Preventing Condensation in Electrical Enclosures

Condensation is the act of a substance transitioning from its gas form to its liquid form. Condensation is a common phenomenon in nature, and we have all seen condensation of water on a bathroom mirror or on the surface of a glass holding a cold drink. Condensation occurs when the temperature of a surface drops below the dewpoint temperature – a dynamic, not static, temperature point that depends upon the interplay between humidity and ambient temperature.

While condensation may look beautiful in the form of the morning dew, it can wreak havoc with valuable electronic equipment. This moisture can cause rust, corrosion, short circuiting and electric shock – proving at the least to be expensive and at the most to be dangerous.

How to prevent condensation in Electrical Cabinets?

Pfannenberg, which specializes in providing solutions for thermal management systems, has its finger on the pulse of how to prevent condensation in enclosures – such as electrical cabinets – that need to be kept free of moisture.

The first tip has to do with controlling the enclosure temperature. “Traditionally, in an enclosure, we are going to recommend keeping the temperature somewhere between the 85-degree and 95-degree Fahrenheit mark,” says Pfannenberg sales representative Adam Wells. “That generally represents a comfortable place for the electronics as well as for keeping it warm enough to avoid that dew point temperature.”

Pfannenberg experts also recommend using dehumidifiers in enclosures with high humidity or that are not completely sealed to prevent condensation. Typical dehumidifiers use a desiccant or some type of silica gel to wick moisture out of the air. Air conditioning units can also act to collect any condensate that may build up on the internal side of an enclosure and be dispersed into the environment with the help of a condensate evaporator.

Air conditioning units can also act to collect any condensate that may build up on the internal side of an enclosure and be dispersed into the environment with the help of a condensate evaporator.

Hygrostat FLZ 600

An unusual device known as a hygrostat can also be used to monitor the humidity levels in an enclosure. Originally made of horsehair, hygrostats are now made with synthetic hairs that expand and contract depending on the amount of water in the air. The same can be seen happening in human hair – for example when hair gets curlier on a humid day.

Another way to open the door to condensation is, literally, by opening a door. Pfannenberg sales representative Chris Marlow explains, “If you have an enclosure, and you have a cooling device in there, and you don’t turn off the device when you open the doors, you can get condensation build up inside that enclosure just from exposing air to that decrease in temperature.”

 

For more information on how to protect valuable electric equipment from condensation, visit Pfannenberg’s lively webinar discussion on this topic at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/6751272280717546255.

Prevent Summer Overheating with Pfannenberg Enclosure Cooling Solutions

Preventing enclosure overheating in the summer can be a challenge for many factories, where temperatures can rise fast during hot days! The high summer temperatures are often the cause of overheating of electrical components located inside the enclosures reducing their lifespan, while also contributing to downtime and repairs.

When this happens, the user often makes the same mistake: open the door panel (and sometimes use a fan) to remove heat and cool the components. In doing so, they allow dust, oils and surrounding debris to get inside the cabinet risking the damaging of sensitive electronic components.

To ensure that sensitive electronics maintain their rated life expectancy and that they function reliably, proper regulation of the enclosure climate is necessary.

Determine the Proper Enclosure Thermal Management

Electronics are typically most efficient in an environment where the humidity is low and the temperature is approximately 95°F. As the temperature in an enclosure rises it can have a lasting effect on the electronics. Tests have shown that an increase in temperature of as little as 18°F shortens the life expectancy of electrical components by more than 50%.

Enclosure Climate control prevents critical temperature fluctuations, avoids overheating and protects against the formation of condensate. It is essentially the backbone of your entire production process, prolonging the life of your electronics and protecting your investment.

To choose the best Thermal Management Solution you first need to understand your environment. Indeed, the environment in the electrical enclosure can be affected by weather conditions, solar radiation or other external temperature sources.

As an example, An Air to Water Heat Exchanger will be adapted to an enclosure placed in a factory that faces hot weather spikes or an extremely dirt or caustic environment compared to traditional industrial air conditioners.

Electronics sensitive to electromagnetic interference may need a shielded EMC Filterfan®. An enclosure located outdoors or in a humid environment may require hygrostats or thermostats and heaters to eliminate the formation of condensate, leading to corrosion and short circuiting.

