The Environment Determines the Enclosure

Well if you’re here, than you already know you need a steel enclosure, but there are hundreds of different options, customizations, and options for the enclosure the first thing you need to do is determine what the enclosure is protecting, hands down.


Enclosures house and protect electronic and electrical components from the environment or from accidental contact. In the US, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) publishes NEMA enclosure types standards for the performance of various classes of electrical enclosures. The NEMA standards cover corrosion resistance, ability to protect from rain and submersion, etc. Although they are not required, Steeline Enclosures as well as many other manufacturers choose to follow these standards as they hold us to a degree of accountability. (For IEC member countries, standard IEC 60529 is classifying the ingress protection rating (IP Codes) of enclosures.)

The Elements..

Are you protecting components from rain, salt water, dust or wind storms? No matter what the weather or application, they will all point to a NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) or IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) rating.


Type 4X (IP66) (NEMA) will protect against rain, dust, salt spray, and offers corrosion resistant properties. If this isn’t your application or your enclosure does not need to be as durable, NEMA Type 1 enclosures are general purpose, economical, and ideal for indoor applications. Type 4 or 12 enclosures are used for most applications that vary across this spectrum. Type 12 steel enclosures provide protection from dust and dripping water, and Type 4 can guard against hose directed water (this steel enclosure is typically used in outside sprinkler settings such as golf courses). Each NEMA or IP rating outlines the protection levels that the rating provides to guard and protect the components within that are installed in the enclosure. NEMA provides a list, here.

The environment will also determine what material the enclosure needs to be. 304 and 316 Stainless Steel enclosures are ideal for harsh applications due to their corrosion resistance. 316 stainless steel will be more resistant to chlorine and salts so it is the best suited for marine applications. More cost effective solutions are Fiberglass and Polycarbonate enclosures. They have a high strength to weight ratio and are much easier to modify in the field than their steel counterparts.

Do you need help choosing the right steel enclosure? Call Steeline enclosures today and let us help you choose the right enclosure for the right application. We can custom design steel enclosures, too!