Our homes and vehicles almost always come equipped with ventilation devices to help circulate air, equalize pressure and remove moisture. Whether it’s as simple as a window or as complex as air conditioning, ventilation makes our lives safer and more comfortable.
Many electronic and electrical device enclosures have a similar need for ventilation. The devices that electrical enclosures protect often generate significant levels of heat. Moisture can also accumulate inside electronics enclosures, so it’s important to have electrical enclosure vents that allow it to escape.
Use this short guide to ventilated enclosures to get familiar with all the key basics of enclosure ventilation–from calculating your enclosure’s heat levels to the different types of ventilation available. We’ll also talk about the most important electronics enclosure air vent accessories available from Polycase.
If the device components inside your electronics enclosure generate any significant amount of heat, it’s likely that your enclosure will need some kind of ventilation. Large devices that generate high levels of heat will usually require an engineered mechanical ventilation solution designed specifically for that device and enclosure. Smaller devices with lower input power can often take advantage of surface area dissipation, heat sinks and various passive venting strategies.
To find out whether your enclosure should be vented, you’ll first need to ascertain the level of heat rise that will occur inside. To do this, you’ll find your device’s input power and use a sealed enclosure temperature rise graph to determine its level of temperature increase. For easy step-by-step instructions on using one of these graphs, read our guide to calculating sealed enclosure temperature rise.
When calculating your enclosure’s temperature rise and ventilation needs, be sure to consult with the engineering and manufacturing staff responsible for the device in question. Through their specialized knowledge, they can provide a more sophisticated picture of your device’s heat dissipation needs.
There are two major categories of enclosure ventilation: passive and forced air.
For maximum efficacy, either ventilation method can be paired with other heat dissipation methods, including heat sinks and enclosure finishes that increase surface area dissipation.
If passive ventilation is sufficient for your application, several types of ventilation may suit your needs. Louver vents are among the most popular built-in ventilation types, as their slanted design provides some protection from dust and liquid ingress. However, many venting accessories are also available to create air circulation in your enclosure without compromising its integrity.
Polycase Vent Plug
Polycase is a leader in industrial and commercial electronic device enclosures. Although Polycase’s enclosures don’t come with built-in vents, we offer several types of enclosure venting devices that can help control heat and moisture inside your enclosure:
Polycase also offers custom CNC machined cutouts on many of our enclosure models. These cutouts make it quick and easy to outfit your electronics enclosure with ventilation devices. It’s simple—just send us a CAD file of your required cutouts and our state-of-the-art precision CNC machining will do the rest. Alternatively, our SK Series enclosures are polycarbonate NEMA 4X and IP66 rated “knockout boxes” that come equipped with pre-cut knockouts for easy attachment of venting accessories.
Polycase SK-13 enclosure with pre-cut knockouts
Need some advice on proper enclosure ventilation? Polycase’s enclosure experts will be glad to help. Just contact us online or call us at 1-800-248-1233 for more information.