Pfannenberg Sizing Software (PSS)

To determine the proper thermal management solution, Pfannenberg Engineers developed a powerful web-based Sizing Software to help you configure Filterfans™, cooling units, air/water heat exchangers, and heaters for electrical enclosures. The easy to use interface, works for both indoor and outdoor applications and helps you calculate the heat dissipation in a cabinet, component by component.

Need more help choosing the best Enclosure Cooling Solution? Ask us you question now!

Pfannenberg Announces New Outdoor Filterfan® (TYPE 3R)

High-Airflow Fan Operates Outdoors in a Range of Conditions Without Requiring a Rainhood

Lancaster, NY – Pfannenberg, Inc., a leading global manufacturer of thermal management technologies, announces the new Outdoor Filterfan®, a rainproof filter fan with an unrivaled airflow suitable for outdoor weather conditions, which makes a rainhood unnecessary for most applications.

Pfannenberg’s Outdoor Filterfans® are certified to TYPE 3R. providing electrical enclosures with protection against ingress of falling dirt, harmful effects of rain, sleet, snow and external ice formation. Further, it features UV resistance plastic to prevent premature degradation from direct sunlight. Traditional outdoor solutions would require installation of a rainhood over the filter fan. Pfannenberg’s Outdoor Filterfan® eliminates the component cost and labor for installing such a rainhood.

Like the millions of field-installed Filterfans® 4.0, the Outdoor Filterfan® reaches a particularly high airflow with flow optimized fins and rotor blades. The fluted filter-mat provides 3x longer service life by holding more dust before airflow is impeded, extending the mean time between maintenance (MTBM) for outdoor enclosures. The new series maintains the 11 patented features, including a patented 4-corner fastening system that allows toolless installation in seconds in most enclosure wall thickness.

Pfannenberg’s new Outdoor Filterfans® are offered with eight different airflows in multiple sizes and voltage (AC & DC). It is also available in two colors – Black and Light Grey. The family includes matching exhaust filters for a complete setup for your enclosures. They are UL listed, NEMA, CE and RoHS compliant.

Click here to learn more

3 Solutions to Protect your Electrical Enclosures From Condensation and Humidity

What is condensation?

Formation of condensation is one of the biggest dangers for electrical enclosures. Condensation is caused by hot, humid air coming into contact with a colder surface than the air dew point.

With Spring’s typical variable weather conditions, outdoor enclosures are even more exposed to the risk of condensation. Condensation can also occur indoors if the humidity is too high.

When the humidity is high is does not take a large change in temperature to cause condensate to form inside the cabinet.

How to prevent condensation?

The most efficient solution is to combine Filterfans® and Heaters with control devices such as Hygrostats and Thermostats. Fan Heaters are typically used in outdoor applications where ambient temperature can threaten sensitive electronics. Radiant Heaters are often used to reduce humidity and control condensate within the enclosure.

1. Filterfans® + Rainhoods

Filterfans® are the ideal solution for clean, non-hazardous environments with an acceptable ambient (outside the enclosure) temperature range.

Designed for use with standard Filterfans®Pfannenberg’s new Rainhoods (Patent Pending) protect your application from harsh environments like rain, water spray, snow or fluids from being drawn into the enclosure.  This product feature a robust design rated to NEMA TYPE 3R/4/4x and IPx6 when used with Pfannenberg Filterfans®.

Adding a Heater to your Filterfan® + Rainhood solution will ensure a proper humidity control. This combination is the optimum solution for the economical and energy efficient cooling of electrical enclosure components.

2. Fan Heaters

Pfannenberg Heaters prevent condensate build up and therefore protect against corrosion.

Compact fan heater with thermostatFan HeaterMini radiant heaterThe PFH-T Fan Heaters with Thermostat are designed to protect electronics from the effects of low temperatures such as corrosion, freezing or condensation, which can damage critical components within a control enclosure.

The PRH-M Mini Radiant Heaters are ideal for small outdoor enclosures, preventing condensate formation.

The FLH Heaters are ideal for use in larger electrical enclosures.

3. Thermostats / Hygrostats

Industrial ThermostatHygrostat FLZ 600

Pfannenberg’s Hygrostats allow you to effectively control the humidity level inside the enclosure. These devices are used to start the heater or filterfan® if the predetermined humidity threshold is reached.

