What Are NEMA Types And Why Do They Matter for Your Enclosure?

NEMA Type 4X Dual Cabinet Cooler System in 316 Stainless Steel

Electrical enclosures and control cabinets come in all shapes, sizes and colors. They all have the same job, to protect and house critical electronics in order to ensure a machine or piece of equipment can safely operate.  These electronics and enclosures are also located in a variety of environments that differ just as much as the panels themselves.  With that, different requirements and needs to protect the internal components of the cabinet are needed.  A systematic approach to designate the requirements for these panels to meet the needs of different environments was designated by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association.  Thus, the NEMA rating was created.

Currently, there are nearly 20 different NEMA classifications that enclosures can be designed for and operate within. EXAIR offers three main NEMA types which are the most commonly found within industrial facilities as well as an additional two that are designated strictly for Hazardous Locations and are separately certified by UL to meet those standards.

NEMA Type 12 Cabinet Cooler System protects an HMI on a machine tool.

NEMA Type 12 enclosures are constructed mainly to be used indoors and to protect personnel in the area from any hazardous equipment such as electrical contacts or transformers. This also helps to protect those electronics from things like foreign matter in the air around the panel and keep any kind of drips of moisture from getting into the electronics. These are found in most general light assembly or industrial environments.

EXAIR NEMA Type 4 Cabinet Cooler System protects against direct water.

NEMA Type 4 enclosures are a few steps up from NEMA Type 12 in the level of protection they give the internal electronics. These are suitable for indoor or outdoor use to protect both personnel and the internal cabinet components from the environment.  They are dust and airtight as well as protect from the ingress of water and ice. These can be found in washdown environments, hot environments, or extremely dirty environments throughout industry.

EXAIR NEMA 4X Cabinet Cooler Systems are made of corrosion-resistant stainless steel for corrosive environments and are also available with Side Mount Kits.

NEMA Type 4X enclosures are similar to NEMA Type 4 as far as that they protect for and the environments they are suited for, the standard also adds a level of corrosion resistance to the panels which permit them for use around certain chemicals and/or outdoors in certain facility environments.

Hazardous Location Cabinet Cooler Systems

The last type to be discussed is the Hazardous Locations that are offered in both NEMA Type 4 and NEMA Type 4X ratings.  These environments are under strict classifications and EXAIR follows the UL Classified certifications for these restricted areas.

If the panel or environment within a given facility is in a different NEMA type than the ones mentioned above it can often be remedied by going to the next highest level.  For instance, NEMA Type 5 rated enclosures could be protected by a NEMA Type 4 and still maintain their integrity.

If you would like to discuss NEMA ratings or what type of panel may be within your facility, please contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

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