Enclosure Technology

Ramani Mani MD Modutec

By Ramani M

Managing Director

MODUTEC Ready Panels Private Limited

Every specialization is an ocean. There is so much learning, awareness and execution that is required for manufacturing a panel enclosure. And yet, the tendency to judge a book by its cover, doesn’t help differentiate the Men from the Boys!

In the solar context, this become that much more important as the conditions that the enclosure has to weather, are pretty harsh. Customers have therefore started insisting on a five-year guarantee and more.

So, lets understand what makes a sheet steel enclosure stand the test of time! What makes it protect the delicate electricals and electronics inside it, or heavy batteries and inverters for that matter?

CRCA Sheet - IEC 61439 Modutec
CRCA Sheet - Modutec

So, lets understand what makes a sheet steel enclosure stand the test of time! What makes it protect the delicate electricals and electronics inside it, or heavy batteries and inverters for that matter?

The metal can be cold rolled and cold annealed sheet steel or galvanized iron or Alu Zn sheets which is an alloy of aluminium and zinc! Tremendous innovations are taking place in the metallurgy here too, like ZAM or Magnelis which is an alloy of zinc,  aluminium and magnesium. Such metals have self-healing properties against corrosion, when cut and upgrades the dependability and durability, and delivers more value for the price paid.

Now, when it comes to powder coating (painting) these metals, it’s pretty much like cooking. There is a science to it, but it’s mostly art! Because each metal is different in small ways. Some are rustier than others. Some more oily than others. And each need a different treatment!

Powder Coating facility in Modutec

There are different methods of pre-treatment as well, like the dip in tanks and the spray on the job methods. But either which way, we have to promptly deal with the oil that gets removed by the de-rusting process and the sludge that gets accumulated by the degreasing process.

‘Get me data’ works well to manage the variables in chemical concentration and purity. But the commitment in the chemist to work with and through these inputs would be directly proportional to the quality of phosphate coating on the bare metal.

Experience in dealing with these situations is critical for the right results. People have attempted automating these procedures for a shop. Where variables in the input material quality is predictable. This is where standardization could lead to systematization and therefore simplication.

There is another ocean of learning with respect to powder coating infrastructure, oven types, batch and continuous process and so on. Every decision that gets mooted has its own pros and cons on techno commericals.

End of day, the discerning customer looks for how the sheet steel enclosure is validated for what is called, the ‘salt spray test’. Whether the enclosure withstands 500 hours or 1,000 hours or more of salt spray would decide its harsh weather withstanding capability.

So,next time you buy an enclosure for a solar application or otherwise, think of the thought, time, energy, specifications and money that went into the making of what the customer would expect as a long lasting, trouble-free and corrosion resistant enclosure solution.

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