Extending electrical equipment life by reducing cabinet temperature

The reliability of electrical and electronic equipment is critical to most production plants. Heat induced equipment failures causes damage to expensive equipment, and loss of production due to downtime. Electrical equipment life is extended by operating at the correct cabinet temperature

 

The temperature inside an electrical cabinet is invariable higher than the ambient. The is due to the heat generated by the equipment, and the limited convectional air cooling inside the enclosure. It is not unusual for a cabinet internal temperature to be 20° C higher than the local ambient.

 

Most electrical and electronic products are designed to operate within a specified temperature range. This makes temperature control of electrical cabinets plays an important part in extending the life of the equipment within it.

 

Electrical manufacturers also calibrate their products for different ambient temperatures.  Some calibrate their products at open air temperatures of 50°C whilst others are rated at 40°C.  Temperatures above this may require derating, and if that involves moving to a larger frame size inverter, the cost increase can be significant.

 

By ensuring a lower operating temperature it is possible to use lower rated (and therefore lower cost) components. In addition, but ensuring cooler running temperatures, the life of the equipment will be extended

 

Impact of temperature

To estimate product aging, many manufacturers run high temperature accelerated life testing. Using an Arrhenius type equation has led to a rule of thumb that operating at 10o C below the rated temperature will double a product reliability: conversely, operating at 10o C above could halve it.

 

The simplest and most cost-effective form of cooling is to use fans and filters, and for the UK this will generally be sufficient. Where the cabinet environment requires a high IP rating it, air conditioning or heat exchanges are frequently incorporated in the design. Texa enclosure cooling fans include single, two and three phase to meet your needs ranging from 24AC – 400AC in power as well as 24DV and 48DC.

 

Texa’s EGO range of refrigerant air conditioning units and ventilation fans are designed specifically for use with industrial control and switchgear panels. The surface mounted door air conditioners are quick and easy to install into electrical cabinets, and prevent overheating.  They use a front of panel controller to indicate temperature and alarm status, and can be interfaced with a PLC if required. If required they can be protected to IP54.

 

The Texa product range from 999 Automation includes: enclosure cooling fans; air conditioning units; filters; heaters; thermostats, and roof fans.

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