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Enclosure hardware to protect both users and equipment

Enclosure hardware to protect both users and equipment

Modern electronic controls are traditionally housed in large enclosures or cabinets – and sometimes desks or other custom panels. These enclosures not only have to protect the sensitive electronics within, but also increasingly have to a barrier to unauthorised interference, as well as playing a significant part in ensuring operator safety. 

A particular issue with electronic machine controls for example is seen in applications such as those covered by Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, section 1.4.2.2, which covers movable guards and mandates an interlocking device that prevents the start of hazardous machinery functions until they are closed, by giving a command whenever they are no longer closed. Fortunately, standardised hardware solutions can offer engineers exactly what they need to ensure compliance.

Hinges – such as Elesa’s CFSQ hinge – can cover use in Safety Integrity Level 1 (SIL1) to IEC 62061 and Performance Level PLb (PLb) to EN ISO 13849-1 applications and work so as to switch off equipment when a door or panel is opened. This is a great aid in industrial environments where it helps to ensure operator safety. Alternatively such hinges may be used to remotely indicate status, for example for access monitoring. Construction is an integral glass reinforced technopolymer unit ensuring a tamper-proof installation and easy assembly. 

Further protection can be provided by hinges with built-in multiple safety switch functionality. In the event of accidental opening of a control cabinet door, machine panel or safety door, it automatically shuts off the power and protects the operators of machinery and production equipment. An example is Elesa’s CFSW hinges which cover use in Safety Integrity Level 3 (SIL3) to IEC 62061 and Performance Level PLe (PLe) to EN ISO 13849-1 applications.

The CFSW is double insulated and approved by IMQ in compliance with IEC EN 60947-5-1 and IEC EN 60947-5-2 and Underwriters Laboratories in compliance with UL: E360222.l. It is available with different combinations of contacts with positive opening. These robust units are tested to a B10d value of 2,000,000, are totally tamper-proof, and may be quickly and easily installed. Standard connections are 8-pole connector or 8-core cable in 2m or 5m lengths. 180 degree opening is normal but other operating angles may be specified.

For large electronic cabinets additional security can be provided by latch locks which offer swing handle operation with rod lock multi-point closure. The Elesa CL+C and CLT series are good examples. The CL+C swing handle latch is ideal for lockers and cabinets requiring a compact easy to operate locking system with simple door mounting and galvanised rod operation at low cost. Features of the CL+C handle include standard cylinder keys or double wing type keys, in addition sealing to IP65 is achievable with a protective plug and sealing washer, where water ingress is considered a problem. Door closure is effected with a double rod system using galvanised steel rods of 1000mm length with technopolymer edge rollers and rod guides at 500mm intervals. 

For smaller enclosures housing electronic instrumentation in the industrial environment, sometimes just a physical locking mechanism is all that is required, for example using quarter turn locks such as Elesa’s CQ and CSL series. These IP65 latches which incorporate an ingenious quick assembly spring clip mechanism to accommodate door panel thicknesses from 1mm to 2mm with a simple insert and press fitting process.

Double bar and triangular key inserts are complemented with a cylinder lock version. The CQTL and CSL versions also incorporate an integral finger pull handle to ease door opening. Latching cams are supplied assembled, in a variety of depths to facilitate use of different doors and frame combinations. 

Stainless steel versions of the CQ lock are ideal for corrosive environments such as food equipment or wet locker rooms where lower grade materials may have a limited life. AISI 304 stainless is used throughout for strength and corrosion resistance, coupled with an SBR rubber retaining washer to ensure suitability for many harsh environments.

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