While often overlooked, wall-mounted enclosures are critical to protecting and securing domestic and industrial electrical systems. These simple, albeit essential, enclosures can be as small as housings for switchgear and sockets or as large as cabinets to protect more sophisticated switchboards and systems.
This article discusses everything you need to know about wall-mounted enclosures, their properties, and their applications.
What is a wall-mounted enclosure?
Commonly referred to as a ‘wall box,’ a wall-mounted enclosure is a secure cabinet designed to house different hardware components and equipment. It has a panel door, providing access to such elements that can include the following:
- System switches and boards
- Potentially hazardous sub-components, such as those used in electrical systems
- Delicate and sensitive networks, such as those found in IT and industrial operations
- Other systems located outdoors that require weatherproof housings
Depending on the need, wall-mounted enclosures are available for indoor and outdoor use, protecting the components and systems from dirt, dust, moisture, and other elements that can compromise or cause damage to the system. If you need protection for smaller switchgears, check out this website.
As alluded to earlier, they come in a wide range of sizes and configurations to suit every need and are made from a variety of robust materials. This can include:
- Metal: The most popular variants come in sheet and carbon steel, more commonly used for housing various electronics. Metal wall-mounted enclosures also have IP-rated variants to offer weather protection.
- Stainless steel: Stainless steel is also commonly used for protecting electrical components, but these enclosures are preferred for more hazardous or environmentally harsher settings.
- Plastic: There are different types of plastic, with sturdier ones made from polycarbonate, thermoplastics, and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). Plastic enclosures come in a range of Ingress Protection (IP) ratings and offer excellent impact resistance and thermal protection.
The choice of wall-mounted enclosure material depends on the type of protection required. There are those designed to withstand high impacts and other challenging conditions. Other wall boxes can also protect the people around them from potential hazards or prevent unauthorised tampering with the system. Where physical protection is less of a concern, there are wall boxes, such as in a switch cover case, with transparent doors for easy visual access.
Wall-mounted enclosure applications
As you can see, storage, protection, and security are the primary functions of wall-mounted enclosures. As such, wall boxes can have many use cases, particularly in configurations, such as electrical systems, data centres, and similar networking environments. It’s such an integral part of modern life that the electrical enclosure market surpassed USD$8 billion in 2022.
Other wall-mounted enclosure applications include the following:
- Storing and protecting electrical switches and other terminal components
- Storing computer components, such as in data, CPU, and network switch enclosures
- Networking systems in telecommunications operations
- Switchboard boxes protecting industrial power and control systems
- Housing security systems while protecting them from the elements
- Providing IP in systems that require water resistance, such as those in swimming pools and saunas
- Housing and protecting virtually any hardware system
These equipment enclosures can effectively be seen in any domestic or industrial setting where protecting hardware components are required. Apart from storage and security, wall-mounted enclosures also provide space-saving solutions while making systems easier to access at eye level.
Other wall-mounted enclosure considerations
Below are other wall box properties you should consider when shopping for the appropriate protection for your system.
- Ventilation and thermal protection
Whether metal, stainless steel, or plastic, wall-mounted enclosures usually have vents along the sides or door panels to offer thermal management capabilities. Electrical components can generate heat under regular use. When untempered, high temperatures can affect the system’s performance, cause damage, or lead to more significant wear.
- IP ratings
As mentioned earlier, wall-mounted enclosures can come with various IP ratings. To the uninitiated, IP ratings are international standards measuring structural protection against foreign elements and moisture. These ratings are comprised of two digits (e.g., IP67): The first one refers to the structure’s protection against intrusive elements (such as dirt and dust), while the second digit refers to the protection against light sprays, condensation, and more pronounced water contact.
Wall-mounted enclosures usually have a locking function, depending on the security and protection required. These can range from quick-release locking mechanisms to barred locks and padlocked casings.
If your system requires protection from electrical surges, it’s best to look for poled enclosures. As you might surmise, these wall boxes are ideal for switchboards and other electrical systems.
Wall-mounted enclosures – either for switches or more complex systems – are simple yet critical components of various everyday systems. If you’re looking for a wall box, make sure to take the above points into careful consideration. This will allow you to get the wall-mounted enclosure with the features necessary to protect whatever system you need it for.