How to Handle Harsh Environments

harsh environment server racks

How to Handle Harsh Environments: Finding the Right NEMA Cabinet to Withstand the Elements

Think that you’re the ultimate tough guy? Think again. Your server rack environment could be even tougher. And not in a good way. A tough environment can severely damage servers and other tech equipment if not protected properly. Harsh environments could include areas with falling dirt, outdoor areas, unfinished warehouses, dusty areas, and many more. So, to combat these tough environments and protect your valuable equipment you need a NEMA Rated Cabinet. NEMA cabinets are engineered to prevent dust, dirt, airborne particles, and other contaminants from destroying your equipment. Consider these harsh environments and the right NEMA enclosure for each.

Problem- Dust and airborne contaminants

Solution- NEMA 12

These cabinets are constructed of steel and are most commonly used in environments like warehouses, unfinished areas, manufacturing/factory floors, and production facilities. Really any place where there may be a little more crud floating around in the air than usual. These cabinets have gasketing on all of its seams and doors so that there’s no room for contaminants to get inside. While normal cabinets have vent patterns around the doors and sides, NEMA 12 cabinets do not. These cabinets will also protect from light drippings or splashes of water. Depending on what is going inside of the cabinet usually some sort of cooling will be required, whether by fan or by AC. At Rackmount Solutions, we sell filtered fan and exhaust panels that can be used in conjunction with the cabinet to maintain the rating, as well as side mounted air conditioners. NEMA 12 cabinets are available in wall mount and freestanding configurations.

Problem- Outdoor environments

Solution- NEMA 3R

These can be used both indoors and outdoors, but are most commonly used outdoors. NEMA 3R cabinets protect against dust, dirt, and other particles similarly to the NEMA 12 cabinets however, NEMA 3R are also rated to protect against harmful environmental factors like rain, sleet, snow, and ice. These types of cabinets are constructed of aluminum generally used for telecom applications, wireless/broadband sites, fiber optics, Wi-Fi, and trailer applications. Fans or an AC unit are also helpful for these enclosures, especially if your equipment generates any amount of heat. Heaters are also available for when the cabinet is going to be used in an especially cold environment, as excessive cold can be just as detrimental to equipment as excessive heat. NEMA 3R can be wallmounted, pole-mounted, or pad-mounted (freestanding).

Problem- Hose directed water or corrosion

Solution- NEMA 4 or 4X

NEMA 4 and 4X are pretty similar to each other – they both address the concerns of NEMA 12 and 3R, as well as protect against hose directed water. NEMA 4X specifically can also protect against corrosion because it’s stainless steel. NEMA 4 and 4X are going to be used for similar applications as NEMA 3R, and are also very popular for traffic enclosures.

Additionally, self contained A/C Cabinets are also a good solution for harsh environments and will also keep equipment from overheating. Check out our previous blog here on A/C Cabinets to learn more about this topic!

Without a doubt, protecting your equipment is hard. And if your equipment is stored in a harsh environment then it is even harder. But these NEMA rated cabinets are made tough to function and protect in a wide variety of environments and conditions. Dirt, dust, water, ice, wind, dirt, and many other harmful elements don’t stand a chance against these NEMA enclosures. To shop and learn more go to our website or call us at 1 (800) 352-6631 to talk to one of our sales experts about which NEMA rated cabinet is right for you. Tough environments call for even tougher cabinets. Do you have what it takes?