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NEMA Enclosure Types Explained

  • 3 min read

In today's modern world, technology and electronics are prevalent and very integrated into everyday life. While they have significantly contributed to increasing our quality of life, electronic components are still delicate and susceptible to failure. Electricity can also be harmful to humans and animals or damage other equipment. Enclosures provide a solution to these problems by protecting users and shielding the components within.

The National Electrical Manufacturer Association (NEMA) uses a standardized rating system to help define what protection is offered, and the environments enclosures can withstand. NEMA believes having this system in place will benefit both the manufacturer and end-user. A clear understanding of an enclosure's capabilities and attributes helps improve communication and safety, lowering the chance of workplace accidents and death.

NEMA Ratings Chart

 Rating

Definition

1
  • General usage, prevent contact with live parts
  • Indoor use
  • Not dust-tight but protects against dust, light, and indirect splashing
2
  • Drip-tight
  • Similar to Type 1 but with drop shields
  • Ideal for environments with condensation
3
  • Weather-resistant (rain, snow, etc.)
  • Can withstand ice formation
  • Protects against falling dirt and windblown dust
  • Ideal for outdoor use
3R
  • Type 3 but does not protect against windblown dust
3S
  • Type 3 and can be used when ice laden
3X / 3RX / 3SX
  • X represents corrosion protection 
  • Useful for environments near salt water
4 / 4X
  • Watertight (Excluding at least 65 GPM of water from 1" nozzle at >10ft for 5 minutes)
  • Outdoor usage
5
  • Dust-tight
  • Uses gaskets or something similar to protect against dust
  • Popular in cement plants and steel mills
6 / 6P
  • Can be submerged depending on pressure and time in water or oil
  • P represents prolonged submersion
  • Neither are intended for constant submersion 
7
  • Labelled and certified for usage in environments with certain hazardous conditions
  • Indoor use in Class I, Groups A, B, C, and D locations*
8
  • Labelled and certified for usage in environments with certain hazardous conditions
  • Indoor and outdoor use in Class I, Groups A, B, C, and D locations*
9
  • Labelled and certified for usage in environments with certain hazardous conditions
  • Indoor and outdoor use in Class II, Groups E, F, or G locations*
10
  • Meets the Mine Safety and Health Administration, 30 CFR Part 18 (1978) requirements
11
  • General usage
  • Protects against liquid and gas corrosion
  • Meets corrosion and drip-resistance tests
12 / 12K
  • General usage
  • Ideal for indoor use
  • Meets dust, drip, and rust resistance tests
13
  • General usage 
  • Protects against dust, water sprays, and non-corrosive coolants
  • Meets oil exclusion and rust resistance tests

 

Class II

Environment

Class II

Environment

A Acetylene  E Metal dusts
B Hydrogen F Carbonaceous dust
C Ethylene G Non-conductive dusts
D Propane
Methane

 

Evaluating Enclosures

It's important to remember never to assume an enclosure or product rating, especially if it's required to meet standards. Sometimes the IP Code may also be relevant to the NEMA rating and project. For a better understanding of IP Ratings, view our blog post.

So, what are some of the adverse effects of choosing the wrong NEMA rating? If the enclosure has a higher level of protection than needed, you may be overspending. If it is lower, then you risk damaging equipment. Luckily, our team of experts are always ready to help! TCH can provide access hardware that will match your requirements and enclosure ratings. For more information, contact us online, by phone or email.

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