Metal enclosures are boxes, containers, and other fabricated shapes that are used to house, store, and otherwise enclose objects. Stainless steel enclosures, aluminum enclosures, and many electrical cabinets are all types of metal enclosures. Compared to other fabricated metal products, metal enclosures can be quite simple. However, metal enclosures are among the most important and widely used metal enclosure varieties.
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Every building that makes use of electricity is host to at least one electrical enclosure made of metal, such as a fuse box, which is an important piece of electrical regulation equipment that regulates power output and prevents electrical fires. Outdoor electrical meters are also essential to the effective operation of electrical components in homes and businesses. Both fuse boxes and electrical meters are housed in metal enclosures that protect them from exposure to contaminants like dust and dirt as well as from accidental impact.
In industrial contexts, metal enclosures are often essential to the safe and effective operation of electrical components. Many industrial operations produce large volumes of dust and debris, which can impair the function of unprotected electrical or mechanical components. Metal enclosures provide this protection in a wide variety of settings.
Metal enclosures range in their possible configurations from very large (as is the case with housing for electrical substation equipment) to very small (as can be the case with consumer light switch fixtures). They can take simple, regular shapes like rectangles and squares, or they can be rounded, circular, cylindrical, or designed in any other appropriate shape.
Particularly in the case of electrical equipment housing, metal enclosures can be easily stamped or punched with holes to allow for the transmission of cords, wires, and cables through the metal. They can be fitted with heavy doors, or they can be fitted with glass, allowing for easy monitoring of equipment within the enclosure.
Metal enclosures with glass doors are often popular choices for technical directors of theatres and concert halls. Sensitive audio and video equipment often must be protected from contamination and impact and may also generate unwanted noises, which can be disruptive during performances or presentations. Metal enclosures with glass doors confine these noises while allowing technical staff to monitor their equipment.
Many varieties of metal enclosures are rated by agencies like the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). These ratings give professionals an effective and easy way to evaluate the protective and functional properties of enclosures before they buy them. Such agencies are necessary because of the many varieties of important equipment housed in metal enclosures (traffic regulation computers, telecommunications equipment, and security monitoring equipment are just a few examples).