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2022 Guide to Fabricated NEMA-Rated Electrical Enclosures

Guide Updated: June 5, 2022

A NEMA-rated electrical enclosure is a type of cabinet or box that meets the standards set out by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) as providing adequate shielding for electrical equipment against foreign objects. This includes corrosive agents, environmental hazards, dust, and human touch. There are 21 NEMA standards, each of which specifies the conditions under which the enclosure would be safe to use given its rating, and the applications for which it would be appropriate.    

Types of NEMA-Rated Electrical Enclosures

electrical enclosure

There are many different enclosures that may require a NEMA rating, many of which EVS Metal fabricates. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Pushbutton enclosures
  • Consoles
  • Electrical panel boards
  • Wiring troughs
  • Switch housings
  • Distribution boards 
  • Telephone cabinets
  • Pressurization and purging equipment/systems
  • Circuit breakers
  • Control panels
  • Wireways
  • Electronic switch cases

Industries That Use NEMA-Rated Electrical Enclosures 

NEMA-rated enclosures are utilized for a number of applications in a wide variety of industries, including:

  • Telecommunications
  • Automotive (electric vehicle charging stations and electric batteries)
  • Alternative energy (including solar & wind equipment)
  • Traditional energy (oil, gas & mining equipment)
  • Manufacturing plants
  • Chemical plants
  • Computer/semiconductor
  • Power plants (nuclear and electric)
  • Utilities (natural gas, electric, septic, sewer, and more)

What are the most common NEMA-rated fabricated metal enclosures?

electrical enclosure cabinet

Although there are 21 NEMA standards, there are some that are more commonly produced than the rest. These include:

NEMA Type 1: General Purpose Electrical Enclosures

NEMA 1 enclosures provide internal electrical components protection from contact with personnel and solid foreign objects, like falling dirt. NEMA Type 1 electrical enclosures are designed for indoor industrial environments. 

NEMA Type 3: Weather Resistant Electrical Enclosures

NEMA 3 enclosures are designed to protect electrical equipment in indoor and outdoor settings. Enclosures meeting NEMA Type 3 standards are designed to withstand dust, rain, sleet, and ice formation. Styles include hinged or screw-on covers, and most can be either surface- or pole-mounted.

NEMA Type 4: Watertight Electrical Enclosures
Achim Hering, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

NEMA 4 enclosures offer indoor and outdoor solutions for watertight electrical applications. Boxes meeting NEMA 4 standards ensure protection for equipment in adverse weather conditions including rain, sleet, and snow. They are also rated to withstand dripping pipes or spray from hoses and designed to prevent personnel from coming into contact with the enclosed components that could injure or shock them. Stainless steel and aluminum are two popular materials EVS Metal uses to fabricate NEMA 4 enclosures, such as junction boxes. 

NEMA Type 6: Submersible Electrical Enclosures

NEMA 6 enclosures and boxes are an ideal solution for waterproof electronic and electrical applications. Meeting NEMA Type 6 requirements is especially important when enclosures will be regularly subjected to harsh environments or weather conditions, including potential temporary submersion in water, like that caused by flooding. NEMA 6 enclosures are also rated as protective against rain, ice, windblown dust, falling dirt, and dripping water from hoses, pipes, or ducts. 

EVS Metal is able to fabricate a range of different NEMA-rated electrical enclosures in aluminum and stainless steel to our customers’ exact specifications, from card cages to control panels. Complimentary quotes are available by phone at 1-888-9EVS-MET, or by submitting an RFQ online.

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