When combining a Pfannenberg Thermostat with a Filterfan®, the fan can be controlled to turn on and off based on the temperature inside the cabinet.

The benefits to this combined system are:
• Extended fan life.
• Reduced energy consumption.
• Reduced consumables and maintenance.

As a system; Filterfans, Heaters, Thermostats and Hygrostats will ensure that the environment within the enclosure is ideal for the performance and service life of the critical electronics.

 

Reliable Enclosure Cooling for Commercial Bakeries

Customer Requirement

Pfannenberg worked with a bakery end user to develop a cooling solution for their control cabinets.  Most of the OEM equipment installed in the bakery called for air conditioners to cool the drives. PLCs and additional electronics. Most times Cooling units can be a convenient and effective method for cooling electronics, except when located in dusty, humid areas within the plant.

These AC units failed regularly and had to be replaced. This was not a sustainable solution as the customer had constant issues with clogging coils and overheating panels.

Once a panel overheated they had to either: not operate the machine, or operate the cabinets with the doors open. This would let all the contaminants that were hurting the AC units into the cabinet, damaging the drives and other components.

The Pfannenberg Solution

To use the chilled Glycol that was already present for other machine processes to provide the cooled liquid source for our PWS Air to Water Heat Exchangers.

The solution included:

  • A reliable cooling solution designed for harsh environments
  • Reduced maintenance.  Once installed the units only have just one moving part, so regular maintenance is not necessary
  • Eliminating equipment failures, means greater uptime
  • Reduced energy costs with the PWS units
  • UL Tested NEMA Type 4/4X – washdown

Customer Benefits

Pfanneneberg’s PWS Series Air/Water Heat Exchanger was the precise solution for the problems our customer experienced. Incorporating Air/Water Heat Exchangers improved performance, reduced maintenance, was energy efficient, and prevented unplanned repairs.

 

Spring Cleaning – 3 Steps you Can Take to Prepare your Cooling Units for the Stress of the Summer Heat

With hotter temperatures just around the corner we’ve put together this Preventative Maintenance Video to help you prepare your enclosure cooling units for the stress of summer heat.

To avoid any critical component failure, follow the 3 simple steps below to help ensure your enclosure cooling units stay up running all summer. Don’t Wait Until it’s Too Late!

STEP 1: Make Sure your Condenser Coils are Clean

The condenser coils are one of the most important components of your Cooling Unit, they ensure the reliable, cost efficient and long-term operation of your unit. When dirt, dust or debris builds up on your condenser coils, it can have a major effect on the performance of your cooling unit.

STEP 2: Check your Fan Motors and Inside/Outside Electrical Components

In order to prevent failure, the cooling unit’s fan motor and fan blades need to be inspected to determine wear and damage.  All the electrical components in the control box also need to be checked to make sure all connections aren’t damaged or loose.

STEP 3: Set your Unit to the Recommended Proper Temperature

Pfannenberg sets the dip-switches on the control board to 95°F/35°C in the factory, and recommends that the dip switch settings are not altered.

*Having the dip-switch temperature set to a lower point can cause damage not only to the cooling unit, but to the composure as well.  Changing the set point can cause the cooling unit to run excessively, possibly causing damage to the compressor and other components.  It can also cause the enclosure to produce condensate, possibly damaging electrical components inside the cabinet.


Contact us for recommended spare parts or getting your orders in now for new or replacement cooling units.

Enclosure Cooling for Commercial Bakeries? Easy As Pie!

In today’s modern lifestyle, frozen foods have played a major role in providing convenience to customers.  Pies – a family fall favorite, often take time that many families do not have. This is the time of the year where kids are back to school, parents are running all over doing drop-offs and pick-ups, rushing to work; taking the time to bake or make a full meal is often difficult.  Large industrial bakeries can manufacture roughly 200,000 frozen pies a day.  There is a high demand in this modern age for this aspect of convenience.

 

The two most important characteristics of creating a great tasting pie are the filling and the crust.  For the filling, fruit is mixed with sugar, cinnamon, honey and other spices (depending on the type of filling) in a large sauce pan. Ingredients are heated and mixed to combine the flavors for the filling.

