Cabinet Heater

Computers in College Computer LabI talked with my children the other day about how quickly the world of information access is changing. They were fascinated to learn about how I went to college in the 1990s (in my head at least, it wasn’t that long ago!), and I had to (gasp!) walk all the way to the computer lab on campus to type my papers, as hardly anyone had a computer of their own. Getting that critical paper completed on time meant pre-planning to make sure it wasn’t too cold or rainy to walk to the lab and that you wouldn’t get to the lab at the same time as the rest of your colleagues. I can distinctly remember forcing myself to learn the new Mac OS because the Computer Science majors occupied all the Windows PCs!

Telecom Network Reliability

Now here we are today, and we don’t usually have to worry about pre-planning to avoid weather or computer lab availability…but watch out if our YouTube cat video doesn’t download and play immediately.

The expectation in today’s world is instant gratification, with no downtime or download delays.

The traditional standard for telecom network reliability, measured at the service level, is six-nines or 99.9999%, which translates to an average of 32 seconds of downtime per year per service.

Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Network Reliability

It is also interesting to watch the burgeoning EV market. New buyers are entering the marketplace, and some of these consumers have ‘range anxiety’ – the fear of not having enough charge to reach their desired destination. EV Charging companies are mitigating this with more extended range battery packs and a growing number of well-placed EV charging stations.

The expectation of EV Charging uptime is not yet to the “six 9’s” of telecom, but they are not far behind. The CEO of EV Go touts 98% uptime on their fast-charging network. OEM’s in this space are discovering they can tout reliability (uptime) as a market share growth strategy.

Uptime Risks

Because Telecom and EV Charging cabinets both involve outdoor exposure, precautions must be taken to ensure hardened designs. One failure mode that isn’t as well documented is induced condensation.

Electronics enclosure designers must minimize the chance for induced condensation, as this could lead to electronics failure. The formation of condensation is one of the biggest dangers for electrical enclosures. Condensation is caused by hot, humid air coming in contact with a surface colder than the ambient air dew point. When the humidity is high, it does not take a significant temperature change to cause condensation to form inside the cabinet.

If condensation occurs, potential failure modes include:

  • Short circuits
  • Corrosion
  • Premature breakdown
  • Contamination by mold and other organisms
  • Water drainage from enclosures
  • Risk of electrical shock to employees

 Uptime Risk Mitigation

There are different tools to minimize condensation inside electronics enclosures. The most effective tool is a comprehensive design that considers both temperature and condensation. DC Heaters like those offered by STEGO are an excellent fit to minimize condensation buildup. STEGO products include PTC, touch-safe PTC, and flat heaters, as well as an explosion-proof option.

By thinking ahead and planning for condensation, designers can maximize uptime for their clients, leading to enhanced market share and customer satisfaction. You’ll be able to use your mobile phone to see more cat videos and get fewer panicked calls to diagnose what went wrong in the field!

Designing complex electronics that perform perfectly outdoors is, well, complex. At STEGO, we believe that protecting those complex projects from extreme climates should be the simplest part of your design. That’s why we use German engineering to create the highest quality thermal management components to protect your designs from anything Mother Nature throws at it. We’ve been pioneering Thermal Management for over 40 years now. With STEGO parts installed, you can rest easy that your complex design is reliably protected for the long haul.

 

building explosion at night

At STEGO, we take pride in simplifying the design of complex electronics that perform perfectly outdoors.

We often get asked how to make our applications “explosion-proof,” as our clients are looking to a) bracket the definition of explosion-proof and b) minimize the risk of using electronics in explosion-prone environments. 

There are only three key ingredients to create a fire or explosion: 

Flammable substance + an ignition source + oxygen = Fire!

What are “explosion-prone” applications?

 

Certain modern industrial environments pose an increased risk of fire and explosion due to the inherent presence of flammable substances such as gases, vapors, or combustible dust. Potentially hazardous environments are found in a range of industries, including:

  • Oil and gas refineries and distribution facilities,
  • Chemical processing plants,
  • Grain and agricultural handling, processing, and storage facilities,
  • Underground mines.

When deploying electronic control cabinets which must be heated, you inevitably introduce the second variable of the fire equation – an ignition source. Some of these risk factors include:

  • Electrical sparks,
  • High-temperature, 
  • ESD – Electrostatic discharge, or
  • Friction sparks.

