Organizations purchase enclosures to protect their hardware (and in turn, their software) from the many electronic-killing hazards a manufacturing or warehouse environment can serve up. But, a hardware enclosure can only be successful in its duties if it’s installed, set up and used properly.
Here are five things an organization should NOT do with a hardware enclosure to ensure it protects the equipment inside correctly.
Add Holes for Ventilation
Sometimes, an organization needs to drill holes into an enclosure to mount it on a wall or shelf or to install an accessory, e.g., climate control unit. Those are acceptable times to add holes to an enclosure, provided the organization takes care not to damage the structural integrity of the enclosure or drill the holes in such a way that it will allow debris inside.
But, an organization should never drill extra holes into an enclosure to “aid” in ventilation.
When an OEM designs and builds a hardware enclosure with some sort of filtration system, it does it in such a way that it creates positive airflow. This helps keep filtered air flowing through the enclosure to cool the machine. By adding extra air holes, an organization can compromise that setup, drastically decreasing the positive air pressure engineered to protect the enclosed electronics from the air loaded with particulates, ultimately making the enclosure moot and putting the hardware in jeopardy.
Use Wrong Filters
Also in regard to air flow, organizations should ensure they’re using the correct filters in their enclosures.
Yes, that might mean paying a bit more for a quality air filter that comes from the OEM. But, that extra cost will be worth it when the equipment lasts longer.
This is because not all filters are created equally. For example, DustShield enclosure filters are effective to .1 micron because of the materials and high quality design. But, other filters don’t filter out as small of particulates. So, if an organization switches to a cheaper, less effective filter, it’s risking those small particulates getting into its system and damaging its hardware.
Along those same lines, don’t leave a filter in too long. It’s way too common to see burned-out fans due to clogged filters, which just results in more costs for an organization.
Clean With Unapproved Chemicals or Products
Material vendors and OEMs can supply Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for their products. These sheets provide details about everything from what chemicals to use to clean a certain material to what tools to use.
If an organization wants to ensure their enclosures are properly cleaned, but not ruined in the process, they should always request the MSDS. Then, supply it to employees. This way, no one unwittingly mars the acrylic surface of a door, for example, by using too harsh of a chemical or something like steel wool to remove residue.
In most cases, just a mild detergent solution and microfiber cloth will suffice, but again, the MSDS can provide more details.
And just because a chemical and cleaning utensil works well on one surface doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for others.
Place Too Close to Wall
As mentioned previously, proper air flow is key to filtering out particulates while still cooling hardware sufficiently.
In addition to using a clean and quality filter, organizations can assure ideal air flow by placing the enclosure away from a wall, or anything else that can block the intake.
DustShield recommends that organizations place the enclosure so there is at least 3” between the wall and the base of the enclosure on the intake side. This provides plenty of room for the air to flow in properly.
Place Under Liquid Flow
An organization should never place an enclosure in a spot where liquids will drip onto the enclosure. If an enclosure is placed in such an area, liquids can run into the enclosure and ruin the equipment inside.
Even if the organization gets a NEMA 4-rated enclosure that protects against water ingress, it’s not a good idea–the liquid can pool on top of the enclosure and harbor harmful bacteria. Depending on the liquid, it could also cause the materials to deteriorate.
At DustShield, we’re dedicated to designing and building high-quality enclosures that protect hardware for a long, long time. In addition, our team is always open to discuss how we can help you keep your equipment running in dangerous environments.