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Watch Out for Overheating Control Panels

Before the Warm Summer Season, Do the Maintenance of Your Control Panels

The temperature of a control panel must never exceed a certain limit. We know that electrical and electronic components already release heat in an electrical enclosure. If the outside temperature is also warmer than usual (such as in summer) There are risks of problems... sometimes expensive ones.

Rule of Thumb for the Maintenance of Your Electrical Control Panels

It's not complicated : the warmer the temperature, the more the lifespan of a control panel and its components will be affected. Therefore, it is no surprise that enclosure manufacturers such as Rittal provide various ventilation and air conditionning units. The problems to be expected because of high temperature depend on the type of electrical or electronic components inside the electrical enclosure but rule of thumb, if temperature inside the electrical panel reaches over 77 degrees, there are genuine risks of problems. Cables and cable ducts, wires and terminal blocks on the other hand can withstand much higher temperatures (104 degrees on average).

Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) and Drives that Generate Faults

Electronic components are particularly capricious to heat. Such is the case of programmable logic controllers. Variable speed drives, soft starts and overload relays of electric motors are also components that are likely to create faults if the temperature of a control panel reaches abnormally high in summer.

4 Solutions to Protect Your Control Panels from Heat

Measure the temperature regularly with a temperature gun and create a log of it.

Ventilate your control panels (with fans) or consider adding a cooling or air conditioning unit.

Tropicalize : when you purchase a new variable speed drive (VFD) or soft start, make sure it was tropicalized by experts. When you send your VFD to an industrial electronics maintenance shop, even if its not brand-new, tropicalization is always possible.

Ask for thermograhy: Many electrical specialits offer thermography services. Hire them to check your control panel before the warm season in order to find out abnormal hot spots. Some components may already be overheating at an ideal ambient temperature so imagine in the summer... Thermography also insures that every bit of electrical energy is not wasted. There are many advantages to thermography.

In conclusion, when you open an electrical enclosure such as a control panel (safely!) take the time to verify its general look and the state of its components: the identification of wires, the state of connections, the tighteness of screws and clamps, etc.


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