Temperature vs equipment: who will win?

Rittal UK’s product manager for climate control, Karl Lycett, highlights the damaging effects of rising enclosure temperatures and offers a solution 

In the battle of rising temperature vs electrical equipment, who will win? The answer is easy. Temperature always wins in the long run. PLCs, drives and transformers are built for stressful conditions, but they have limits. 

Enclosure temperature can make a drastic difference to equipment performance. PLC or drive manuals should present a chart showing rated output compared with operating temperature. Typically, as the temperature rises, maximum output reduces and quickly it drops off a cliff. This means new equipment may never actually achieve its maximum designed output because of the environment. If specific performance goals are set, equipment would need to be over specified, resulting in higher costs and wasted budget. 

There is also a strong correlation between an electrical component’s lifespan compared to its operating conditions. As temperature rises, the lifetime reduces. 

There may be instances where equipment toughs it out for a few extra years, struggling in the heat, but what happens the day it finally fails? It’s the middle of summer, production is in full flow to meet demand and suddenly everything grinds to a halt. Costs start piling up and engineers are scrambling to find the issue before they can even begin to consider fixing it. 

So, having painted that happy picture, what can be done to prevent it?  

Rittal can help as a specialist in enclosure climate control products and trusted advisor. With our RiAssure service, one of Rittal’s trained staff can visit a site and provide a free cooling review. This starts with a visual inspection of existing enclosures and cooling equipment.  From this, Rittal can ascertain the next best step for the equipment and provide ongoing, best practice suggestions so that the operations benefit from increased longevity, life and profit. 

Equipment operators shouldn’t put it out of their mind, thinking it will be ok and leaving it until it’s too late. Deal with this head on and rest easy during the summer knowing the equipment is happy and working to its full potential.