Numerous studies have tested and shown that modern industrial electrical and electronic components — from switches and timers to PLCs and AC drives/inverters — operate most reliably and have the longest service life when the temperatures they are subjected to are kept at or below the manufacturer-specified rating. In any industrial facility, many electrical panels and cabinets are used to house the necessary electrical devices to operate and control the machinery and processes. In situations when a process shuts down or a machine malfunctions, the problem often is thermal in nature. The excessively high or low temperatures of the electrical and sensitive electronic equipment within the control panels and electrical cabinets trigger the shutdown or malfunction.
When a machine or process shuts down due to an overheated electrical component, the cost impacts can be massive. Imagine the effects of one hour of downtime to industries such as an automotive manufacturing site or a steel production facility. In the time it takes to locate the failed component and replace it — if the plant engineers are lucky enough to have a spare on the shelf — a sizable loss of productivity will occur. The lost productivity can be many times as costly as the component that failed. In smaller operations, the cost of failed components such as a large frequency drive can wipe out a week’s worth of profits. Keeping the enclosure and the components inside electrical cabinets at or below the manufacturer-recommended temperature is the goal of an effective enclosure cooling system.