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When to specify GRP enclosures for electronics

Blog - October 2017

Do you automatically think of diecast alloys when specifying tough enclosures for your industrial electronics? Does G-AlSi12 spring to mind too readily?

If so, you may be on ‘aluminium autopilot’ and missing out on all the opportunities offered by other materials. And we’re not talking stainless steel either, as robust and dependable as that is.

No. It’s time to consider glass reinforced polyester (GRP) enclosures and their strong resistance to a wide range of chemicals including oil, petrol, kerosene, ethylene glycol, cadmium, calcium, naphtha, natural gas, heptanes, hydraulic fluid plus various magnesium, potassium, sodium compounds. From acetic acid to zinc sulphate, the list is huge. See more information on the chemical resistance of GPR here >>

So for this reason, polyester enclosures are suitable for a wide range of applications in the petrochemical and mining sectors where their non-sparking characteristics makes them a safe alternative to metal electronics enclosures.

Here are the questions you need to ask when specifying polyester enclosures for your industrial electronics…

Ingress Protection (IP) Rating

IP ratings are always uppermost in the mind when selecting industrial enclosures and so they should be because there are many definitions of ‘waterproof’. Natural and human-made industrial environments can both be unforgiving – and they tend to punish under-specification in expensive ways.

ROLEC’s three GRP polyester enclosure models are rated as follows:

View our detailed guide to IP ratings for more information.

polyDOOR enclosures with hinged lids

Hinged Lid Or Not?

Lid hinges are important when installing industrial enclosures because so many are destined for inhospitable locations. Dropping the lid is unthinkable when working at height because of the safety, damage and loss implications.

Integrated lid hinges are standard on all eight sizes of our polyDOOR range. Just undo the two lid screws and these clever hinges allow the lid to be removed completely in a few seconds. So there’s no lid flapping about in the way when you’re trying to access hard-to-reach components.

Each size also offers the option of a windowed lid for applications requiring displays. Exterior hinges are available on 10 of the 15 sizes in the polyKOM range – all of which are in industry standard sizes.

polyKOM GRP enclosures in industry standard sizes

Will You Need Industry Standard Sizes?

Opting for industry-standard sizes will make your enclosures interchangeable with other cases. All 15 sizes in the polyKOM range are industry standard but remember that these cases are rated to IP 65. If you need a higher IP rating then we recommend you instead specify the aluminium version aluKOM which is rated to IP 66 as standard.

polyTOP and polyDOOR with optional lid fixings

Tamperproof And Corrosion-Resistant Fixings

First think about the screw channels – will you need the enclosure mounting screws to be in a separate channel to the lid fixing screws? This is the format for our industry-standard polyKOM enclosures.

Or would you prefer ROLEC’s globally patented single channel solution that frees up more space in the enclosure for your components? If so, then we recommend that you specify our polyTOP and polyDOOR enclosures.

And what kind of lid screws will you require? Slotted head screws? Collar head screws or anti-tamper triangular screws? All three are available in the polyTOP and polyDOOR ranges.

Consider how challenging the working environment will be. Think about corrosion-resistant stainless steel mounting brackets (available on all sizes of polyTOP and polyDOOR and on most sizes of polyKOM).

EX GRP Enclosures

Compatibility And Hazardous Areas

GRP polyTOP (IP 66/67) is compatible with the aluNORM (IP 67) range of aluminium enclosures – and polyKOM (IP 66) is compatible with aluKOM (IP 66).

Both polyTOP and polyKOM offer Ex variants that are certified for use in hazardous areas.

Get Expert Advice On Glass Reinforced Polyester (GRP) Enclosures

There’s much more to specifying enclosures than meets the eye. Getting some specialist advice goes a long way.

Contact ROLEC for more information on our polyester GRP enclosures – and ask us for a sample.