All-weather shelters

Protecting electric installations from the weather and other hazards

By Morand Fachot

Safeguarding outdoor electrical installations from the weather and other potential environmental or accidental hazards is essential for their proper operation as well as for safety. Outdoor enclosures that are unobtrusive and are therefore frequently overlooked by the general public, are central to this protection. Preparing International Standards for stationary outdoor enclosures is the responsibility of IEC SC (Subcommittee) 48D: Mechanical structures for electronic equipment.

Signal equipment in standalone enclosure Signal equipment in standalone enclosure

Modular design

Outdoor enclosures are designed to contain a wide range of installations and protect them against the effects of the environment. Installations may include communication systems and industrial and signal controls. The enclosures must be designed to house equipment that is fitted in sub-racks of set dimensions as well as cabling, power supplies, batteries and cooling/heating devices. This means that they must also comply with all existing relevant standards for the type of equipment they are designed to house.

All-round protection

Outdoor enclosures can be installed in a variety of ways. They can be wall-mounted or installed on top of a building, fitted to a pole or free-standing on the ground. As such, they must also meet a number of different conditions to protect them from the effects of the weather (sun, rain, heat, cold, humidity, etc.) as well as of various corrosive substances (dust, gases and liquids).
 New standards to be released shortly.

The final versions of the three parts of IEC 61969 Ed. 2.0, Mechanical structures for electronic equipment - Outdoor enclosures, will be published in the coming months. They concern Design guidelines; Coordination dimensions; and Environmental requirements, tests and safety aspects.

Not just a box…

While they are designed to be inconspicuous, outdoor enclosures are pervasive in the modern environment. Considering all the requirements they must meet and the devices they incorporate, they are a lot more than a mere and unremarkable grey box. Thanks to IEC SC 48D, they are carefully-designed pieces of equipment that form a vital part of a larger puzzle in which the IEC's work can be found at all levels.

Signal equipment in standalone enclosure Signal equipment in standalone enclosure
Standardized subrack for enclosure.( Photo:Verotec) Standardized subrack for enclosure.( Photo:Verotec)