Introduction to NEMA Types: 101

NEMA types are meant to demystify the enclosure purchase process and provide a clear set of standards to make sure your electronics are well protected. But if you’re new to NEMA, the numbered codes can prove confusing. Below is a quick intro to NEMA enclosure types and what they mean to enclosure purchasers.

First things first: NEMA stands for “National Electrical Manufacturers Association,” a group that represents the electrical industry. In NEMA Standards Publication 250-2003b, the organization has spelled out the specs for enclosures for electrical equipment with a maximum voltage of 1000.

Rather than detailing types 1-12 here, this post covers just a few of the most important classifications. But if you’re still curious, you can find out about each enclosure rating here.

One of the first things you need to know when picking out an enclosure is what environment it will live in. Where are you going to use the enclosure? Will it be outside? Will it be in a wet place? Will it be in a corrosive environment (such as near salt water)? If your enclosure will reside inside and away from water, you will probably be fine with a NEMA 1 or 3R rated enclosure.

Because different industries deal commonly with different environmental conditions, it makes sense that enclosure purchasers in the marine industry typically choose a different NEMA type than an enclosure purchaser who needs to put a box inside his manufacturing plant. Typically, enclosures housed inside a manufacturing facility would be a NEMA 12 type, which provides protection against circulating dust.

However, outdoor applications like remote monitoring or alternative energy will typically require a NEMA 4, 4X, or better. NEMA 4x enclosures are also ideal for food processing and manufacturing facilities that require regular spray down cleaning.

Some industries need enclosures which can be intermittently submersed without leaking. In this case, the right NEMA type is 6P. The NEMA 6P enclosures are suitable for locations that could flood, such as sewers or basements. Our Integra Enclosure 6P rated box, for example, safely guards electronics in the basement of the Bellagio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

For more information about which NEMA type is right for you, contact our sales team today.

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