This process requires automation components such as VFDs in large electrical control panels to operate the system. Heat is a by-product of this process and Pfannenberg’s PWS Air to Water Heat Exchangers are ideal for cooling electrical components.

Pfannenberg’s Air Water Heat Exchangers utilize chilled water, that is readily available, and an internal fan to provide cooled air preventing critical electronics from overheating. These units are particularly adapted for harsh environments like bakeries when there’s flour everywhere.

These pies are then moved to the depositing machine, where the filling is then dropped into the pie sheets.  The lid of crust is then placed on the filled fruit pie.  These lids are mass produced and “forked” or sealed to give that touch as if it was just like our mothers or grandmothers homemade pie. These top crust lids help seal in the filling when the pie is being baked at home.  Once sealed, the pies are moved to a blast freezer for rapid chilling.

Once chilled the pie is then moved to be packed and shipped off to local grocery stores.To make that flakey-buttery crust, shortening, flour, and other ingredients are mixed together in a large industrial mixer.  When the dough is done being mixed, the dough is compressed into equal sized squares and dropped into baking pie sheets.  Here, they move along the process and the dough squares are pressed down on the pie sheets to form the bottom crust layer.

The manufacturing processes of frozen pies are a delicate procedure. Temperature control of the equipment and the product is important to producing a flavorful, flakey, and scrumptious pie crust.

So what will it be?  One slice or the entire pie?  Ice cream or whipped cream? Next time you are enjoying a piece of pie, be sure to appreciate the process it takes to produce such a delicate indulgence!


Click Here to download the Bakery Air to Water PWS Case Study.


KUADROTEK – Cooling the cabinets of the inverter stations for the 35 MW Ashalim photovoltaic plant, in Israel.

The plant includes the world’s tallest solar tower

The Ashalim power station is located in the Negev desert near the kibbutz of Ashalim, in Israel. The station will provide 250 Megawatt of hybrid PV-solarthermal electricity (2.5% of the Israeli consumption), which makes it the largest of its kind in Israel and one of the largest in the world. The station will combine 3 kinds of energy: solar thermal energy, photovoltaic energy, and natural gas. The PV plant has been connected to the grid in January 2018. Pfannenberg’s cooling units have been mounted in Kuadrotek’s cabinets for inverter stations.

The Customer

Kuadrotek SA, from Tarragona, is part of the Spanish Elektra Group. It specialises in the design, development and implementation of electric switchboards and control panels for the automation of installations and industrial processes in the automotive and energy industries.

Kuadrotek has delivered the electrical cabinets for the inverter stations of the 35 MW photovoltaic plant. Pfannenberg’s cooling units will ensure the perfect thermal management and operational safety for their components.

The Application

PV power plants are built across the globe, including areas of high altitude, extreme temperature, proximity to the sea, and desert areas impacted by sand and dust.

The inverter is the heart of every PV plant; it converts direct current of the PV modules into grid-compliant alternating current and feeds this into the public grid. At the same time, it controls and monitors the entire plant.

Controlling the temperature inside the electrical cabinets – and therefore guarantee the health of its components – it’s a crucial task.

The Solution

After taking into consideration different options of the competition, Kuadrotek chose Pfannenberg’s Outdoor Type 3R/4 side mount cooling units – model DTS 3161 230 V – because of the high protection level (comparable to IP 56) together with the reliability of working in extreme conditions. It offers a cooling capacity of 1235 W in a very compact design – 395 x 748 x 237 mm only.

It is available in 3 models; DTS 3141 (NEMA Type 12) for indoor use, DTS 3161 (NEMA Type 3R/4) designed for outdoor use, and the stainless steel DTS 3181 (NEMA Type 4/4x) designed for washdown applications.

The full DTS 3000 series was designed utilizing high temperature compressors and larger condensers to best perform in outdoor applications which require a maximum ambient temperature of 55 °C – such as roadside, rooftop or desert locations.

NEMA rating can be compared with IP rating – although there is no direct correspondence – but the first one is more complete and also includes other factors such as the protection from corrosion. NEMA Type 3R/4 is equivalent to IP 56. Moreover, Pfannenberg cooling units from NEMA series are UL listed.

