Explaining a Few Important NEMA Standards for Electrical Enclosures

Electrical enclosures, which constitute a class of cabinets or cases that enclose and protect electrical devices (such as switches, displays, and other interfaces) are often nearly as specialized as the equipment they contain.

Many resources are devoted to ensuring that electrical enclosures meet specific standards as prescribed by a number of independent organizations that ensure that they are suitable for use for specific applications and in given environments.

One of these organizations is NEMA, or the National Electrical Manufacturer Association, which for over 30 years has formed and upheld technical standards for electrical equipment, including enclosures. These are some of the most commonly encountered NEMA ratings..

NEMA 1 is the lightest rating prescribed by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association for electrical enclosures.

NEMA 1 rated enclosures are designed for indoor use and provide only an elementary layer of protection to personnel against hazardous parts.

This rating also signifies that the enclosure in question can provide a modest degree of protection to internal electrical components against external elements, such as falling dirt.

NEMA 3-rated electrical enclosures can be used in both indoor and outdoor applications. These provide somewhat greater protection to personnel against any hazardous components they contain.

NEMA 3-rated enclosures also provide a modicum of protection against falling dirt and settling dust as well as against the weather, such as rain or snow.

NEMA 3-rated enclosures are also intended to provide a measure of protection against the formation of ice on the outside of the enclosure.

NEMA 4 and 4X
NEMA 4 and 4X rated enclosures offer the same level of protection as NEMA 3-rated enclosures, and then an additional layer of protection on top of that.

Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, they protect personnel from potentially hazardous components that they contain and protect the enclosed components against falling dirt, settling dust, rain, sleet, snow, and the formation of ice on the outside of the enclosure.

In addition, NEMA 4 and 4X rated electrical enclosures are intended to provide a heightened measure of protection against windblown dust, as well as against splashing or hose-directed water.

NEMA 4X enclosures are also intended to provide additional protection against corrosion.

NEMA 12-rated enclosures are intended for indoor use. They protect personnel against access to potentially hazardous parts or equipment and are constructed without knockouts.

In addition, NEMA 12-rated enclosures provide a high level of protection against the ingress of solid foreign objects such as dust and dirt, lint, and other fibers.

NEMA 12-rated enclosures also provide some protection against dripping water and light splashing.

Where Can I Get NEMA and IPX Rated Electrical Enclosures
While NEMA does set standards for electrical enclosures, it is not the only organization to do so. Another is the Ingress Protection, or IPX Rating System, which also sets standards for protection against liquids and particulate matter.

To learn more about these systems or to find a wide range of electrical enclosures that are suited for use in an equally wide range of industries, visit ProductsforAutomation.com.

Their collection contains electrical enclosures from BOXCO, Sealcon, and other industry-leading producers, in polycarbonate, carbon and stainless steel, aluminum, fiberglass, and a range of synthetics.

Visit their website to learn more about electrical mounts and enclosures or contact them at 800-966-2345.

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