The combination of an ignitable substance (i.e., combustible metal flake/dust) with an ignitor (i.e., an electrical spark) in the presence of oxygen creates a risky scenario. The best way to compensate for this risk?  Intentional component design. 

Mitigation

 

Explosion proof heater CREx 020
STEGO CREx 020 Compact convection heater for use in hazardous areas.

Here’s the good news – you can leave the mitigation of such risks to us.

STEGO sought and achieved explosion-proof certifications from TÜV SÜD- the governing body that approves cabinet component manufacturers. STEGO has ATEX and IECEx approvals for our explosion-proof heaters.

Behind the curtains, we can tell you that designing solutions that meet this stringent requirement isn’t easy – but STEGO’s  German-engineered solution is certified for both ATEX and IECEx. 

Per the governing body: “Equipment certified for compliance with the essential requirements of the ATEX Directive (2014/34/EU) or the IECEx Certified Equipment Scheme provides assurances that the equipment does not introduce additional risks, or compromise other efforts to ensure safety.”

By selecting and trusting STEGO for your explosion-proof needs, you’ll get peace of mind knowing that you’re offering:

  1. Protection to both staff and equipment,
  2. Enhanced safety reputation for your company,
  3. Safety regulation compliance,
  4. Workplace success.

Each of us likely purchases or uses something daily that has a tie-in upstream to an explosion-risk supplier. Our commitment to our shareholders, employees, and customers is to do the work to ensure the safest possible work environment.

Trust STEGO for your explosion-proof needs.

Designing complex electronics that perform perfectly outdoors is, well, complex. At STEGO, we believe that protecting those complex projects from extreme climates should be the simplest part of your design. That’s why we use German engineering to create the highest quality thermal management components to protect your designs from anything Mother Nature throws at it. We’ve been pioneering Thermal Management for over 40 years now. With STEGO parts installed, you can rest easy that your complex design is reliably protected for the long haul.

Are you a wizard? If you watch pro football, you’re probably familiar with Tony Romo. He’s the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback who has seamlessly transitioned into broadcasting. Tony has an uncanny gift for predicting plays before the snap, so much so that people joke that he must be a wizard. Check out this clip https://tinyurl.com/4rr5khbe from the Patriot’s win over the Chiefs in an AFC Championship Game, and prepare to be amazed. 

Much of Tony’s gift comes from his experience under center, coupled with an ambiguous term called “Football I.Q.”

When it comes to designing cabinet enclosures, especially when doing thermodynamic calculations – there’s a bit of wizardry. Some of what is considered best practices are things you learn in university. But the lion’s share of knowledge comes from experience. Like in most industries, electronics design is going through an upheaval in the workforce as veterans of the trade retire, while young engineers enter the workforce to pick up and carry the workload. 

Today we’re going to talk about cabinet thermostat heaters – the “do’s and don’ts” we’ve collected over our years of experience from talking directly with customers around the world. Allow us to impart some of our wizardry:

You may ask yourself – did someone violate the last “DO NOT” instructions and mount their heater near a flammable surface? The answer, believe it or not, is YES. No one was injured, but on a recent field visit, we found a thermostat heater mounted on a wooden 1×4. Yikes! 

While there will still be those that cut corners, touch-safe heaters from STEGO are manufactured with safety in mind. The design of the heater utilizes natural convection, which results in a circulating current of warm air. The surface temperatures on the accessible side surfaces of the housing are minimized because of the heater design. This STEGO heater is suitable for permanent operation. If you follow the operating instructions, you can install a touch-safe heater and know you’ve done all you can to protect anyone working near the cabinet internals.

We’re not wizards, but hopefully, this information helps you keep your design safe from spells and incantations!

Designing complex electronics that perform perfectly outdoors is, well, complex. At STEGO, we believe that protecting those complex projects from extreme climates should be the simplest part of your design. That’s why we use German engineering to create the highest quality thermal management components to protect your designs from anything Mother Nature throws at it. We’ve been pioneering Thermal Management for over 40 years now. With STEGO parts installed, you can rest easy that your complex design is reliably protected for the long haul.