 

“Our relationship with Kuadrotek is strengthened thanks to the reliability of the products already used in other large photovoltaic plants in the world. This is also why Kuadrotek continues to choose our products over our competitors.” Xavier Pedescoll – Sales Area Manager. Pfannenberg Iberia

 

Facts at a glance

  • Task: Control cabinet cooling in the Negev desert, Israel.
  • Application: Ashalim power station, a PV-solarthermal plant
  • Solution: n.12 DTS 3161 230 V cooling units
  • Success factors:
    • high quality products
    • highest level of protection for extreme outdoor conditions
    • long term agreement with Pfannenberg regarding warranty and worldwide support.

Pfannenberg’s Air/Water Heat Exchangers withstand dust, dirt, and even sterile environments

Pfannenberg’s Air/Water Heat Exchangers offer a solution to fix your thermal management problems in washdown areas, areas with high amounts of particulate or even sterile environments.

Built for both harsh and sterile environments:

The sealed cabinet provides contaminant-free component cooling without adding heat to the local environment. It provides an excellent economic solution where plant water is available or when used in conjunction with a process chiller.  It’s sealed design and available stainless steel, NEMA Type 4/4X construction provides a maintenance free solution with no exposed fans or maintenance of filters required.

With IP 56 protection, our Air/Water Heat Exchangers satisfy the toughest environments. They are available with a corrosion protected hood in brushed stainless steel with epoxy-coated copper pipes and condensers; they offer reliable protection against alkaline solutions and acids. As a high-temperature model, they are also suitable for use in hot environments with temperatures ranging up to 140 °F (60 °C).

Customized solution for Pharmaceutical Industry

Customer Requirement

A system integrator contacted Pfannenberg looking for a thermal management solution for their customer’s plant expansion project. The original design called for building a control panel with supported thermal management for a pharmaceutical application. The challenge was that this system would be located in a Class I, Div II environment, meaning the enclosure and components had to be explosion proof. To remain competitive in price, the system integrator needed an alternate solution to an explosion proof AC unit.

The Pfannenberg Solution

Our engineering team worked closely with the system integrator to develop a solution. The pharmaceutical plant did have water available (60°F at 7gpm flow) and there were no size constraints. Our solution was a customized PWS Air/Water Heat Exchanger.

The solution included:

  • Increasing the overall envelope of the panel
  • Mounting a customized PWS Air to Water Heat Exchanger directly inside the panel
  • The enclosure remained sterile and explosion proof because everything remained inside the cabinet

Customer Benefits

Installing the thermal management product inside the enclosure meant reduced installation and maintenance costs for the customer. In addition the end user also saves money as their available water is used to cool the enclosures. The Air to Water Heat Exchanger provides sustainable efficiency and reliable performance in harsh environments.

Pfannenberg EB Chillers: Tailor-made Solution for a Rail Component Manufacturer


Customer Requirement

A rail component manufacturer needed a solution to eliminate downtime caused from the overheating of their track drilling unit.  The current system used 2 undersized chillers, unable to keep up with the cooling requirements, especially when the ambient temperatures in the plant rose due to the hot afternoon sun.

The Pfannenberg Solution

An analysis carried out on location with the customer revealed that the cooling capacity of the two chillers no longer corresponded with the current requirements.  The cooling system needed to be redesigned.

Taking the temporarily intermittent high ambient temperature in the factory into account, the choice fell on our high performance EB 90 chiller.  This unit has an integrated control module which allows for precise temperature control of the cooling medium.EB_Chiller_drawing.jpg

The solution excels due to:

  • Separate cooling and hydraulic circuits
  • Control module to program small hysteresis of the oil temperature
  • Use at ambient temperatures of up to +40°C
  • Sturdy steel housing with thick powder coating

Customer Benefits

As a result of our plant audit, the customer was able to invest in a new solution that was tailor-made to meet their current needs instead of spending money on a temporary, expensive and insufficient repair of their old chiller system.  The new solution ensures the desired machine uptime even during those days affected by the hot sun.  A new maintenance contract was signed to support the optimum functionality of the equipment for the long term.


Have a question regarding which equipment is best for your application? Contact our engineering team for more information!


Pfannenberg, Inc. is a global manufacturer of Thermal Management, Liquid Cooling Solutions and Signaling Technologies.

Pfannenberg is proud to provide solutions as a single source to its customers. Our business philosophy – Protection for man, machine and the environment.