Whatever marine application it may be – on ship, or in the bayport – electrical enclosures should have the features that can help protect companies’ electrical equipments. Usually, the electrical enclosures used for marine offshore applications are weatherproof. It usually has safety features that prevents leak or water ingress and provides overall protection. However, for any type of marine applications, the enclosure should not only protect the electrical equipments inside but it should be designed and built to also withstand on its own. Sometimes, there are need for submerging electrical enclosures totally in water.
In addition to this, some of the enclosures that requires temporary submersion in sea water are made from polycarbonate composition. This simply means that the enclosure can be used in wet environments and has high anti-corrosion properties that makes it almost nearly impossible to happen. It is important to note that overtime, all metal enclosures still has the possibility and tendency to corrode when frequently submerged in water. That is why it is important to choose the material wisely in building enclosures because it can help in protecting any electrical equipment or cargo when put out to sea.
Ideally, any enclosure used for marine applications should pass the following tests and requirements:
- Designed according to international NEMA or IP standards of enclosures performance
- Can withstand strong impacts
- Can stand chemical reactions – with high resistance
- UV properties
When approaching an electrical enclosure manufacturing company, a good comprehensive understanding of where and how it will be used is important. Especially for offshore marine applications where there might be a need for lightweight enclosures. Aside from polycarbonate steels, 5052 Aluminum is also a widely accepted steel material for offshore enclosures. It has anti-corrosive properties and is a lightweight steel. Weight will never be an issue with aluminum enclosures. However, overtime this type of aluminum can show signs of corrosion because of prolonged exposure to salt water environment or any corrosive environments.
But there is a common practice for manufacturers to reduce or even minimize the risk of possible corrosion by anodizing the enclosure. This method greatly increases surface hardness, helps the enclosure to improve corrosion resistance by increasing it and is totally non-conductive. In addiiton to this, anodized coatings can make the enclosure withstand 80 degrees celsius. Exposure to high temperature environments can make the finishes crack but it will certainly not peel.
Another material you can choose from is Stainless Steel. The types of stainless steel widely used for this type of application are 304L and 316L grades. The chromium and nickel content in stainless steel helps it to be corrosion-resistant but the downside is it can make the stainless steel heavier than the aluminum. If weight is not an issue, you can opt to use Stainless Steel. Between 304L and 316L, the later has a higher corrosion resistant properties because of higher nickel content with the addition of molybdenum for added protection. However, 316L Stainless Steel grade is not a suitable material in making the hardwares for the enclsoure such as nuts, bolts, and fasteners. It is best used in constructing the body of the enclosure. 304L stainless steel on the other hand is stronger and has a higher wear resistance than 316L grade because of higher chromium content. It cost lower compare to 316L and it is the best choice for enclosure that will be subjected to extreme environments.