20 Aug 2020

Heat management is a well-known issue when designing electrical enclosures. Temperature control and heat dissipation are extremely critical, but often overlooked aspects. Good design should incorporate the thermal control design of electrical enclosures early on to ensure trouble-free operation in the future. Close examination of internal and external factors that may limit the natural airflow through the enclosure and thus over-heat it is necessary.

What Temperature does to Electronics

The optimal operating temperature for most of the electrical equipment lies between 40°C and 50°C. As the internal temperature of the components increase, their lifespan will decrease. Excessive heat can even lead to a leakage in the integrated circuits of microprocessors. Industrial control systems and components with capacitors are at a greater risk of shortened lifespans due to the high sustained heat.

Also, traditional or LED-based lighting can see a significantly reduced lamp life when operating at a consistently elevated temperature.

Why Industrial Control Panels Heat up

The internal temperature of electrical enclosures is related to the rate of heat generated within the panel and the rate of heat escape. The operation of electronics/microprocessor-controlled gear continuously produces heat, steadily increasing the enclosure’s internal temperature. Further external ambient conditions may lead to additional heating of the electronics. Lastly, as enclosure sizes get compact, such densely designed enclosures will heat up even more.

The solution is a well thought out cooling methodology.

Methods to Keep Enclosures Cool

Active Cooling

Active cooling design for outdoor Enclosures includes fans and blowers (Forced Convection). While these are effective, there are several issues with this approach:

  • Adding fans increases the system complexity and adds more moving parts that can fail
  • Cost increases significantly
  • A filter of some sort would be needed to protect the enclosure from contamination due to dust
  • Humidity and water damage is a concern

Passive Cooling

This method comprises of convection. Since heat transfers from a higher temperature region to a lower one, the enclosure design should allow for proper ventilation. It is essential to have vents that are strategically placed to allow hot air to escape and be replaced by cooler air. Slits or gaps may allow for such venting, but dust, humidity, and rain can damage internal components.

PorVent® PTFE vents offer an excellent solution to all these issues. PorVent® (PVSV type) vents are constructed with a UV resistant Nylon blend and silicon gasket to ensure long life in the harshest outdoor conditions. It houses a porous PTFE membrane that allows for hot air to escape while preventing dust, rain, and humidity from entering the enclosure. The product is IP65/6/7/8 certified and offers freedom of design for your electrical enclosure.

Choosing the right Cooling Method can be the difference between reliability and compromise.
Choose PorVent®, choose good design.

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