22 Jul 2024


Outdoor plastics enclosures ‘redefine’ the technology

There are 14 variants in the outdoor-proof plastic enclosures family, including several with viewing windows

The German enclosure-maker Rittal claims that it is “completely redefining” plastic enclosure technology with a new family of enclosures designed to protect electrical components even in harsh outdoor environments. The new AX enclosures – which replace the previous KS series – incorporate new mounting functions said to make rapid expansion possible and to provide more scope for installations using smart technologies. For the first time, says Rittal, they will transform plastic housings into enclosure systems, with enhanced scope for interior installation.

The plastic enclosures are based on Rittal’s new generation of sheet-steel and stainless-steel enclosures that it launched in 2019, and are designed to simplify and speed up manufacturing processes in panel building and switchgear manufacturing. The plastic enclosures support the same system technology.

The result, says Rittal, is an enclosure family that allows the greatest possible simplification, speed and design freedom, while satisfying demands for safety and robustness. Whether inside a factory or outdoors, the plastic enclosures have been designed withstand all extremes.

They are available in 14 variants ranging in size from 250mm wide x 350mm high, to 800mm x 1,000mm. Eight of the variants are available with viewing windows, and six without.

The plastic materials are reinforced with glass fibre and have a high UV resistance. They have a UL F1 outdoor rating (UL 746C). Integrated rain protection strips on the upper and lower edges of the doors protect the gaskets against dust and rainwater, and provide double sealing.

The use of Class II insulation rated up to 1kV AC enhances personal protection, and this is combined with IP66 or Nema 4X ingress protection. The enclosures are also UL 508A approved and have UL94 fire class V-0 certification.

Numerous mounting bosses inside the housings facilitate speedy assembly. They allow accessories such as punched sections and rails to be screw-fastened to the enclosure interiors and rear panels quickly and directly. Door-operated switches and door stays can also be attached directly to the mounting bosses.

Top-hat rails can be screwed onto the mounting bosses anywhere inside an enclosure. Mounting plates can be screwed easily from the front using pre-assembled bolts, and can be earthed later via keyholes. Once an enclosure has been populated, its door hinge can be changed quickly and simply.

QR codes on all of the panels to be machined makes it easier to integrate them into production workflows, paving the way for digital monitoring at all stages from goods receipt through to completion. Rittal’s Configuration System and availability of 3D data are said to accelerate the selection and planning processes.

Punched sections and rails can be mounted on a 25mm pitch pattern with the help of universal brackets. The mounting bosses both in the enclosure and on the inside of the door also allow custom expansion. Accessories such as support strips, punched sections and wiring plan pockets can be installed directly in the doors, giving users an extra mounting surface. As an option, the enclosures can be equipped with a mini comfort handles for common lock inserts and profile semi-cylinder locks.

Nuts are pressed into the rear panel to ensure stable fastening and mounting on walls or poles. Wall-mounting brackets can be attached to the outside of the enclosure without affecting the UL approval. As an option, the enclosures can also be screw-fastened to a wall or a machine.

Rittal says that with the new plastic enclosures it is offering the best of two worlds – sophisticated technologies combined with robust materials.