the equipment hosted in the cabinet and the enclosures size. Additional consideration is the power demand, as there would be a higher power usage due to the air unit’s requirements.
With the possibility of a new heat wave in the beginning of August now is the perfect time to prepare your equipment for the potential implications. Having your equipment fall over will cause unnecessary business disruptions, which if not managed on time can have a significant impact on your business, as we can see from the recent British Airways failure. Not to mention the potential costly repair or replacement costs if your equipment gets damaged.
Here at ICEE, we can quickly retrofit any type of electrical enclosure, regardless of whether it has been manufactured by us or another company. We work on tight deadlines and have in-house metal fabrication resources and an extremely experienced team of experts, which means that the retrofitting of your enclosure will be completed timely, efficiently and at least cost.
Contact one of our electrical enclosure experts today for more information.